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Armenian leaders slammed by rabbis for using Holocaust rhetoric

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Armenian leaders have been criticized by prominent rabbis for using Holocaust rhetoric during interviews and issued statements regarding their conflict with Azerbaijan.

A joint letter signed by 50 senior rabbis from 20 European countries on Wednesday condemned Armenia’s use of Holocaust rhetoric against their neighboring country. The rabbis originated from France, England, Germany, Austria, Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, and Ukraine.

In the letter, the rabbis state that “expressions such as ‘ghetto’, ‘genocide’, ‘holocaust’ and others are (…) inappropriate to be part of the jargon used in any kind of political disagreement.” The letter was especially addressed to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Vahagn Garniki Khachaturyan.

The Armenian leaders were discussing the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, contested between them and Azerbaijan. Pashinyan compared the Nazi-created ghettos for Jews to what Azerbaijanis have been doing in the disputed region.

“Let’s go back to the Holocaust (…) Did Hitler come to power and the next morning pulled out the sword and started chasing the Jews in the streets? It lasted years, it was a process (…) Now in Nagorno-Karabakh they have created a Ghetto, in the most literal meaning of the word,” he said.

People supporting Armenia protest against the military conflict with Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in Brussels, Belgium October 7, 2020 (credit: YVES HERMAN/REUTERS)

However, the letter did not merely address this one subject, as the rabbis attached to it expressed their concern over Armenian-Iranian ties, as the letter states that Iran is “a country which incessantly, openly and publicly calls for its destruction, of the only Jewish country in the world.”

So what is the letter asking of Armenian officials?

The rabbis asked that “the terrible human suffering undergone by the Jewish people” be recognized and honored by the Armenian people.

They also asked that they stop “belittling the extent of the Jewish people’s suffering to further any political interest through incessantly using phrases associated with the Holocaust suffered by the Jewish people.”

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