Armenian-American groups blast Condoleezza Rice as ‘genocide denier’

Eurasianet reports that Armenian-American groups have not responded well to Condoleezza Rice’s new memoir, in which she discusses her efforts to quash a Congressional resolution labeling the post-World War I killing of ethnic Armenians by Turkey a genocide: While acknowledging the brutality and the scale of the bloodshed, Rice writes that US recognition of the ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
UMIT BEKTAS/AFP/Getty Images
UMIT BEKTAS/AFP/Getty Images
UMIT BEKTAS/AFP/Getty Images

Eurasianet reports that Armenian-American groups have not responded well to Condoleezza Rice's new memoir, in which she discusses her efforts to quash a Congressional resolution labeling the post-World War I killing of ethnic Armenians by Turkey a genocide:

While acknowledging the brutality and the scale of the bloodshed, Rice writes that US recognition of the act as genocide would have antagonized Turkey, a key strategic ally for the US. She argues that she was guided by the raison d’état that labels are best left to historians.  

Not in the view of American-Armenian Diaspora groups or many Armenian-language news services, who have republished a letter from Harut Sassounian, the publisher of Los Angeles'  The California Courier, a weekly catering to the city's sizable Diaspora Armenian community, that advises Stanford University (where Rice now works as a political science professor, a political economy professor at Stanford's business school and, lastly, a public policy fellow) to inform the 57-year-old foreign policy veteran that "genocide deniers are not welcome at one of America’s most distinguished institutions of higher learning."

Eurasianet reports that Armenian-American groups have not responded well to Condoleezza Rice’s new memoir, in which she discusses her efforts to quash a Congressional resolution labeling the post-World War I killing of ethnic Armenians by Turkey a genocide:

While acknowledging the brutality and the scale of the bloodshed, Rice writes that US recognition of the act as genocide would have antagonized Turkey, a key strategic ally for the US. She argues that she was guided by the raison d’état that labels are best left to historians.  

Not in the view of American-Armenian Diaspora groups or many Armenian-language news services, who have republished a letter from Harut Sassounian, the publisher of Los Angeles’  The California Courier, a weekly catering to the city’s sizable Diaspora Armenian community, that advises Stanford University (where Rice now works as a political science professor, a political economy professor at Stanford’s business school and, lastly, a public policy fellow) to inform the 57-year-old foreign policy veteran that "genocide deniers are not welcome at one of America’s most distinguished institutions of higher learning."

Warming to his task, Sassounian charged that Rice had behaved as “a spineless official of a banana republic” by allegedly caving in to Turkish interests.

These groups seems particularly incensed by Rice’s characterization of the "powerful Armenian-American lobby." The chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America has called on his members to “Help us bring about the day when someone in Rice’s position would never dare compromise America’s standing by so wretchedly playing the genocide card as a political commodity.”

The Obama administration has also studiously avoided using the G-word when talking about the Meds Yeghern, though the president did use it repeatedly as a Senator and candidate. It will be interesting to see whether GOP candidates try to call the president out on this in a bid for Armenian money and votes, or hold back knowing that if they’re elected, they’re basically guaranteed to flip-flop on it. 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.