Armenia’s Jewish Community Leader Lashes out at Pro-Azeri Propagandists

Harut Sassounian


Rimma Varzhapetyan-Feller, President of the Jewish Community of Armenia, recently wrote a scathing article titled, “World Jewry cannot become a tool in the hands of anti-Armenian propagators.” She criticized all those who engage in such propaganda for writing “ordered and one-sided articles…in pursuit of profits.”

Such writers attempt to exploit Israeli political circles and glorify Azeri-Israeli relations, which consist mostly arms-for-oil deals, in order to isolate and weaken Armenia.

Mrs. Feller mentions as examples of anti-Armenian propaganda recent articles by Maxime Gauin and Alexander Murinson in Haaretz, Arye Gut in, and Alexander Murinson in The Hill.

According to Mrs. Feller, “The biography and activity of these authors leaves no doubt about the one-sidedness of their analysis. Maxime Gauin, who presents Armenia as an anti-Semitic country, himself publicly supports the ultra-right party of Turkey, the Nationalist Movement Party. Apart from its stated position supporting the denial of the Armenian Genocide, that party is known for propagating anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Yet, Gauin turns a blind eye to this.”

Feller further asserts that “Arye Gut has for quite a long time been at the service of the Azerbaijani propaganda machine, and is a member of the Azerbaijan-Israel International Association. Alexander Murinson takes as a reality his doctoral thesis that Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Israel are an entente alliance — and develops the idea that the enemy of one of these states is the enemy of all three.”

The head of the Jewish community in Armenia explains that anti-Semitism exists in every corner of the world, including Armenia. Such manifestations, according to Mrs. Feller, “never enjoyed the support either of authorities, or more or less influential social and political entities. The Jewish community feels itself protected in Armenia, and the authorities respect their rights, culture, and traditions.”

Mrs. Feller is also highly critical of Pres. Aliyev: “It is no secret what methods the dictator of Azerbaijan is using to mold opinions in the West; in fact, they’ve been mentioned by many highly influential publications, such as the New York Times in September 2014 and Foreign Policy magazine in June 2014. Influential international Jewish structures should not allow themselves to get involved in such speculations.”

Mrs. Feller mentions several examples of rampant anti-Semitism in Azerbaijan. “In the 1990’s, when bandits from the People’s Front of Azerbaijan organized and committed pogroms against the Armenian population in Azerbaijan, one of the slogans used was: ‘Azerbaijan will prosper without Jews and Armenians.’ No matter how hard the authorities of Azerbaijan try to present themselves as friends of Israel, they cannot be friends of the Jewish people. If there is anyone who doubts this argument, I urge them to read the publications on the numerous, flagrant human rights violations by the Aliyev administration, or, at least, the articles on the funding of anti-Jewish demonstrations in Europe. There is no doubt that Azerbaijan is using its relations with Iran and Israel, and presenting itself in Israel as the most reliable regional partner in its policy against Iran. Clearly, the leaders of Azerbaijan are playing a dangerous game if they think they will succeed in using Israel and world Jewry to promote their personal interests.”

The righteous Jewish community leader then condemns Cong. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) — who is known for his pro-Azerbaijani views — for inserting Arye Gut’s propagandist article in the Congressional Record. “This was overtly disrespectful, not only to the voters in Stockman’s district but also to American democracy. The promotion of ordered and false articles should not be allowed to echo from the rostrum of America’s legislative power. One should not be able to present hate propaganda and promote the agenda and interests of a dictator as an expression of freedom of speech, especially when it uses Jews, in particular, the Jewish community of Armenia.”

Feller concludes her article by rightly warning “the Jewish community of the United States to stay alert and condemn any attempt to exploit the Jewish factor in such a despicable way by certain political circles.”

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