Secord welcomes Israeli move to recognise the Armenian genocide

November 26, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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In the NSW State Parliament, NSW Labor frontbencher Walt Secord has welcomed a preliminary move by six Israeli Knesset members, including former Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to recognise the Armenian genocide and establish an annual memorial day on April 24.

Walt Secord

In weekly Private Members’ Statements, Mr Secord gave the speech on November 18 in the State Parliament’s Legislative Council.

Mr Secord also repeated his call for the Australian government to recognise the Armenian genocide.

“Respectfully, that position needs to change. Australians should call it what it is—genocide—and Australia would be in good company if it did. Just last year US President Joe Biden formally recognised the Armenian genocide, as has the US Congress,” Mr Secord told NSW State Parliament.

I hope that Australia and Israel both formally recognise the Armenian genocide and that, in my lifetime, Turkey does too.”

On 24 April 1915 Ottoman authorities arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders, beginning the Armenian genocide. Over the next four years 1.5 million Armenians, the majority of the total estimated population, were systematically murdered.

“My history of studying and commemorating genocide events in Australia and internationally is a matter of record. I believe it is only by acknowledging history truthfully that we can help prevent acts of genocide from happening again” he added.

Walt Secord has been deputy chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel and deputy chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Armenia since 2011.

He said previously there have been several unsuccessful attempts in Israel to officially recognise the Armenian genocide.

The latest Israeli bill was submitted by Shas MKs Ya’acov Margi, Haim Biton and Moshe Arbel alongside Likud MKs Yuli Edelstein, Israel Katz and Yoav Kish. The bill was introduced the same day on which a similar bill passed its first reading in the UK House of Commons.

Previously, there have been several unsuccessful attempts in Israel to officially recognise the Armenian Genocide.

In 2018, Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg proposed a bill to recognise the massacre as genocide, but the bill was cancelled due to government resistance.

In 2019, a number of high-profile members of Knesset like Yair Lapid and Gideon Sa’ar voiced support for the move, but again it did not proceed.

The latest move is tentative, as the bill, still requires approval from the Knesset Presidium – comprised of the Knesset Speaker and deputy speakers – in order to be scheduled for a first reading.

Over the last 11 years, Mr Secord, in a personal capacity, has visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, the national genocide museum in Yerevan, Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Halabja’s museum and monument in Iraqi Kurdistan where Saddam Hussein tried to exterminate the Kurds in 1988, former Jewish and Islamic sites of the Spanish Inquisition including Cordoba, and Aboriginal massacre sites, including Appin and Myall Creek.

Mr Secord has visited Armenia twice.

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