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Holocaust and Genocide Scholar Dr. Israel Charny Discusses Aspects of Denial of Genocide

Staff Report

Charny-colorDr. Israel Charny, Executive Director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem, spoke on “Academics Who Deny the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust” in a public lecture at 7:30 PM on Monday, October 16.

Charny presented several innovative ideas during his lecture. He discussed the typologies of genocide and the stages that deniers of the genocide go through. He also discussed specific examples of deniers of both the Jewish Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide.

Charny emphasized that he will never forgive or forget those who deny the Genocide. He felt that people who deny the Genocide, are in effect denying human history. Armenian Art student Alicia Ramos commented, “I appreciated having his humor throughout the lecture on a topic that is so serious to humanity. The lecture was well laid out and organized.”

“I liked the way his talk was geared to the ‘intellectuals who deny genocide’. . . I was amazed at how Dr. Charny included people’s emotions in his stories about his other lectures,” added Ramos. Laura Williams, also a student, commented, “As a speaker, Dr. Charny was very interesting to listen to: a good blend of humor and seriousness.”

Dr. Charny is widely respected and credited as a prime mover in the development of the field of Genocide Studies, in which he has persevered in his leadership for thirty years, often notwithstanding considerable resistance from those who have sought to establish the uniqueness of the Holocaust at the expense of denying the genocides of other peoples or minimizing their significance and comparability to the Holocaust.

He is editor-in-chief of the recently published Encyclopedia of Genocide, a path-breaking two-volume reference work that focuses on the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide while critically examining the entire historiography of all genocides, including the phenomenology of the denial of genocides. The work promises to be the premier reference work on the subject for some time to come.

In 1982 Dr. Charny organized the first International Conference On Holocaust and Genocide in Tel Aviv, where he fought off efforts by the Turkish government to prevent lecturers from presenting papers on the Armenian Genocide. That incident created a national scandal in Israel when Turkey threatened the safety of Jews in Turkey were the conference to continue as planned. While many scholars did drop out, the incident served to galvanize interest for the further study of denial of genocides, a field in which Charny, as a psychologist, has since offered significant contributions and been the primary proponent and driving force.

Dr. Charny’s U.S. lecture tour was organized by the Armenian Genocide Resource Center of Northern California, a newly established educational resource center, that engages in outreach programs to document and teach the Armenian Genocide.The talk was sponsored by the Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State, as part of its Fall Lecture Series, and was held in the Alice Peters Auditorium, on the Fresno State campus.