Los Angeles, CA – The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA – WR) Board of Directors issued the following statement in response to Rep. Jane Harman’s decision to bar Armenian American media from a November 28th media round table she hosted at her El Segundo, California district office. The round table, which dealt with “local, national and international issues,” disallowed the participation of a journalist from the Armenian American media. “We are saddened, but not surprised, that Jane Harman has reduced herself to outright discrimination against an Armenian American news outlet, in an apparent bid to contain the growing controversy over her opposition to U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Freedom of the press lies at the foundation of our democratic form of government, but apparently this bedrock principle does not hold much meaning for Jane Harman – at least when it comes to speaking the truth about genocide. By any standard, Congresswoman Harman was wrong to bar a journalist from her media forum based solely on her desire to avoid having to publicly answer questions about her stand against this human rights issue. Instead of trying to limit negative publicity of her morally reprehensible position on genocide recognition, Representative Harman should send a clear message that genocide should be condemned whenever and wherever it occurs.”
A week before the mark up of the Armenian Genocide resolution (H. Res. 106) and while still a cosponsor of the bill, Congresswoman Harman sent a letter to House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos urging that the H. Res. 106 not be brought to a vote. In protest, California State Senate candidate and former State Assemblymember Carol Liu issued a strong letter disagreeing with the Congresswoman’s efforts to stifle committee consideration H. Res. 106. Soon after, on October 4, 2007, community activists challenged the Congresswoman’s actions publicly in Lakewood, California. On November 10, 2007, over one hundred and fifty human rights activists including members of the Darfur Action Committee led by the UCLA Armenian Student Association (UCLA ASA) and UCLA Armenian Graduate Student Association (UCLA AGSA), organized a demonstration to highlight the Congresswoman’s denialist activities.
Thousands of human rights supporters have contacted Congresswoman Harman’s offices in California and Washington, DC to voice considerable disappointment in her actions. The Armenian National Committee of America is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots political organization. Working through a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the US and around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian-American community on a broad range of issues.
Photo Caption: Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA-36).