March 12, 2003
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ardashes Kassakhian
tel: (818) 500-1918

ANCA-WR STEPS UP EFFORTS TO INCLUDE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE IN THE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER’S MUSEUM OF TOLERANCE

GLENDALE, CA— The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) reported today that thousands of Armenian-Americans are continuing to contact the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance to demand that the Museum include an exhibit on the Armenian Genocide as part of its permanent exhibition. Since The Los Angeles Times broke the story of the omission of the Armenian Genocide from the Museum’s permanent exhibit, thousands of ANC supporters have sent letters to the Museum through the ANCA website (www.anca.org). The ANCA-WR took further action on Wednesday, March 12, 2003, when it began contacting local, state, and federal public officials to urge them to express their concerns with museum officials. The ANCA-WR also has sent a letter directly to Musuem officials urging them to host a public event featuring a recently released BBC documentary on the Armenian Genocide. In a letter addressed to members of the Los Angeles City Council and Members of Congress, the ANCA-WR stated: “Clearly, nobody, but the perpetrator, benefits when genocide is ignored by a facility as prestigious and distinguished as the Museum of Tolerance. As a civic leader who has always taken a principled stance against the denial of the Armenian Genocide and other horrendous acts of inhumanity, the ANC asks you to voice your concerns to the Museum of Tolerance and the Simon Wiesenthal Center regarding this matter.” Ardashes Kassakhian, Director of Government Relations for the ANCA-WR said that since the Museum received state funds and was partly funded by taxpayer money, that the Museum should be responsible to the public that it serves. ”We know for a fact that many elected officials were unaware of what the Museum of Tolerance was doing and feel betrayed and upset that the Museum and the Center have misled the public for so long,” commented Kassakhian. “We have already received support from several representatives in the California State Legislature and we hope to inform as many of them as possible regarding this very important issue.” In addition to asking elected officials to contact the Museum of Tolerance and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the ANCA-WR has asked Museum officials to host a special screening of the acclaimed BBC Documentary “Armenia: The Betrayed” which chronicles the Turkish Government’s campaign of Genocide Denial, highlighting the Congressional efforts in 2000 to pass a Genocide Resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives. “Showing this BBC documentary at the Museum of Tolerance would be a huge step in righting the wrongs of ignoring and omitting the Armenian Genocide from the museum. The ANCA-WR is ready and willing to work with the Museum on this project and any others that would help educate the general public about the Armenian Genocide,” commented ANCA-WR Chairman Raffi Hamparian. The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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