Online petition supports Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies over Turkish lawsuit

Here's a belated update to the lawsuit story involving the Turkish Coalition of America's lawsuit against the University of Minnesota and its Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies over the center's "blacklisting" of the coalition's Web site

I got this release from the College of Liberal Arts:

In a gesture of solidarity with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, noted scholars, philosophers, educators, historians and doctors, many in France, have been signing an online petition affirming the truth of the Armenian genocide. Their effort is a response to the lawsuit brought against the university, CHGS director Bruno Chaouat and university president Robert Bruininks by the Turkish Coalition of America.

The Turkish Coalition of America filed the suit on November 30, 2010. The University of Minnesota filed a motion to dismiss the suit on December 17, 2010 and a hearing was held Friday, February 4. A final decision on the motion is expected by early April.

“I am truly honored by the outpouring of support the Center has received in light of this lawsuit,” said director, Bruno Chaouat. “In addition to this petition, we have also received numerous letters and emails from various individuals and organizations all over the world, the most recent being a letter from the Middle East Studies Association urging that the lawsuit be withdrawn. To be supported by so many stellar thinkers, organizations and scholars is humbling.”

The petition, signed by luminaries such as the French historian Henry Rousso and Alain Finkielkraut, one of the foremost scholars on Holocaust denial, states:

We cannot remain indifferent in the face of the suit brought by the Turkish Coalition of America against the University of Minnesota and its Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. The charge is that the Center’s website has labeled as “unreliable” publications by the Coalition that deny the Armenian genocide.

To support the claim, these anti-Armenian lobbyists invoke freedom of expression and research—freedoms their action in fact undermines. Denial of the Armenian genocide functions as do all such denials that pervert history and spread hatred of the victims.

Resisting such manipulations is at once a moral and an intellectual imperative. For that reason, we express our solidarity with those targeted by this suit, and especially with the Director of the Center of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Bruno Chaouat, a French citizen who throughout these developments has behaved in a manner entirely consistent with the common values of the French and American educational systems. The battle of the University of Minnesota and its faculty for the mere right to tell the truth about genocide is our struggle as well.

“The Center’s position is clear: we have and always will recognize the Armenian genocide as a historical fact,” said Chaouat. “The CHGS has a moral and intellectual obligation to educate students, teachers and the community on the history of the Holocaust and other genocides, and to prevent any attempt at downplaying this history. Legitimate interpretation of facts should never nurture denial.”

The petition can be found at

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