Local Jewish groups rushed yesterday to sign a letter urging the Anti-Defamation League to acknowledge the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide, increasing pressure on the ADL after it fired its New England director for endorsing the emotionally charged position.

Nancy K. Kaufman, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, e-mailed a letter yesterday to some 40 prominent Jewish leaders in Massachusetts, asking them to support the ousted director and to recognize the genocide against Armenians.

“We must never forget the Armenian genocide and maintain our guard against those who deny its occurrence,” the letter said.

Within hours of sending the letter, Kaufman said that 11 groups had signed and that more were expected to do so shortly.

“I have never gotten such unanimous support for any position by the JCRC as I have in the last few days on this one,” Kaufman said. “It doesn’t matter where people are on the political spectrum — left, right, middle — people are really standing behind this because it strikes at the core of what it means to be a Jew and never again means never again.”

Signers of the letter include the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Russian Community Association of Massachusetts, the Hillel Council of New England, the Bureau of Jewish Education, and the David Project Center for Jewish Leadership.

Kaufman said her group, which represents 41 Jewish organizations, unanimously approved a resolution in 2005 calling the massacre an act of genocide. “We just felt we needed to be on record,” Kaufman said. “We needed to be in solidarity and in support of the Armenian community locally.”


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