Senator Robert Menendez Urges Clinton to Reaffirm Support for Genocide
Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey recently called on then-Secretary of State candidate Hillary Clinton to reaffirm her support for recognizing the Armenian Genocide upon taking office on January 13, 2009 during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s confirmation hearing.
Menendez, who is the first person of Hispanic ethnicity to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate is a strong advocate for recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In 2006, Menendez placed a hold on the confirmation of Richard E. Hoagland, the Bush administration’s nominee to be U.S Ambassador in Armenia in response to the Bush administration’s refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The hold is a parliamentary privilege of U.S Senators.
“As a leader and defender of democracy, it is our nation’s responsibility to speak out against injustice and support equality and human rights,” Menendez said in a press release. “But if the Bush administration continues to refuse to acknowledge the atrocities of the Armenian genocide, then there is certainly cause for great alarm, which is why I am placing a hold on this nominee.
“I will continue to work with my colleagues in the United States Senate to make strides toward ensuring that all people, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity, receive protection from policies of discrimination and hate that lead to genocide.”
Menendez recently came under fire by the Turkish Coalition of America for his remarks during the Secretary of State confirmation hearings of then-Senator Hillary Clinton.
“While the world was watching, Senator Menendez asked Senator Clinton to make it a priority to recognize as ‘genocide’ nearly a century old events that took place in a foreign state which no longer exists,” the TCA said on their website. “He theorized that the United States must pay heed to ‘history that is universally recognized so that we can move forward in that respect.’ A history lesson to address the deeds of a defunct empire, apparently in the Senator’s eyes, should be a priority for the new U.S. Secretary of State to address in confirmation hearings.”
In January 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama acknowledged the Armenian Genocide and pledged a commitment to fully recognize the events which took place in 1915 that lead to the death of 1.5 million people stating that he shares a “principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide” and strongly supports the passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
Watch Senator Robert Menendez and Hillary Clinton’s exchange below: