When a U.S. Congressional committee approved a resolution recognizing the World War I-era massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as genocide, Turkey's reaction was swift and harsh: Blame the Jews. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said he had told American Jewish leaders that a genocide bill would strengthen the public perception in Turkey that "Armenian and Jewish lobbies unite forces against Turks."
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said Jews should not be blamed for the Armenia genocide bill, particularly not by Turkish officialdom. "We regret that some officials there are trying to lay the onus of what's happened on the Jewish community," Hoenlein told JTA. "They shouldn't allow some people to manipulate this initiative in Congress to the detriment of this relationship, which is beneficial for both sides." Hoenlein, who met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during last month's UN General Assembly, said, "There is the same commitment on the part of the organized community to support Turkey."