Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Israeli-Armenian Relations

A Diamond Necklace made in Armenia (Source)

Most Armenians in the Diaspora know about Israel's relations with Turkey, but I bet far fewer know that Israel is one of Armenia's top-five trade partners. Almost all of this trade is in diamonds, as is most of the trade between Armenia and Belgium (where, it should be noted, Jews are the major players in the industry).

David, over at a The Armenian Economist (a great blog, by the way), provides the following data for 2005 in a post on "Georgia, Russia, and Armenia's Economy."

Total exports (USD millions): 950.4
  1. Germany 147.2
  2. Netherlands 130.1
  3. Belgium 124.6
  4. Russia 119.1
  5. Israel 112.2
  6. USA 62.1
  7. Other 255.0
Total imports 1767.9 USD millions
  1. Russia 259.5
  2. Belgium 162.4
  3. USA 116.0
  4. Germany 114.0
  5. Israel 102.5
  6. Iran 102.0
  7. Other 911.5
According to the CIA World Factbook, which cites slightly different figures, Armenia exported commodities worth $800 million in 2005. Its largest export partners were:
  1. Germany (15.6% of exports)
  2. Netherlands 13.7%
  3. Belgium 12.8%
  4. Russia 12.2%
  5. Israel 11.5%
  6. US 11.2%
  7. Georgia 4.8%
The Factbook cites a number of $1.5 billion for Armenia's imports, with the following countries accounting for the largest numbers:
  1. Russia 13.5%
  2. Belgium 8%
  3. Germany 7.9%
  4. Ukraine 7%
  5. Turkmenistan 6.3%
  6. US 6.2%
  7. Israel 5.8%
  8. Iran 5%
  9. Romania 4.2%

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

State-Sponsored Genocide Denial: A Growing Market

"Let the games begin" (Tehran, Iran)

Iran is quickly consolidating its leading role in the market of state-sponsored genocide denial. Yesterday, the Islamic Republic opened an international conference in Tehran to "discuss the Holocaust away from Western taboos." Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made several statements denying the genocide of 6 million Jews during WWII. Now, he has invited 67 scholars, including such luminaries as David Duke, formerly of the Ku Klax Klan, and Robert Faurisson to "re-examine" this issue. The dominant theme of the conference is that the Jews conspired to create the myth of the Holocaust in order to seize Palestine and create their own state. It's a message that still appeals to many people, especially in the Muslim world. For coverage, see Al Jazeera (quite good actually) and the New York Times. The lead sentence of the Turkish daily Hurriyet is a quotation from Ahmadinejad, "Yahudi soykırımı bir mitostur," [The Jewish genocide is a myth].

Some of our readers might be confused by images such as these, which have appeared in the media:

What are these Jews doing hugging Ahmadinejad? The individuals in question belong to an ultra-Orthodox sect that is so fervently anti-Zionist that it sends representatives to any cause that it perceives as injurious to the state of Israel. Most ultra-Orthodox Jews, including those who live in Israel and depend on the state for its benefits, believe that the creation of a secular state before the coming of the Messiah was a sin. A relatively small number of them believe that they ought to actively support Israel's enemies to reverse this historical transgression.