I have been in communique with a Turkish diplomat concerning the recent deplorable actions of President Erdogan, as well as the treatment of the Israeli basketball team, and general Turkish antisemitism. Out of the blue - unprompted by me - he sent me a long article which denied the Armenian genocide. I sent his letter to a friend, who post a Bernard Lewis video, which similarly engaged in a form of denialism. This is my response to her, and to anyone who uses Bernard Lewis as justification for the offensive denial of the Armenian genocide of 1914-15.
I understand and know Bernard Lewis's statements vis a vis the Armenian genocide. (link which discusses Lewis's opinion - please note it is a very leftist site, but it accurately depicts Lewis's positions, which I have read in books he has written) He believes that many people died, but the goal was not genocide, rather, it was protecting the Turks from the Armenians who were fifth columnists. He also claims that it was not planned on the state level, but rather was initiated on the individual level, i.e., individual Turks took it upon themselves to engage in a sort of mob mentality of killing Armenians - but no genocide was planned. Anyway, his statements have been since proven false. It has since been uncovered that Hitler actually thought of of the gas chambers at Aushwitz from the model of the more primative gas chambers during the Armenian genocide. Recent documents have been unearthed which show the actual planning that went on at the state level to engage in a Final Solution of Armenians. Now, it is true that Armenians as a people were trying to form their own state and had been fighting against the Turks. However, none of that can ever justify what was done during the Armenian genocide of 1914-15. The fact that Turkey continues to deny the simple facts of history is simply revolting. The US has acknowledged its crimes against Native Americans, and against African Americans. It is what makes us a more moral and better country than Turkey. Only by acknowledging and learning from the past can you ever hope to not repeat it.
I happen to find Lewis's statements abhorrent, and blaming the victim. Lewis is a good source for some things, but not everything. He also was and remains an absurd proponent for the Oslo 'peace' process, and is a denialist for the extensive amounts of historical Islamic antisemitism. He has written whole books which deny the very well documented historic Islamic antisemitism, and as such, I look at him as someone who cannot fully be trusted in his writings. He is good as a source up to a limited point only. The fact that Bernard Lewis denies the Armenian genocide is not evidence that it is acceptable for others to do so.
He is a denialist of historical Islamic antisemitism and the Armenian genocide. Please look at his works with a rather jaundiced eye, as I do.
One note to add: I believe Bernard Lewis is sadly a far better historian than the vast majority of 'Middle Eastern studies scholars.' This fact alone should send shudders down the spines of anyone who fancies majoring in 'Middle Eastern Studies' at a major university.