On September 30th, The Jerusalem Post published an interview conducted by Maayan Jaffe Hoffman with Armenia’s Ambassador to Israel, Arman Akopyan, regarding the on-going situation in Artsakh.
The Ambassador failed with aplomb to answer a series of soft-ball questions, resorting to diplomatic jargon with zero political currency in Armenia’s favor. In fact, the deflective answers were detrimental in lieu of offering a public, state-backed, riposte to the blatant alliance of Israel and Azerbaijan amid a humanitarian crisis that bears the hallmarks of a genocide in motion.
“Is Israel too pro-Azerbaijan?” asked the journalist. To which the Ambassador replied:
“I don’t believe Israel has Armenia on its agenda. We have seen a lot of military cooperation: Azerbaijan buying Israel weapons worth billions of dollars, and there is cooperation on military defense and intelligence. Iran, of course, is a factor in that. I would not say Israel is ‘pro’, but cooperation is very strong, and the strategic partnership is very strong. Every time there is an escalation in our region, from the second war in 2020 until September 19, we know that Azerbaijan’s Silk Way Airlines is making frequent flights to Israel to import weapons. Before this last escalation, a flight went directly from Israel to the city of Ganja, situated just north of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Any country can sell and buy weapons. The issue is that these weapons end up on our borders and are fired at peaceful civilians.
So, If you ask whether Israel is pro-Azerbaijan. I cannot answer. But the countries’ strategic, military and intelligence cooperation is strong, and it is no secret. It is something both sides declare with pride.”
There you have it. A statement worthy of an Israeli diplomat — not an Armenian one. Listing all the wartime cooperation between Israel and Azerbaijan, whilst failing to denounce Israel as being pro Azerbaijan. A few more factual transgressions that could’ve bolstered a more pro-active statement by the Ambassador, showing at the very least a veneer for accountability from Israel:
– Israel being responsible for more than 69% of Azerbaijan’s arm imports (according to SIPRI – Stockholm International Peace Research Institute).
– Hacking of Armenian telecommunication via the Pegasus spyware.
– Israel having access to Azerbaijani military bases, specifically an airbase.
– Azerbaijans’ use of IAI Harop suicide-drones.
– Israel aiding Azerbaijan for an eventual proxy war with Iran at the detriment of Armenian lives.
– The establishment of Azad Systems (in 2011) in Azerbaijan, a subsidiary of Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd., an Israeli weapons manufacturing company.
For over 30 years, an Israeli-Azerbaijani economical, political, and military alliance has developed and expanded on a year-to-year basis, yet the Ambassador fails to mutter condemnation and accountability.
The interviewer continued:
“Is Israel anti-Armenia?”
“No. The civil society is very pro-Armenia in the case of Nagorno-Karabakh and recognition of the Armenian genocide.”
Instead of capitalizing on this, Dr. Akopyan defers to the civil society in Israel, which by definition is non-governmental, and accounts for a fraction of Israeli society, a few hundred thousand per the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research; the question itself, very clearly, wasn’t pertaining to Israeli society, Mr. Ambassador, but to the State of Israel. In an ironic twist, the editors at The Jerusalem Post saw it fitting to add this bit: Israel has yet to recognize the Armenian Genocide officially.
Furthermore, there has been a substantial increase in hate-based attacks by Jewish religious extremists as well as alleged encroachment initiatives on the Armenian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem by Israel via third-party investors, namely Jewish-Australian businessman Danny Rothman, with the illegal acquisition of the Goverou Bardez (Cows’ Garden), which accounts for 25% of the already-endangered Armenian Quarter. And again, predictable political inertia from our representative.
Since assuming office in the lavish city of Tel-Aviv, the Ambassador has failed to meet the local Armenian community in Jerusalem: No visit to the only Armenian School in the country, Sts.Tarkmanchatz; no visit to any of the local Armenian clubs [Hoyetchmen, Homenetmen, or J.A.B.U Pari Siradz]; not a single show of solidarity with the weekly protestors advocating for the rights and perpetuity of Armenians in Israel.
Whose ambassador are you exactly, Dr. Akopyan? Armenia’s or Israel’s?