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Open Letter to Yonathan Betkolia on his Statement on the official Iranian Newspaper

August 24, 2020

Dear Mr Betkolia

We refer to your purported notice dated 22 August 2020, received by email by Ms Suzy David on 24 August 2020, and although involving Mr Hermiz Shahen and Mr David, was not addressed to those persons, but sent to a selected number of members of the Executive Board and Board of Advisors.

It is not surprising that the persons against whom you have sought to make such false allegations are not even provided with a right of notification and reply. It is unfortunate that you have resorted to a practice that does not respect and adhere to the rules of natural justice, a human right that is granted to even the most serious of offenders.

Nevertheless, we have decided to provide you with our official response.

You have purported to invoke the constitution of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) to suspend Hermiz Shahen and David David, relying on Article III, Section 2, I, VI, and VIII.

Article III Section 2, (I), (VI) and (VIII) provide:

“The AUA Executive Board shall:

(i) Ensure the perpetuity and continuity of this organization. The AUA Executive Board, to the extent permissible, shall advise the AUA congress, the AUA Region Secretariats, the AUA Chapters, Branches and Affiliates of its plans, programs, policies and accomplishments.


(vi) Approve unequivocally any AUA institutional affiliations.


(viii) Review and approve all applications, requests for appointments, and establishment of a new AUA Chapter, Branch, Sub-branch and admonition of affiliates, whether an individual activist or an organization.”

None of these provisions provide any authority or power to you, even in a position of a secretary-general whose position if considered valid, to unilaterally remove or suspend any member of the Executive Board. Such a decision, if it were to be made, can only be made pursuant to either Article V (section 5) or Article VI (section 5).

Article V (section 5) provides:

“Any disciplinary action against any AUA officer, activist, or affiliated organisation shall be recommended only (emphasis added) by the AUA Board of Advisers and approved by the AUA Congress.”

Article VI (section 6) provides:

“Any affiliated member, whether an individual or an organization may be removed or suspended from the AUA by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Executive Board of Advisers and Confirmation by the AUA Congress.”

Accordingly, your use of dictatorial power, falsely relying on irrelevant provisions of the AUA Constitution is unauthorised and invalid. Your stand, clearly dictated by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and its policies, is against every part of the AUA ideology and establishment. Some of the issues, not exhaustive, that justify this assertion are as follows:

a. As a Secretary General of AUA, whilst serving as an MP for the Islamic Republic of Iran, was an obvious conflict as you could not impartially serve an Assyrian organization, necessarily requiring flexibility and a dynamic approach based at the politics of the time, when restricted and constrained by the rigid policies of the Iranian Islamic regimes;

b. You have maintained your position as Secretary General when that position is long expired because you have refused to call, or to allow to be properly called a Congress, within the required constitutional period. Again, your insistence on calling AUA congresses in your preferred parts of the Middle East, knowing that the AUA members have long been against such a decision, is proof of your biased affiliation with the Iranian government;

c. Calling a congress in Lebanon, despite advice by the Board of Advisors that such a congress was illegal, and having it being officially opened by the ambassador of the Iranian government is glaringly obvious of your affiliation with the Iranian government;

d. Your vocal opposition to the USA, a country in which a significant number of Assyrians reside, and with whom are allied other countries such as Australia, the UK and others, which also comprise of a very large number of our Assyrian population, is again proof of your affiliation with the Iranian government;

e. The fact that you saw a political need to publicize an internal matter within the AUA, even if there were grounds for a conduct issue (an issue that we deny), in a national newspaper in Iran and to condemn your own Assyrian people in the eyes of the Iranian government so that you can gain personal favor with them, is an attestation to the fact that you were compelled to do so by the Iranian government, as a puppet of that government;

f. The fact that you falsely accuse two very highly regarded, utterly devoted and loyal members of the AUA, the Deputy Secretary General and the Regional Secretary of the AUA Australia and New Zealand, of prostituting themselves by meeting with Jews when they had no personal gain, no gain for personal status at all, other than to meet at a conference held for the “Revival of the Ashurit language” by Israelis who now acknowledge that their real language is Assyrian, is a crime against your nation. This is particularly so, when you have been fully financed by the Iranian government for your position as MP and for your position as secretary general of AUA without providing any gain whatsoever to the AUA or the Assyrian nation;

g. The fact that you have accused Hermiz Shahen and David David of supporting the creation of another organization in supporting “the Assyrian Parliament” and thereby dividing the Assyrians of Diaspora and homeland countries is utterly false and misconceived. You are well aware and should therefore acknowledge that the AUA is currently lacking universal support and it should therefore make every effort to be a facilitator of a universal voice for the Assyrians instead of standing alone and waiting for decisions to be made without its input– the input of the AUA is crucial to the future function of an Assyrian Parliament - and if it means that steps need to be taken to bring the nation together then those steps need to be supported for the benefit of our nation. Time is of the essence and the interests of our nation are paramount and should be given priority above all other interests;

h. The fact that you have travelled and met with many government officials or other international organizations without any consultation with the AUA Executive Board or Board of Advisers and find that the steps taken by other AUA officials as against the constitution is a hypocrisy at the greatest level; one such government that you lured other persons to join you at was with Turkey, a government that to date has denied the slaughtering and massacre of two-thirds of our Assyrian nation.

For the reasons given above, reasons that are not exhaustive of all your contraventions of the aims and values of AUA, we emphatically deny any contravention of the AUA constitution and any wrongdoing against the AUA. We have worked tirelessly to promote and advance the Assyrian cause in Australia and abroad, without any self-interest or remuneration, and this we have done notwithstanding the obstructions and difficulties we and the AUA have experienced by your lack of proper leadership poisoned by your affiliation with the government you represent and the advancement of that government’s political agenda;

Accordingly, we urge you to immediately withdraw and retract your unauthorised order and cease such negative and destructive propagandas against those who genuinely and sincerely work for the interest of your nation. We have no personal stake in Iran, no properties to protect, no income to safeguard; we have no reason to be threatened by you.

Unless we receive your retraction of your letter within 48 hours from the time of dispatch of this emailed letter, we intend to broadcast the truth about the internal issues caused by you and others in the manner we see fit, not in defence of ourselves but in defence of our nation. We also reserve our rights for any other course of action available to us.

Hermiz Shahen David David

Deputy Secretary General, Regional Secretary AUA

Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) Australia and New Zealand


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