This article focuses on the Israeli politicization of the Armenian genocide from the perspective of foreign policy. Since the early 1980s Israel’s official position has been to not recognize the Armenian genocide. The issue of recognition came to the surface in 1982 after Turkey put pressure on Israel to cancel a Holocaust and genocide conference. This article shows that Israel agreed to pressure the conference organizers to cancel the conference in order to secure protection for Jews fleeing Iran and Syria through the Turkish border. This article also explores the role of informal ambassadors in shaping Israel’s position on this issue. Using recently declassified archival documents and oral interviews with key Israeli stakeholders, this is the first investigation into the role of informal ambassadors, specifically the Jewish minority in Turkey, and the American Jewish pro-Israeli lobby. The article also addresses a secondary incentive for Israel’s refusal to recognize the genocide: ethnic competition between Jews and Armenians as victims of genocide.