Today’s Ynet Culture report has an edifying proclamation: “Italy loves us!”
Liron Bar Sadeh of the Israeli embassy in Rome said that Italy’s treatment of Israel was uniquely positive. “They love us and do a lot to strengthen the ties. It’s important to remember that Italy is the only country in Europe, and one of the only ones in the world, after the US and Canada, which withdrew from the Durban 2 anti-racism conference.
“Italy said that it is appalled by the systematic discrimination of Israel and the fact it is branded a threat to the world, while other countries are not considered a threat despite their actions. Italy published positive statements and supported us throughout the war, during which the Italian media, unlike other news outlets in Europe, has been very balanced.”
None of this means that all Italians really love Israel, just that–perhaps from an Israeli perspective–things aren’t quite as bad here in Italy as in the rest of Europe. Italy has its fair share of naysayers, haters and all-around anti-Zionists, of course. Some of them even have television shows, newspapers and the like. But it’s nothing like England, one place in Europe no Israeli could exactly call chummy.
So what keeps Italy from devolving into a pit of anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic hatred–a sickness which is sucking Europe down into its vortex a mere sixty years after it nearly committed suicide? How come Italy is still the only European nation to have pulled out of the upcoming Durban 2 conference, allied only with the United States, Canada and Israel against the likes of the rest of the world. This is from yesterday’s Durban 2 draft negotiations, courtesy of UN Watch:
Syria “will never be party to a ceremonial or redundant activity,” which fails to address “the agony of millions of victims, especially within countries with a blatant, institutionalized basis of racism” (read: Israeli “racism” against Palestinians). It added, “We will never support the surviving apartheid regime.” It also railed against those who have threatened boycott of Durban II, arguing, “Threatening to boycott or walkout is no longer acceptable within the framework of international cooperation.”
No longer acceptable? What does Syria propose to do, kick them out on their behinds?
As long as freedom of speech–and freedom to criticize religion–are on the line, as well as explicit condemnation of Israel (but no other countries), the entire conference will be nothing but a farce. The fact that so few countries have had the balls to pull out is a telling sign. Will they sit still and listen when Israel is bashed to bits, as they did in 2001?
Italy, always fearful of lagging behind the rest of cultured Europe, for once is way ahead of the pack.
3 thoughts on “Italy Loves Israel!”
Great to know that Italy is behaving with more integrity than most other European countries. I did indeed notice that she was swift in condemning Durban and withdrawing from attending.
And you are certainly right that the UK has become a veritable hotbed of anti semitism. The sight of thousands of Brits, marching through the streets of various cities, brandishing banners which state ‘death to Israel’ while yelling ‘We Are All Hamas Now!’ was a somewhat terrifying sight, frankly…
Over the past two years, a record number of British Jews have left the UK. I don’t envisage this trend changing unless we see a sharp decrease in the hostility being shown towards Jews and towards the Jewish homeland.
Call me a pessimist, but I’ve just renewed my passport…!
Italy is a funny place. It’s so incompetent, Berlusconi acts like a horse’s ass in public, the Pope (well, he’s here, too) is no better…and yet Italy manages to outshine its European counterparts on this issue, which is to some degree a defining issue.
Not that Italians are crazy about Jews (there are so few outside of Rome and Milan as to be hardly visible here) or Israel, but at least Frattini, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is a competent and serious individual.
Then again, Italy has the oldest Jewish community outside of Eretz Israel, so they have a very long history together.
I can think of another reason why it’s very convenient for Italy to pull out: its treatment of the Roma.
But if it’s good for the Jews, who cares? It’s as if Niemoller’s First they came… had never been written.