Posted in: Israel
Published on Jul 21, 2011 by Phyllis Chesler
Rome Stands With Israel
Israel continues to endure the fallout from the Mavi Marmara debacle; Israel gets blamed for defending herself even though Turkish hired assassins had come with the express purpose of assaulting and murdering Israeli soldiers.
In the teeth of this cruel public relations disaster, the indomitable Italian parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein, the chair of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, asked me to write something that would be read at a massive pro-Israel rally that she, together with Giuliano Ferrara , the publisher of Il Foglio, helped organize.
The rally took place on October 7, 2010, in Rome. More than 3,000 people were present at the Temple of Hadrian. Among those present were Italy's prime minister, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, president of the Senate, the mayor of Rome, the president of the Jewish community of Rome, the chief rabbi of Rome, and a former Prime Minister of Spain. Messages from Prime Minister Netanyahu and from a distinguished host of intellectuals and politicians were beamed in.
I am now holding a book that memorializes this event: Per La Verita, Per Israele: Mille voci al Tempio di Adriano (For The Truth, For Israel: A Thousand Voices at the Temple of Hadrian). Each contribution appears in both Italian and English. The pieces are passionate, sophisticated, and written by people from many countries, including Italy, Spain, France, Norway, Finland, Holland, the United States, and Israel, etc., including pieces by Iranian dissidents in exile, Iraqis in exile, apostates in Parliament (Magdi Cristiano Allam), the Association of Arab Women in Italy, and Nobel Laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini. My most excellent colleagues Bruce Bawer, Melanie Phillips , Benny Morris , and of course Giuilo Meotti, all appear in the book.
Italy has a long and sordid history of persecuting its Jews. The word "ghetto" comes from the district in Venice in which Jews were forced to live and where they were locked in after dark. I recently took a tour of Jewish Rome and, since I love Italy, was especially saddened by the stories of repeated massacres, pogroms, and ritual persecution that afflicted the Jews of every region.
And still, a remnant of Italian Jewry survived. Alas, so does anti-Semitism.
Given the ongoing events, i.e. the flotilla and flytilla that failed, the hostile mass "surges" into Jewish Israel, the sabotage of the gas lines from Egypt to Israel, and the upcoming UN vote on Palestinian statehood—all of which amounts to the Third Intifada—I hope that Nirenstein is ready to rally soon again.
The 2010 rally in Rome, and now the book that memorializes it, parts company with Italian history. It is an act of profound resistance which I applaud. Here is what I wrote, and what was read for me at this rally.
The War In Jerusalem Will Spare Nobody. After the Jews, It Will Be the Christians' Turn.
Indeed, many Europeans continue Hitler's Holocaust by supporting fifty-seven Islamic apartheid nation states against the single Jewish democratic state.
The worldwide media has become totally "Palestinianized" and Stalinized. Palestinians—even the haters, terrorists, and torturers, are naught but noble, innocent victims. Israel has literally become Orwell's 1984 "Goldstein," whom propagandized mobs are taught to scapegoat for their every conceivable sorrow.
The ideological assault against Israel has escalated. Daily, hourly, in every language, the media repeats Big Lies. Israel is the "Nazi, apartheid" state, the "colonial" aggressor; neat trick, that. Bloody Muslim imperialism and Islamic religious and gender apartheid are thus denied and projected onto Israel.
Israel is essentially, existentially, "evil."
In 2005, Ahmadinejad said that Israel must be "wiped off the map." In 2006, he said that the Middle East would be better off "without the existence of the Zionist regime" and that Israel would "soon be wiped out."
President Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust, but really, he feels Hitler did not go far enough. Thus, he is taking up where Hitler left off—Amadinejad's intention is a clearly stated genocidal one.
No one is stopping him.
We—the world's civilians—are now all Israelis. The same world which refused to stop the airplane hijackings and human bombs which blew up countless Israeli civilians has now inherited this whirlwind. As they say: It starts with the Jews, but it never ends there.
Recently, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that: "To delegitimize Israel is an affront not only to Israelis but to those everywhere, in every part of humanity, who share the values of a free and independent spirit." However, while his speech, delivered in Israel, was a very warm one, Blair also seemed to suggest that Israel's best approach to combat the "delegitimization efforts" was to "always be a staunch and unremitting advocate and actor for peace."
In other words, Israel, alone among nations, must earn the right to exist by being "good." If we applied this standard to Iran, Sudan, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia, they would have ceased to exist long ago.
Dear Mr. Blair: Israel has always been in favor of "peace." The instransigence and solution lies elsewhere with the Palestinians, the Arab world, the Muslim world, and the so-called "international community," which have collectively hardened their hearts against Israel. In 1975, the United Nations resolved that "Zionism is a form of racism" and has since passed 322 resolutions condemning Israel and not one condemning any Arab country.
Europeans and Americans have launched countless petitions to boycott Israel-only. Fifty Israeli and 150 American artists have just launched a performance boycott against the Israeli city Ariel. Meanwhile, they or their colleagues continue to perform in Cairo, Ramallah, Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates. Free spirited theatre people have allied themselves with the most regressive and repressive of ideologies and condemned Israel, the only country that does not honor murder women, or jail and torture dissidents, artists, or homosexuals.
Obama's United States, along with the Western intelligentsia, wrongly blame Israel for the peace failure; they believe that it would be "racist" or "Islamophobic" to expect the Palestinians to first accept Israel's existence as a Jewish state as a precondition for any real peace negotiation. Instead, the American media blames Israel for "not caring about peace," or for "provoking" the Palestinians into murdering Israeli civilians. Human rights organizations and medical journals blame Israel only—although in 2009, the founder of Human Rights Watch finally criticized his own organization for doing so.
Tragically, our new theatre stars wish to be seen as "anti-racists;" yet, by holding Arab and Muslim countries to much lower standards, and by condemning their inhabitants to continued Islamist barbarism, they fail every ethical test of non-racism. And, their anti-Zionism is an unacknowledged form of anti-Semitism or racism which remains a politically correct pleasure.
Big Lies and monstrous hatred have gone global. Stand against this. Stand for the values of the Enlightenment, stand for truth over lies. Otherwise, we will all be bombed back into the Arabian 7th century, the women who survive will all wear burqas, we will be ruled by misogynistic barbarians. More than the lights will go out, and not just over Europe, over the world.
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