Dear Rebecca Vilkomerson,
We are a group of Italian Jews against the occupation of the Palestinian land by the State of Israel, and obviously against the Israeli policies related to this. We are active for the peaceful coexistence of Jews and Palestinians in the land between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea, which implies the same rights, freedom and independence for all people, whatever their ethnic origin and their religion. We created our association, Ebrei Contro l’Occupazione (Jews Against The Occupation) in 2001. We oppose, just as well, the mainstream stance of the Italian Jewish Communities: the most uncritical Jewish nationalism, which supports Israel whatever it does.
For all these reasons, we would like to tell you how ashamed we are, as Italians, of the humiliating performance of our Premier Matteo Renzi when he officially visited Israel. The speech delivered at the Knesset, in the presence of Netanyahu, was particularly dreadful. After a long talk full of sentences intended to flatter Israel with all possible nonsense about recent history, he engaged in a similar humiliating review of how Jews contributed to humanity by writing the Hebrew Bible, which, he seems to believe, is the foundation both of the Jewish/Israeli culture and of the Italian one. But let me quote Renzi’s masterpiece: “You have the obligation to exist and to resist, and to transmit this to your children, and so to my children- Francesco, Emanuele and Ester- because you are a point of reference even if sometimes we may have some point of disagreement.” The day before he had proclaimed “Israel is the Country of our roots, of the roots of all world, and also the Country of our future”.
By reading some of his previous declarations, we believe that the points of disagreement may be that our Prime Minister agrees with the US Administration about the need to conclude the treaty with Iran. Not one word about el-Naqba, about the occupation of all Palestine, the Apartheid Wall, the imprisonment of Palestinians, even minors, without any accusation – and therefore without the possibility of legal defence -, the deprivation of water, the Gaza aggressions, and all the persecutions adopted against Palestinians. Renzi just forgot all these facts, unless he intended to include them in the expression “ some point of disagreement”. He did not mention that in Italy there are many people who totally disagree with how he represented Italian feelings about Israel’s policy. He tends to consult only his own feelings, which are not the products of any kind of thinking , but are elaborated, bypassing the Parliament, with some “friends” of his. Certainly the boards of Italian organized Jewish Communities have a very large, excessive influence on our national politics: this can also be concluded from Renzi’s most flattering sentences towards the Italian Jewish Communities.
Could we ask you to present to the American public these considerations of our Network of Jews Against Occupation?
Paola Canarutto, President of ECO
Paolo Amati, member of ECO
Giorgio Forti, member of ECO