Three Cheers for Italy
1. An Italian trade union called for a boycott of Jewish-owned shops in Rome to protest Israel’s offensive in Gaza. In response, Italian politicians from across the political spectrum condemned the union. Rome’s mayor, from the political right, visited the city’s Jewish quarter and said the proposal sounded like the fascist race laws of the 1930s.
1. An Italian trade union called for a boycott of Jewish-owned shops in Rome to protest Israel’s offensive in Gaza. In response, Italian politicians from across the political spectrum condemned the union. Rome’s mayor, from the political right, visited the city’s Jewish quarter and said the proposal sounded like the fascist race laws of the 1930s. The Flaica-Cub union of the retail and food sectors denied anti-Semitism in the flyers urging a boycott of “shops in central Rome linked to the Israelite community.” Italy’s main trade unions denounced the boycott proposal as “shameful” and suggested that shopkeepers throw the handbills – which they said listed streets dominated by Jewish shops under the slogan “sales dirtied by blood” – in the trash.
2. Italian Parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein wrote on 15 January under a photograph of the Parliament Building in Rome:
You can see the Palace on top of the square, and in front a lot of Israeli flags. That was yesterday night from 6:30 to 9:30 P.M. What you cannot see here, is the extraordinary number and variety of members of the Parliament, about 100 from all political sides, that took the stage during our marathon: for about three hours we have been speaking about the role of Israel, its right to self defense, its moral height, its fight in name of all of us, of our civilization and values, against the wild hate of the Islamic jihad represented by Hamas. It seems to me that for the first time in the too-long history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, apart from a minority of crazy leftists and fascists that took the street on anti-Semitic slogans, we have obtained a huge consensus about one critical point: this is not an episode of a local conflict, there is nothing in it that reminds the land for peace theme that has characterized the Palestinian issue. This is an episode of the attack against the Western world, and Iran has a lot to do with it.
3. The Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra quoted a doctor at Shifa Hospital in Gaza saying that most of those killed in Gaza were young men who were members of Hamas. “The number of deaths was between 500-600…most were young men between 17 and 23 who were recruited into the ranks of Hamas, which sent them to be slaughtered,” he said. Italian journalist Lorenzo Cremonesi confirmed that approximately 600 people were killed, based on hospital visits and discussions with families of the victims. The doctor was quoted as saying, “It was strange that the non-governmental organizations, including Western ones, repeated the number without checking, but the truth will come to light in the end. It’s like what happened in Jenin… At the beginning they spoke of 500 dead; afterwards it was clear there were only 54 dead, at least 45 of them fighters.”
A cheer as well for Germany’s Spiegel on line, for excellent on the ground reporting from Gaza post-cease fire, noting the precision of Israel’s hits [“Whole rows of houses stand in darkness. In between, precisely destroyed individual buildings can be seen again and again. There is usually a green Hamas flag lying in tatters somewhere in the rubble.”]; the admission of smugglers that they used people’s homes to hide tunnels, and the rising anger of Gazans with Hamas. [“Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been sending flour, sugar and milk powder, but the government is not distributing it — they sell it!” (In Damascus, Hamas leader) Khaled Mashaal spoke of a “divine victory.” Three people who are watching Mashaal’s speech on television in a coffee shop in Khan Yunis in the south of Gaza react with anger. “This guy should give up politics and stick to selling sweet potatoes instead.”].