Let’s not be confused: On April 25—the day set aside to commemorate the end of Nazi occupation in Italy during World War II and the victory of the Resistance—the only story that dominated the Italian news beyond all others, with statements and pointed fingers, was absurd. We heard people chanting “Throw out the Jews!” (in Milan), “Ban them!” (in Rome) and declaration that it was good that they were exterminated (at the Risiera di San Sabba, the Nazi concentration camp located in the Northern Italian town of Trieste).
In short, the day was devoted to the delegitimization of the State of Israel, the exaltation of the BDS movement and the intent to annihilate the collective Jew: the Jewish state.
All this is called anti-Semitism, and of course, many seem to be shocked by it, despite the fact that it unites its cronies—especially on the left, but also on the right—around the Palestinian flag.
This, in a compact European framework in which Berliners hold a “kippot-wearing protest” while that omnipresent ghost of the past stands over their shoulders and by now won’t accept to be exorcised. And it will not be even this time; there have been many more significant demonstrations in Germany in which people screamed “Death to the Jews!,” and one last year with those zealously waving Hezbollah flags (just this week, a German Justice minister announced that “anti-Semitism is becoming socially acceptable again”; in which the French by now consider anti-Semitic murders and aggressions typical events, and intellectuals collect melancholic signatures while French President Emmanuel Macron explains that France would no longer be the same without Jews (who fortunately are, in the meantime, packing their bags;) in which the British have today at the head of its noble historical left, the Labour Party, a full-fledged anti-Semitic who condones terrorism. Frankly speaking, do you know Jeremy Corbyn by any other characteristic?
And the bell also tolls from America, where Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan, smiling in a photo alongside former President Barack Obama, announces in general indifference that “time is up” for the Jews, calling them a satanic force.
It happened: Italy, too, has expressed its extreme colors; its national celebration got caught up in the linguistic spiral for which “resistance” by now means anti-Semitism.
My goodness, can it be called resistance in which poor Palestinians from Gaza seek—armed, nonetheless—to penetrate Israel’s borders en masse in order to bring about the death and destruction of the Jewish state? Poor people, they just want to demonstrate their “resistance,” despite openly declaring their desire to kill Jews and practice mass terrorism. Is it “resistance,” as Hanan Nasrallah repeats daily, what Hezbollah from Lebanon and Syria are doing by stockpiling missiles to destroy Israel? And in the end, in line with the same logic, is it also not “resistance” orchestrated by the Iranians, who are trying to eradicate “like a cancerous tumor” the hated criminal Zionists, and their Jewish supporters and friends all over the world?
So they shouted in Milan: “Damn Zionists!” Here, they mean Jews.
It was a linguistic twist that came to an end after a little more than 50 years ago: On one hand, they are Jews, persecuted and exterminated, but also liberators who fought in the Jewish Brigade (my father was one of them); and on the other, they are the object of a homicidal-suicidal hatred, fueled by today’s overwhelming Islamic presence in Europe and throughout the world. Leading the legitimization of this crazy conceptual conversion is the left, which has been able to use the vocabulary of “human rights” as a line of defense in which to hide its own deep-seated discrimination and arrogance.
We need to thank the United Nations and the European Union, as well as Corbyn and those like him, if in Italy the word “resistance” now camouflages the slogans of Haj Amin Al Husseini, who with Hitler planned the extermination of the Jews during a notorious meeting, father of the terrorism that has now come to terrorize the entire world. Maybe the Europeans just didn’t understand it. But they, too, will be victims because anti-Semitism is the engine behind history’s greatest tragedies.
Civilization, it appears, is again teetering on the brink of collapse.
Journalist Fiamma Nirenstein was a member of the Italian Parliament (2008-13), where she served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies, served in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and established and chaired the Committee for the Inquiry Into Anti-Semitism. A founding member of the international Friends of Israel Initiative, she has written 13 books, including “Israel Is Us” (2009). Currently, she is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Translation by Amy Rosenthal.
Be a part of our community
JNS is your ideological home. Situated at the center of the pro-Israel ecosystem, we provide readers with the critical context they need on issues facing Israel and their Jewish world.
You can help support our efforts — and enjoy an ad-free experience, as well as premium content and other community benefits.
Join our community and help us continue to keep you engaged and informed.