Dear President Renzi, put a stop to the accusations against Israel

Dear President Renzi,

Allow me to write you in all honesty, as a true veteran of the Middle East, on the eve of an important event. Tomorrow you will give a speech to the Knesset: do not miss this magnificent opportunity. When you will be walking toward that room where 120 members of Parliament will be gathered, look carefully at the photos hanging in the corridors.

On those white and green walls, you will see portraits of Ben Gurion with his mane of hair, of Moshè Dayan with his eye patch, of Rabin, Peres, Begin, Golda Meyer, Shamir. They are never posing in those pictures. There, you will see the portraits of lions fighting for survival, faces in which you can read inspiration and courage. While their concern for the war, if war will be, is evident, their expressions show both peace of mind and concentration.

Yes, they feel their great responsibility, but they also know they will win, because they have to. They will smile to you from the wall wearing an unbuttoned white shirt, their biggest concession to formality. Let yourself find inspiration, recapture the cultured and courageous spirit of the Old Continent, their original hometown, studying in those resolute faces, the secret of the Jewish People’s survival and the pride for having established the Jewish State for the second time in history after King David.

A long road had to be walked to get there, a road of suffering, but also of democracy in an area that had never known it before and never will in the future. You may express, mister President, your admiration for “the only democracy in the Middle East”, but do not limit yourself to that, please! Show your spirit of justice in times like these when, in every meeting of the United Nations, of its useless Human Rights Council, of the always subordinate European Union, they always, at every session, manage to find a way to condemn Israel just because it defends the lives of its citizens.

Tell them that Italy will not be on board with it anymore, that it will try to stop the wicked, unbearable, daily delegitimization of Israel. Mister President, cut the “no more walls” rhetoric: everyone knows how that concrete short barrier (actually it’s mostly a fence) saved from terrorism 99 percent of its predestined victims.

You come to Israel while the Middle East is in full turmoil and this country is experiencing new dangers. It is right to account, please do it now!, for the country’s borders being on fire: two Islamic states hate Israel, Isis’ new one with its atrocities, and Iran, which – agreement or not – keeps on swearing death to the Jewish people.

The Golan and the whole border with Syria are at risk, sometimes because of Isis and sometimes because of Iran and its protégés, depending on who in that moment is in control of the area. Lebanon is in the grip of Hezbollah, the worst terrorist group in the world. Sinai is a hunting ground for Isis, which hates Egypt as much as Israel, and also Jordan is under siege. Not so far from there, Iraq and Yemen are war theaters were the two enemies share only their hate for Israel, while Hamas fires rockets financed and supplied now by Iran and than by Qatar.

Now, Mr. President, it’s time for a great nation like Italy to say that the world wide war on terror depends on the outcome of Israel’s fight for its survival. Italy must propose an alliance between all the countries interested in reaching a balanced situation in the Middle East, and can act as an honest broker for a new relationship among middle eastern States founded on an anti-extremist perspective, anti terrorist, anti iranian atomic between Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf countries and Jordan. You, Mister President, will find a country shocked by the P5+1 agreement with Iran: Israel is perfectly aware that he can be the first one to pay for this hazard.

However diplomatic Rouhani and Zarif may be, Iran is committed to destroy America (therefore the West) and Israel, and it maintains its nuclear program while insisting that it has not military purposes. The Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, makes sure to repeat the threats very often.

Mister President, show that you have noticed it, that it is a moral and strategic scandal, or the Europeans will be judged as blind and deaf. Moreover, the guarantees in the agreement are not enough to prevent Iran from enriching uranium in secret. And what about the wars of conquest all over the Middle East, the terrorist attacks in five continents, the hanging of homosexuals? Let us say a word about the “Iran hazard”, the danger that it brings to us all, mister President.

The indifference and cynicism of the West toward those promising a new holocaust has bewildered Israel: let it know that Italy is listening, find a way to tell the Knesset that we will not be rushing like sharks on the new loot generated by the lifting of the sanctions.

When it comes to the Palestinians, everyone easily hides behind Hamas’ subject: they are terrorists, they shoot the civilian population, but the lack of negotiations is all Israel’s fault, because Abu Mazen, on the contrary, is a pacifist.

Mister President, say once and for all that Fatah is the problem, invite Abu Mazen to come back to the negotiating table and to refrain from the exaltation of terrorism. Last point, you have a passion for Israel’s extraordinary competences in the technological and scientific field. Undoubtedly, you will say that this makes Israel a vital partner for Italy. But, if you can, explain that, if we do not stop the boycott, we will find ourselves living without essential components for our computers and without medications for Alzheimer’s treatment!

I will be in front of the TV, mister President: best wishes, and teach Europe the truth.

This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (July 20, 2015)

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.
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