Bepi Pezzulli
International counsel & foreign policy adviser

Truth amidst legal clash: Segre vs. Basile

In a recent legal imbroglio that has seized public attention, former Italian diplomat Elena Basile has levied startling accusations against Senator Liliana Segre, a Holocaust survivor and educator on the Shoah. Basile alleges a selective empathy, contending that Segre prioritizes Jewish children while neglecting the plight of their Palestinian counterparts amid the ongoing Israeli conflict. In response, the Segre family has retained the legal services of Vincenzo Saponara, a reputable criminal barrister based in Milan, to pursue legal action against Basile.

Basile, however, rebuts these allegations, casting complaints and litigations as catalysts for fostering animosity and antisemitism. In a video disseminated across her social media platforms, she draws hallucinated parallels between Segre and her Nazi oppressors, accusing her of emulating their prioritization of Aryan offspring exclusively.

Amidst the legal tumult, Luciano Belli Paci, the senator’s son and a barrister himself, expresses dismay over the video’s content. He demands its retraction and Basile’s apologies to his mother, yet such conciliatory gestures have yet to materialize.

On the contrary, in response to Belli Paci’s grievance, Basile attributes the genesis of her folly video to purported distortions of Segre’s sentiments by unspecified press outlets. She urges Segre to seek rectification from these alleged misinterpreters, absolving herself of direct culpability. Furthermore, Basile expresses gratification upon learning of Segre’s concern for children of all nationalities and ethnicities, extending apologies for any unintended offense stemming from her video.

However, Belli Paci, in a meticulously crafted press communiqué, refutes Basile’s assertions of press distortion, asserting that no such misrepresentation has ever occurred. He underscores Basile’s conspicuous reluctance to assume accountability for the defamatory remarks encapsulated not only in the video but also in her earlier interview with Il Giornale d’Italia, a daily newspaper, on January 30.

Basile’s penchant for controversy has recently resurfaced. Revelations emerged months ago regarding her prolific contributions to the press under the pseudonym “Ipazia,” widely acknowledged for their unabashed pro-Russian stance. In one such piece, Basile opined that Europe faced no imminent threat and asserted that a diplomatic accord with Russia and the USA could have forestalled any invasion concerns. She further contended that under more astute leadership, Ukraine would not be teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, propped up artificially by Western powers, with a staggering toll of 250,000 young lives lost – a narrative starkly at odds with mainstream discourse.

Responding to Basile’s assertions, the SNDMAE, the union representing Italian diplomats, issued an official rebuke. While acknowledging the right to free speech, the union expressed palpable discontent with Basile’s rhetoric, which it deemed antithetical to the core tenets of the diplomatic corps. Notably, the union underscored Basile’s failure to attain the esteemed rank of ambassador, a crucial marker of Basile’s self-proclaimed authority and her actual standing within the diplomatic hierarchy.

In the echo chamber of legal battles and moral reckonings, one thing remains resolute: Truth transcends the cacophony of accusations, revealing the stark realities obscured by rhetoric and legal maneuvers.

About the Author
Giuseppe Levi Pezzulli ("Bepi") is a Solicitor specialised in International financial law and a foreign policy scholar. His research interest is economic statecraft. In 2018, he published "An alternative view of Brexit" (Milano Finanza Books), which investigates the economic and geopolitical implications of Brexit. In 2023, "Brave bucks" (Armando Publishing House), which highlights the role of private capital in the industrial policy mix. Formerly an Editor-in-Chief of La Voce Repubblicana; is a columnist for the Italian daily financial newspaper Milano Finanza; a pundit for the financial TV channel CNBC; and a Middle East analyst for Longitude magazine. He received degrees at Luiss Guido Carli in Rome (LLB), New York University (LLM), and Columbia University (JD).
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