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Pro-Israel Rally in Rome

As I mentioned on this week’s podcast, Italians of all stripes – left, right, Jew, Muslim – came out in force to demonstrate, following recent statements made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saying Israel “should be wiped off the map.”

 

Here’s more on the rally.

Approximately 15,000 people participated in the rally, which was accompanied with chants of “viva Israel! viva freedom!” the website of the Italian newspaper La Republica reported. The rally was concluded with the singing of the Israeli national anthem, “Hatikvah.”

 

Protesters included right and left-wing politicians, local celebrities and Walter Veltroni, the mayor of Rome.

 

Toward the closing of the rally, many demonstrators attempted to approach the Iranian embassy, but were blocked by police.

 

About 2,000 people gathered opposite the Iran consulate in Milan for a similar rally. 

 

Israel’s ambassador to Italy, Ehud Gol, said he felt immense satisfaction following the rally.

 

“I know of no other place in the world where so many people will rally in Israel’s support,” Gol told Ynet.

 

“Many celebrated Italians and politicians attended the demonstration, alongside thousands of ordinary citizens. This made me feel elevated,” he added.

 

Mayor Veltroni said in his speech at the rally that “my presence here is natural, because the statements by Iran’s president should be taken seriously.”

 

“It is only natural that a city that advocates peace and dialogue object to any kind of intolerance,” he added.

 

Italy’s Communication Minister Mario Landolfi, who was also present at the rally, said: “I am here to support two principles. One is Israel’s right to exist in safety and peace. The other is the need of Israel and Palestine to live peacefully side by side as separate states. I believe this is possible.”

 

Another Italian politician, Marco Follini, who attended the demonstration, said that “it is sad that a rally to support Israel’s right to exist within safe borders is at all needed.”

 

Rome’s Rabbi Di-Segni said, “our protest is against Iran, not against the Iranian people. We do not burn flags. The Iranian flag is respected here, and stands alongside the Italian and Israeli flag.”

 

“Our response to what is done in Iran is by no way motivated by imperialistic notions. We do it because Europe had paid costly for some such ideas,” he added.

 

A Muslim speaker at the demonstration called Israel “a great island of democracy,” and said that war on terror must ensue.

 

 

 

Meanwhile in Tehran

In Tehran some 200 students protested outside the Italian embassy Thursday against the planned demonstration, La Republica reported. The Iranian protestors carried signs stating that “Israel should be wiped off the map, and it would be destroyed,” according to the report.

 

The Italian Ambassador in Tehran, Roberto Toscano, was summoned Wednesday by the Iranian Foreign Ministry to account for his country’s reservations regarding Ahmadinejad’s words.


Italian Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli, a member of the far-right Northern League party, said Rome should react to the summons by recalling its ambassador from Tehran.

 

“I believe one cannot have a civilized relationship with people who have shown themselves to be uncivilized,” he said.

 

 

Update: This is typical of the Indymedia mindset:

The Zionists held a rally in Trafalgar Square today, Monday 6th May, in support of the terrorist state Israel, with a counter demonstration by Muslims, Jews and other decent-minded people

Take note. According to these people, affirming Israel’s very right to exist makes you a Zionist worthy of contempt. Their issue is not with Israel’s control over post-67 territories, but with all of Israeli territory. That makes them ideological bedfellows with the likes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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