ECI in the Italian senate: Time for the EU to review its support to the Palestinian Authority

Rome, December 4th, 2023 – ECI’s Founding Director Tomas Sandell called for a new EU zero tolerance policy for antisemitism when he spoke at the Italian senate in Rome on Thursday. In the conference, hosted by Senator Massimiliano Romeo and sponsored by Christians for Israel in Italy, Sandell commended the European Commission for being the leading voice against antisemitism in the international community while pointing out the failures of not implementing this policy across the board. “Being the largest institutional donor of the Palestinian Authority, the European Union has an immense responsibility to ensure that Palestinian youth are not being brought up hating the Jews but learning to respect and live side by side with their Israeli neighbours. It is now high time that the European Union reviews its support to the Palestinian Authority”, he said.

Sandell concluded by saying that “Palestinian antisemitism spills automatically over to the streets of Europe where we have seen an unprecedented rise of Jew hatred after the October 7 pogrom. Only by applying a coherent policy of zero tolerance for antisemitism in all of EU’s external relations, and especially in its financial support of the Palestinian Authorities, can we stem the current tide of Jew hatred.”

In a bilateral meeting with the Italian Coordinator on combating antisemitism, Giuseppe Pecoraro, he was presented with fresh statistics on antisemitic incidents in Italy after the October 7 massacre in Israel. The results revealed that more than 90 percent of these incidents have taken place in the north of the country. Elaborating on these unexpected results, Pecoraro noted that the highest level of antisemitism can be found in cities with large and influential universities. He wondered if there could be a connection to the radical student movements of the 1970’s which later developed into fully fledged terrorist groups like the Red Brigade. These extreme left-wing groups had close contacts with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) who supplied them both with training and weapons, he explained. Today some of these groups on the extreme left have joined forces with the extreme right in their opposition to Israel and the Western world and in their support for the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

But antisemitism is not restricted only to the universities. It can be found anywhere and especially in the world of football. A unique collaboration between the Italian government and the Italian Football Federation has resulted in a joint declaration of intent in combating antisemitism in the world of football. The declaration includes a ban for players from wearing the number 88 shirt, considered as an explicit reference to Nazi symbology. Furthermore, the agreement speaks about the need for the clubs and their players to visit Holocaust memorial sites in order to raise awareness of the deportation of the Italian Jews and the issue of contemporary antisemitism.

The two-day visit to Rome, which also included other bilateral meetings with government officials, came to a close on Friday night.

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