Thousands Rally in Rome: 'Israeli Flag is the Pledge of Freedom'
Last night, it was a great night in Rome. My newspaper, Il Foglio, rallied for Israel, its right to exist and to defend itself.
More than 1,000 people came to the demonstration. We met along the Tiber river.
In a Europe where barbarians are burning the flags with the star of David again and are calling to “kill the Jews”, some of the river's lights were for us.
There was lots of security, but courage ultimately prevailed and there was not one incident.
We invited the heads of many Jewish organizations and Israel’s ambassador in Rome, Naor Gilon, to speak. Ordinary citizens came to pay homage to Israel.
We chose the Hatikva anthem as our soundtrack.
This is what I said in my speech at this dramatic time - a non-Jewish Zionist's words for the sake and future of the Jewish people.
"In these days of slogans such as 'Death to the Jews', perhaps Western public opinion would be satisfied if Israel would count more casualties, if Israel’s defense system would not intercept hundreds of missiles launched by Hamas.
"Perhaps, then, the hypocritical request of 'proportionality' and the absurd moral equivalence between Jews and terrorists would be satisfied.
"I say this because it is as if 160 missiles fired every day against Israel during the last twenty days are not enough.
"I say this because it is as if more than 50 Israeli soldiers killed are not enough.
"I say this because it is as if Hamas had never killed 1,500 Israeli civilians in the Second Intifada - as if that were not enough.
"The Israeli victims are always declassified as footnotes on the pages of the conflict. As if they never existed. This is how anti-Semitism and Western hypocrisy have reversed the roles of the two sides, overshadowing everything, and turning Israel into the executioner and depicting the terrorists as the resisters.
"In short, they have made terrorism a human right.
"Meanwhile, violent and hateful anti-Israeli demonstrations are held in all the cities of Europe, where we are witnessing attacks on Jewish centers, parliamentary questions, titles and images on the front page of newspapers and news programs. It is a campaign to isolate the Jews and Israel, to denigrate them, to abandon them to their fate. Anti-Semitism is rampant.
"The truth is that in Gaza there have been a thousand deaths, tragic deaths, in a war begun by Gazans. Many kibbutzim along the border have become ghost towns. For a day, international flights to Tel Aviv were discontinued. It is the first time since the Gulf War, that time when Israel was targeted by the rockets of Saddam Hussein and the Jews wore gas masks.
"It has been almost a taste of what Hamas and Islamists mean when they evoke the throwing of Jews into the sea. Their threat of extermination is now a promise.
"The truth is that Israel, a country large as New Jersey and whose inhabitants amount to one-thousandth of the world’s population, is the only democracy in the world under a permanent terrorist siege.
"The truth is that Israel’s army is the only in the world which warns its enemies before hitting a target.
"But this has yet to find a place in the media. Because the purpose of media disinformation is to give the impression that Israel is unjust, immoral, cruel.
"A few days ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu, receiving English ministers, rightly said that Israel is like England in 1940, when the German V2s destroyed large areas of London and the population went into the Underground to hide. Israel, like England then, is forced to defend itself. No other country would tolerate a terrorist entity, with such a racist ideology, which launches rockets every day on its civilian population.
"A movement that has promised not to leave “one Jew in Palestine”. A movement that shoots missiles from UN schools, hospitals, mosques, cemeteries, kindergartens. A movement that uses the cement donated by Israel not to build schools, but to fortify the tunnels of death.
"Israel’s greatest success in seventy years of independence is survival, just being on the map. The Western world should be concerned about the fate of the little Israel, the most endangered member of our civilization.
"The flag with the Star of David is the pledge of our freedom.
"I hope, tonight, that the Jews no longer feel so alone.
The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He has just prblished a book about the Vatican and Israel titled "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books. He can be seen in the right hand photo above.