The center-right and pro-Israel popular Italian newspaper Il Foglio organized an unprecedented protest at UNESCO's offices in Rome against the UNESCO vote that denied the Jewish people's connection to its holy sites in Jerusalem and to express the public's anger at Italy's abstention in that vote.
Italy, the newspaper said, should have voted against the decision on principle, as did the United States, Great Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia even though the Arab countries have the majority vote and it would have passed anyway.
On Wednesday, October 19, Il Foglio's displayed an Israeli flag over its entire centerfold in solidarity with the State of Israel. Above the image of the Israeli flag was the headline "Our Wailing Wall against the New Cultural Holocaust."
The newspaper also arranged a protest outside the UNESCO headquarters in Rome, attended by over 300 people, including the paper's staff, MP's from both right and left ends of the political spectrum, the head of Rome's Jewish community Ruth Dureghello, as well as Jewish and older non-Jewish Italians who said they were fed up with the wheeling and dealing of politicians that sacrifice truth and principles for power and money.
They were alluding to the fact that Qatar's Minister of Culture was in Italy recently to gain support from Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Italy for his bid to be the new head of UNESCO. Some of the protesters saw a connection, one saying that "the Qataris don't only buy real estate and buildings here, they are buying out our democracy and culture."
At the protest, readers' letters were pasted together to resemble the stones of Jerusalem's Western Wall. Claudio Cerasa, the editor of Il Foglio, said that since UNESCO has eliminated the Wall from Jewish history, "we turned the UNESCO branch in Rome into our own Western Wall for one day.”
Il Foglio has written that the UNESCO vote is a reminder to Israel of the threats to its existence and that the Italian people should not be silent in the face of UNESCO's "cultural Holocaust."
UNESCO's move is not simply a denial of Jewish history, claimed the newspaper's columnists. It is a recreation of the Nazi ideology that considered Jews to be rootless "luftmenschen" who have no place in the world and can therefore be eliminated.
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 and of "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.