31 July 2015

Italian PM Renzi's ode to Israel

Middle East Eye

In what he referred to as a “secular pilgrimage” to Jerusalem last week, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi appeared before the Israeli Knesset to deliver a speech. Given that his performance wound up being an extended ode to a state that awards and withholds rights based on religion, however, the bout of ass-kissing might have been classified as slightly less than secular in nature.

From the official Israeli viewpoint, a few sections of the ode were presumably in need of some fine-tuning. For example, Renzi could have specified that the recent nuclear deal with Iran was a pact with the devil, which he did not. His calculation that Israel’s existence predated the state’s formal establishment “by centuries” furthermore contradicts the millennia-long history stipulated by Israeli propaganda.

But Renzi more that compensated for these deficiencies with lines like: “Those who think about boycotting Israel fail to realize they’re just boycotting themselves.” Although not included in the transcript of the speech on Renzi’s website, major Italian newspapers have quoted the prime minister as tacking this ending on to the sentence: “… boycotting themselves, and betraying their own future.”

Not only is it safe to assume such rhetoric won’t resonate with the average Italian—who is now contending with rising poverty and unemployment rates as well as other domestic headaches—Renzi’s pronouncement will undoubtedly be news to much of the rest of the global population.

Residents of the Gaza Strip, for one thing, might find it difficult to pin their hopes on the entity that has for nearly 70 years been obliterating Palestinian futures via bombs, bulldozers, and blockades. READ MORE AT MIDDLE EAST EYE.