Years ago when I prosecuted Nazi war criminals for the Department of Justice's Office of Special Investigations, I came across a number of contemporary German military records complaining of the "undisciplined" Italian troops who had hidden Jews in their own barracks and refused to murder Jewish civilians.
Once again, Italy proves its fundamental humanity in the face of growing European anti—Semitism.
Michael Ledeen reports that this evening there is to be a significant demonstration in Rome to protest the Iranian call for Israel's elimination:
It takes courage to stand up publicly for Israel against the world's leading sponsor of terrorism, especially in contemporary Europe, where anti—Semitism is on the rise, where the Jewish population is minuscule (there are slightly more than 40,000 in all of Italy, less than one percent of Italians), and where the Islamic population is expanding rapidly. I have not noticed any such demonstrations here, for example. But the Italians, as is their wont, have once again broken the stereotype most foreigners hold of them, and have directly challenged the mullahs.
That would be extraordinary enough, but they have done far more than that. They have lifted the taboo on the discussion of Islam itself, and of the way the Islamic world has dealt with Israel since it creation. You know the taboo has been shattered when Magdi Allam, the (Muslim) deputy editor of the Corriere della Sera, Italy's leading newspaper, writes a front—page editorial of the sort that was published earlier this week. Many Muslims, he began, are against the existence of Israel, and many others are afraid they will be called traitors if they approve of it. Allam asks, What will they have betrayed?
The Palestinian cause? But the Palestinians themselves recognized Israel's right to exist in Oslo in 1993. Islam? Which Islam? Bin Laden's, that mainly kills Muslims in addition to non—Muslims all over the world? That of the Muslim Brotherhood which has laid its hands on most Italian mosques, exploiting our democracy to propagate a fundamentalist and criminal ideology?
As the French"intifada" rages and spreads to Denmark and Holland, Italy with its consistently more moderate and tolerant Islamic clergy and a culture which rejected the preposterous notion of multiculturalism continues to be remarkably free of the pestilence of hate Dalrymple notes follows it.
Clarice Feldman 11 02 05