Nicola Zingaretti, president of the Rome Province, invites Israel as "guest of honor" for the Province’s “Days of Creativity and Innovation”, sparks protests organized by Palestine solidarity activists
Nicola Zingaretti presented Israel as a "model to be emulated", despite its systematic violations of human rights, at the Days of Creativity and Innovation held on July 4-5 in Rome, with the scope of inspiring young Italians, the brightest of which would be rewarded with a trip to Israel.
Prior to the event, the Italian Network Jews Against the Occupation called upon Zingaretti to revoke the invitation, reminding him that Israel was created by "occupying Palestinian land and expelling, at gunpoint, the inhabitants, Palestinian Arabs."
An appeal to exclude Israel also arrived from Palestine, from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), who urged the President of the Rome Province to "to be true to [his] mission of innovation and creativity in the service of humanity”, otherwise it “would be synonymous to promoting oppression and violations of human rights.”
But such calls went unheeded. Therefore, on July 3rd, the eve of the initiative, activists from Un ponte per… and the Rome Palestine Solidarity Network distributed leaflets at the festival of the Italian Democratic Party where Zingaretti was speaking, recalling the most significant violations and crimes committed by Israel since its creation. When asked to explain the reasons underlying his decision, Zingaretti gave no answer and quickly fled the activists.
That same night, the area surrounding the event venue was plastered with posters featuring aspects of the "Israeli model" that Zingaretti had knowingly omitted: Palestinian homes demolished by Israeli bulldozers, Gaza during the terror of Cast Lead, oppression of the Palestinian people and the Apartheid wall. Photos: www.flickr.com/photos/81931077@N08/sets/72157630416375144/
On July 4, leaflets were also distributed at the initiative, asking the students and future entrepreneurs if they “could possibly consider the illegal, colonial and racist policies of Israel as 'values' or 'ethical behavior' to be emulated."
Among the speeches given at the event, all of which promoted unbridled neoliberalism, were those of the Israeli ambassador, Prof. Shlomo Maital of Technion, an Israeli university known for its close collaboration with Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit, and the young entrepreneur Ishay Green, who, perhaps chosen for his good looks more than anything else, summed up all of Italy’s problems as excessive bureaucracy and difficulties in firing "lazy employees."
Despite the question and answer session being limited to questions by the moderator herself, activists from the Rome Palestine Solidarity Network and the Rome BDS Group were able to force a question that needed to be asked, using the human microphone Occupy Wall Street style: "Will the trip to Israel awarded to young Italians include visits to the Apartheid Wall, the illegal settlements, the Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948 and Gaza under siege?” Video:
On both occasions, Zingaretti, faced with pertinent and timely questions, which were also of interest and supported by the public, in particular at the Democratic Party festival, was unable to provide answers. As a future candidate for mayor of Rome, Zingaretti made a dreadful impression.
Rome Palestine Solidarity Network
Un ponte per…
Rome BDS Group