The President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) Noemi Di Segni gave an interview to Servizio Informazione Religiosa about the rise of antisemitism in Italy since the Hamas massacre.
“What situation are you experiencing in Italian synagogues and Jewish communities?
From an organizational point of view, there is clearly greater rigor and an increase in security, but the desire for life, and Jewish life, continues. So nothing is interrupted and we want to send a message of trust also in the police forces who allow regular activities to be carried out in schools, communities and synagogues. This is what is happening inside us and what we are managing. However, what is very worrying, because it is out of our control, is the presence of those people who, without the ability to discern, absorb the propaganda that comes from the terrorist organization Hamas.
Why are you talking about propaganda?
There is a propaganda language and communication that distracts from the real problem, which is that of the defense of life. The appeal to the two states is very right, but it should not be addressed only to Israel. It should be addressed to those who have always rejected it, to those who continue to ask and want the annihilation and annulment of another reality. And so the words of condemnation of anti-Semitism are a declaration of principle that we all share, but there is no doubt that we have been victims of a barbaric attack.
The images that come from Gaza make the war that Israel is waging cruel and can generate hatred in the people who look at them. What do you think about this?
The images of the children are heartbreaking, but they are the same images that concern other conflicts in the world, about which no one has mobilized and about which no one knows anything. That Saturday morning, our people in Israel were having breakfast, waking up in their homes. Why don’t we talk more about those who went so far as to massacre men, women, the elderly and children? Israel did not seek this war and if there had not been an immediate military defense reaction, those massacres would probably have continued. Regarding what is happening in Gaza, there are people and there are doctors who work there, people who I believe also know very well that they are human shields, and perhaps, before being victims of Israel, they risk being victims of those who keep them in hostage. Among other things, I know that efforts continue by the IDF to coordinate the transfer of incubators from the Israeli hospital to the Shifa hospital in Gaza as a demonstration of the commitment to distinguish between civilians and Hamas terrorists.
How is peace built?
Teaching respect for other people and life. But also by stemming barbarism. Building peace does not mean standing still and doing nothing. It also means clarifying what is truth and what is not. Promote educational paths and processes, of love and respect, each working in their own area and in their own religion.”