Matteo Salvini’s Complete Speech on Israel and Jew-Hatred

On Monday I posted an excerpt from a speech about Jew-hatred given in the Italian Senate by former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. The video below shows the entirety of Mr. Salvini’s remarks.

The full text hasn’t completely assuaged my reservations about outlawing opposition to the existence of the State of Israel. I can (grudgingly) admit to a very narrow window of necessity to criminalize any interference in the execution of a sovereign state’s foreign policy as it pertains to Israel — but that’s it. And even that gives me First Amendment heartburn.

In any case, the complete speech is now available, and you can judge for yourselves. Many thanks to FouseSquawk for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

58:30   Thank you. Thank you to the President, thank you, Mr. Ambassador,
58:38   Thank you, Fiamme (political party), thank you , reporters. It is a beautiful day today,
58:42   because we are permitted to talk about the future, of peace, about co-existence
58:46   leaving aside for a few hours the petty, local political polemics.
58:54   We have organized this conference because
58:59   we don’t want our children to relive the errors and the horrors of the past,
59:05   but that history will be recognized. And therefore, I thank you
59:08   for the words of truth and liberty
59:12   which we are not always permitted to hear at the journalistic and academic level in Italy.
59:21   We don’t want anything or anybody to be erased.
59:25   Erase what? Whoever wants to erase Israel
59:28   is our adversary, now and always…
59:32   The numbers, you have remembered, the extermination…
59:37   To relight the troubling hotbeds
59:41   in our house, not in another part of the world,
59:45   in our house, on our streets, in our schools,
59:49   in our academies. How to combat this sickness,
59:55   this degeneracy with the concreteness
59:59   that characterizes us? As an example,
60:03   I think that the simple fact that we meet here today — I thank you because
60:06   you arrived from far away —
60:09   will serve to accelerate the adoption by the Italian Parliament of that document,
60:13   AHRI, which identifies and defines
60:17   anti-Semitism today, approved by so many European countries,
60:22   forgotten for too long in Italy.
60:26   But I have the feeling that today’s initiative
60:30   will accelerate this progress
60:35   and will quicken this adoption. I recall,
60:39   because we are followed online,
60:43   that the definition of anti-Semitism is not formulated by Matteo Salvini
60:48   but by the International Alliance for the Holocaust Memorial,
60:52   approved by dozens of countries, and there is obviously nothing in this
60:56   that precludes the free political criticism of the Israeli government,
61:03   but this declaration established that to oppose the existence of the state of Israel
61:08   as the home of the Jewish people, this is anti-Semitism,
61:13   and the countries who do not recognize, who boycott, or fight against Israel,
61:17   are a danger, now and tomorrow.
61:22   To deny the right of self-determination to the Jewish people
61:26   means to support the destruction of the state of Israel,
61:31   and, therefore, those who support the self-determination of other peoples in the world,
61:35   Kurds, Palestinians, Tibetans, and deny it for Jews,
61:39   obviously act with duplicity.
61:44   I think that anti-Semitism is treated and prevented through education,
61:48   but also with the law because
61:52   to hate Israel and the Jewish people
61:56   is a crime that in history has already done too much damage.
62:02   In Austria, this declaration has already been adopted,
62:06   and a new resolution is being prepared, and we will present this as well
62:10   in the Italian Parliament. As with groups of the Lega, all of the principal parties of the
62:14   Austrian Parliament have, in fact, decided to vote to place
62:18   the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic boycott movement outside the law,
62:24   which unfortunately, encounters a terrain of propaganda and vulgarization
62:29   in some Italian environments. Moreover, we are also following with interest
62:33   the resolution of the American President Trump, who has signed a new
62:37   executive order on the fight against anti-Semitism
62:41   during the month of December, in which is prohibited the cultural and political structure
62:45   of promoting the denial of
62:49   the right of self-determination of the Jewish people.
62:55   These are facts. The rest is chatter.
63:00   Unfortunately, in some fashionable circles, boycotting
63:04   Israel, calling for the divestment of businesses in Israel,
63:08   asking others not to acquire Israeli products —
63:12   The narrative about Jews and Israelis has become an object
63:16   of intimidation. Some maintain that the attack on the Twin Towers
63:20   was organized by Jewish hands.
63:24   [Unintelligible] maintains that the world is flat because man did not land on the moon.
63:29   Therefore, the truth is explained… accompanied… these people go…
63:36   made up of… and educated…
63:40   The anti-Semitism of the right, neo-Nazi, neo-Fascist,
63:44   or of the American/European white supremacist, is our enemy.
63:50   Similarly our enemy is the anti-Semitism of the left, like the Islamists,
63:56   like this definition of the modern anti-Semitism, like the red-green alliance.
64:02   I didn’t do it, so I cannot be accused of
64:06   political polemics, but I take it as a point of reflection,
64:10   absolutely interesting, because our duty to combat whoever maintains
64:14   the crazy idea that Jews are the Nazis of today
64:18   because in some circles, even this [unintelligible] circulates,
64:22   disseminated not only in majority Muslim countries, but also
64:26   in some European circles.
64:30   And I recall if we are concerned with anti-Semitism by extremists,
64:34   black, red, whatever they are, we are also more concerned
64:39   with the anti-Semitism that is accepted in some institutions…
64:46   without spirited debate, however, a European Union that denies
64:50   its Judeo-Christian roots.
64:54   A European Union that labels Israeli products
64:58   produced in disputed territories. A UN
65:02   Which in 2018 dedicated 27 condemnations of Israel
65:06   in security resolutions, and one
65:10   against Iran, and not even one
65:14   on human rights in China and Turkey, obviously represents
65:18   a problem as does UNESCO, which does not recognize
65:23   the obvious true history that Jerusalem has a demonstrably historic Jewish heritage,
65:27   And Jerusalem, as far as I am concerned, was, is, and will be the capital
65:31   of the state of Israel. Therefore, combat with education,
65:35   combat with prevention, combat, where useful,
65:39   with repression, which is not a bad word when
65:43   we are talking about the values of the rights and survival of a single person or people.
65:50   And therefore, anti-Semitism requires a particular treatment and attention — I’m sorry that someone
65:54   is not here today because we would have had to talk about everything.
65:58   But it is a classic Italian methodology
66:02   to not confront this singular, enormous
66:06   subject, to use as an alibi that all of the other subjects are not confronted,
66:13   from world peace to violence in the stadiums.
66:17   Whoever does not have the courage to say that anti-Semitism
66:21   today, a matrix of any color [unintelligible]
66:25   and will be fought, without “if” and without “but”,
66:29   doesn’t recognize the problem, the moment in which we are living.
66:33   The fact that there were tens of thousands of Jews
66:37   interviewed just last spring in European countries,
66:41   in particular, France, where they represent the largest community,
66:45   that they are thinking of leaving the countries of the European Union
66:49   to return to Israel, expressing the intention to emigrate
66:53   due to fear, is a historic drama, which will not be denied,
66:57   but, on the contrary, will be confronted and resolved
67:00   with courage… with courage… I am getting to the conclusion.
67:04   Courage means to act and not hide,
67:08   to take the responsibility for one’s own choices.
67:12   If there are countries that institutionally call for
67:16   the erasure of other countries,
67:20   these countries will be stopped; therefore I wish
67:24   that nuclear weapons may never be in the hands of certain countries.
67:28   I wish, as has maintained the new — fortunately —
67:32   prime minister of Britain, Boris Johnson, because if
67:36   someone else had won, on the basis of what I heard this morning,
67:40   we would have had an enemy on the staircase landing of our home.
67:44   Fortunately, the people see beyond some intellectuals,
67:50   but Boris Johnson — we both hope that a new negotiation,
67:54   a new move to negotiation on nuclear disarmament
67:58   with Iran be conducted by the only person who can carry it forward
68:02   with firmness and credibility, the President of the United States, Donald Trump.
68:08   The enemies of Israel are the enemies of civilization and peace.
68:14   The friends of Israel are the friends of liberty, rights, progress,
68:19   and peaceful co-existence among peoples, and I remember as one of my greatest
68:23   satisfactions when, after the meeting I had with Bibi Netanyahu,
68:27   in a press conference, the Israeli prime minister said, “I have met
68:31   a friend of Israel.” I am honored, I am honored to be that.
68:36   And I will fight with all my strength, in all forums inside and outside of the institutions,
68:40   so that our children and your children never relive
68:44   the errors and horrors of the past. Whatever
68:48   [unintelligible] source or political justification they might have.
68:52   Long live Italy. Long live Israel.

3 thoughts on “Matteo Salvini’s Complete Speech on Israel and Jew-Hatred

  1. This comment is from France.

    Thank you Baron for posting this speech by Matteo Salvini.

    I agree with SAlvini. I am old now (over 80) and I have traveled widely in the past, especially in the Middle East. I have lived for long periods, for may work, in many Muslim countries. I also visited Israel more than 15 times. ( I had to have two passports! ) And to make things totally clear, I am neither jewish nor muslim, just an average ” cultural christian” from Europe.

    After my retirement I studied the History of these parts of the world, and also arab-muslim culture. I read the Koran from beginning to end. ( that was boring but illuminating)

    I came to an inescapable conclusion: the Jews have realized a Tour de Force unique in the history of the world by resurecting their country. When their homeland was occupied and destroyed by Rome, they kept the faith (” Next year in Jerusalem”), never gave up, and regained THEIR country after 2000 years.

    During these 2000 years,there was a continual jewish presence in Galilea and Jerusalem. After WW2 the UN voted to divide the land, half to the Jews, half to the Arabs. The Arabs refused and attacked… The rest is History. The Arab-Muslims, because of their hegemonic Islam, cannot tolerate the very existence of Israel. Neither can Iran. … These countries are dangerous for world peace… As I said at the beginning, I think Salvini is right.

    • Excellent points, Ernst.

      I’ve seen different interpretations of the DNA evidence for the ancestry of diaspora Jews (though if the Ashkenazi of central Europe are not descended from those who were deported after the Roman sack of Jerusalem, how on earth did they get there? And retain Hebrew for their holy texts?)

      Related to this is a considerable (if circumstantial) body of evidence around dietary rules (those for kosher and halal being almost identical), all apparently devised (whether by “God” or man) to avoid food poisoning in a hot climate where things go off quickly, and the Jewish and Muslim custom of burying the dead quickly, surely for the same reason; indeed this Sunday I’m going to the dedication of the headstone of a Jewish friend at whose funeral I spoke last March. (I’m suddenly worried I might be “virtue signalling”, but this really isn’t why I mention it; he was my oldest friend, and I miss his generosity and ironic humour.)

  2. As one of Baron’s collaborators and translator of the above video, Baron’s concerns about hate speech/free speech are well taken. We are both Americans and share our love for free speech even when it offends certain people-including Jews.

    Europe, on the other hand, has no Ist Amendment, and that which is deemed hate speech can be criminalized as people like Geert Wilders, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Renaud Camus and others have learned. We both find the experiences of the above people appalling.

    Israel’s defenders will tell you that they are not trying to outlaw criticism of Israel’s policies. That point was made by at least a couple of the speakers in Rome. What they are saying is, first, there is a resurgence in Jew hatred in Europe, and second, their preferred defintion of anti-Semitism would include the point that it is anti-Semitic to oppose the right of Jews to their own homeland and right of self determination.

    Baron rightfully points out that anti-Semitic speech in itself should not be criminalized. It becomes a very slippery slope when any person tries to define hate speech and at what point is the line crossed.

    My personal preference is that anti-Semitic speech should be rebutted and shamed. It must be fought in the marketplace of ideas. We rightfully complain when someone is arrested for Islamophobia, and that should extend to all “hate speech” regardless of who the offender or the perpetrator is. If we condemn and rebut hate speech, we are engaging in that debate. If we criminalize everything that one person might find offensive, we are silencing the discussion.

    Of course, there are times when hate speech crosses the line into something that could be prosecuted even in the US. If you incite a crowd to attack one or more persons because they are Jews, blacks, whites, Muslims etc, and the crowd directly responds by committing such an attack, that is criminal.

    The Europeans are facing a great crisis now in how to handle speech particularly about Jews and Muslim immigrants. The question of Israel is part of this discussion. I don’t expect them to design their laws to look like own own, but I hope they will limit their crackdown on free speech by limiting it to that which calls for violence.

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