I have a high regard for Matteo Salvini, the former Italian Interior Minister and the leader of the Lega. However, in the following video (which is an excerpt from a speech given on January 16 in the Italian Senate) there is a significant point on which I disagree with him.
Among other things, Mr. Salvini puts forward the idea that it should be against the law to “oppose the existence of the State of Israel as the home of the Jewish people”. There are several reasons why I find this idea repugnant.
Firstly, as far as I know, the only such laws being proposed concern the Jewish people and Israel. I don’t think anyone wants to criminalize, say, opposition to the creation of Kurdistan as a homeland for the Kurds. And there are so many others — Frisia, the Sami, the Navajo, Tibet, Chechnya, and Baluchistan, just to name a few. Should we pass laws against opposition to the creation (or re-establishment) of homelands for all those peoples? If not, how can we pass laws against opposing the State of Israel and still keep any semblance of fairness?
Secondly, as a dyed-in-the-wool American I have a deep loathing for any legal restrictions on speech. I’m willing to concede that it may be a good idea to outlaw explicit, direct, and immediate incitement to violence, but that’s about it. I find Jew-hatred to be vile, but I think Jew-haters should be able to express their vitriol whenever they want without legal hindrance.
This video is a brief segment from a much longer speech. Vlad thinks a complete transcript might show that Mr. Salvini only intends to criminalize organizations that attempt to interfere with Italian foreign policy concerning the sovereign State of Israel. If that turns out to be the case, then it’s a somewhat different matter. But for the nonce all we have is what you see below.
Many thanks to FouseSquawk for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:
Below is an interview with Mr. Salvini on the same topic from La Stampa, also translated by FouseSquawk:
Salvini: “Anti-Semitism in Italy? It’s the fault of Muslim immigrants”
Ex-minister of Interior: “With me as prime minister, Jerusalem will be recognized as capital of Israel”
Tel Aviv: If he becomes prime minister, Matteo Salvini will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. That is what the secretary of the Lega said in an interview today with the newspaper Israel Ha-Yoom, in which he called on the EU to ban BDS, the boycott movement against Israel. A few days after the Senate conference on anti-Semitism, Salvini has reiterated to the newspaper — considered close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — that the Lega has no ties with political organizations like Casa Pound, Forza Nuova and Fiamma, which are defined by the newspaper as “anti-Semitic.”
To a question about the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe, which will be discussed January 22-23 on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Salvini said, “In my opinion, this has to do with the strengthening of extremism and Islamic fanaticism in recent years. It is very important to stress,” he added, “that this is connected to the fact that certain elements in the academic world and the media are mobilized against Israel and they create a hatred towards Israel in order to justify anti-Semitism.”
“Currently, the massive presence of immigrants coming from Muslim countries,” he continued after also recalling the existence of minor political Nazi and communist political movements, contributes to the spread of anti-Semitism also in Italy. “There is,” he complained, “an anti-Semitism on the extreme right and the extreme left. We think of Jeremy Corbyn or leftist activists in Germany who don’t want to be like the Nazis, yet they are found boycotting Israeli products.” To a question on the relations of the Lega with “anti-Semitic political groups”, Salvini answered that “we have no connections with those organizations. In the elections, parties like Casa Pound, Forza Nuova, and Fiamma come out against us.” This shows “we have no ties to them.”