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LETTER TO THE ITALIAN EMBASSY
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If you are based in the UK send fax to: +44 20 7312 2230 or email email@example.com
We protest against the outrageous decision of the Turin Book Fair to make Israel its “guest of honour”. If this decision to invite and honour Israel is not rescinded, the Book Fair must be boycotted.
The invitation has sinister echoes in the UK: on 7 April Prince Philip is hosting a dinner in Windsor Castle for the Jewish National Fund, a key Zionist organisation that has dispossessed & expelled Palestinian people from their lands.
We find it all the more astonishing that President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano plans to open the Fair on 8 May considering that the Fair’s President, Rolando Picchioni, was a member of the Masonic Lodge P2, led by Lucio Gelli, who was not only a fervent admirer of the Fascist leader Mussolini, but a liaison officer with the Hermann Goering SS division. In the ‘70s the P2 infamously planned a right-wing coup d’état in Italy.
Those of who are Jewish are particularly outraged that the Israeli State is so eager to take a part in the fair organized by an old associate of Nazis. This collaboration, however, is less surprising following Israel’s deputy defence minister Vilnai’s call for a “shoah” – a holocaust – against people in Gaza. To propose a shoah against Palestinians validates all shoahs – including that inflicted on the world by the Nazis.
Calling for a boycott in response to inviting the Israeli State to the Paris & Turin Book Fairs, Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai said:
“The book event, or any other kind of exhibition in which the Israeli State is invited, is not a way to promote peace in the Middle East, and not a way to bring justice to the Palestinians, but only propaganda to give Israel an image of being a liberal & democratic society. A State which maintains an occupation & commits daily crimes against civilians does not deserve to be invited to whichever cultural week.”
The Union of Palestinian Writers & Intellectuals has also called for a boycott. And there are protests, demonstrations & boycott demands planned throughout Italy: on 5th February the headquarters of organizers of the Fair, Fondazione del Libro, was occupied; Italian book publishers have launched an appeal; a petition is being circulated & signed internationally by MEPs, students, workers, teachers & prominent individuals; demonstrations took place in Turin, Milan and Rome on 29th March; and your embassy was picketed on 31st March.
For the organisers of the Book Fair to honour Israel in the week before Nakba is not only a provocation but also a disgraceful defence of the murder, rape & torture that is the Israeli occupation.
This occupation is one with the occupation of Iraq: military control of oil & water in the Middle East for the real axis of evil – US, Israel & their European stooges. And now the Italian authorities have shown they are complicit in the additional crime of Nakba denial.