The former prime minister: “He showed support for Meloni and La Russa, he risks doing damage to the very ’cause’ for which he was voted and elected.” And he announces: “We will take legal action against him”
Giuseppe Conte thought about it for a whole night before responding to the accusations of anti-Semitism launched against the 5 Star Movement and himself by the president of the Jewish Community of Milan Walker Meghnagi. Then he did it with an ‘open letter to those who slander me and the M5s’ published on Facebook in which he announced his intention to take legal action against Meghnagi “because we cannot allow him this serious, intolerable defamation”.
“We waited for a denial but there was none”
“We waited and hoped for an acknowledgment – writes Conte – but there was no denial. We will therefore take legal action against Mr. Meghnagi, because we cannot allow him this serious, intolerable defamation, which throws mud on values, ideas and on the history of the representatives, the activists, the citizens who support our political community”.
“We have heard everything about the 5 Star Movement – continues the former prime minister – There are many political opponents, and there are newspapers that attack us regardless. It is part of the political game. But what happened yesterday marks the exceeding a limit: constitutes a serious outrage against the principles and values that inspire an entire political community. Walker Meghnagi, president of the Jewish Community of Milan, accused the M5S of ‘anti-Semitism’ during a demonstration. That’s right. A gratuitous, denigrating, intolerable insult. A serious offense to the ethical, moral and political dignity of our community.”
“From him falsehood and hatred”
“The outrage is even more serious – underlines Conte – because it comes from those who hold an institutional role, from those who have the duty – before speaking – to inform themselves about our history, our positions, about all the numerous initiatives we have launched be precisely to eradicate anti-Semitism. But no. The representative of the Jewish Community of Milan – the second largest in Italy, rich in 157 years of history, a model of welcome and integration into the city fabric – becomes, himself , spreader of falsehood and spreader of hatreddeceiving citizens who do not have the desire and time to collect more accurate and truthful information”.
“His interventions are as discolored as those of any Donzelli”
“I don’t know Mr. Meghnagi personally. But – states the 5 star leader – if the president of a historic Jewish community wants to try his hand at the political arena – as he himself has already demonstrated in the past that he wants to do by writing a letter of pleased support for Meloni and La Russa, identified as apostles of freedom and our identity – it is advisable that he prudently find a way to speak in a personal capacity without shielding himself behind the role of representing an entire community. It is no coincidence that for that letter of praise he received quite a few criticism from his own community to which he belongs. Otherwise, by speaking in such an outrageous and uninformed way, he risks doing damage to the very ’cause’ for which he was voted and elected.”
“To be clear – continues Conte – his interventions will become as discolored as those of any Donzelli who, posing as an arrogant maître à penser, intervened in the Chamber of Deputies to make bizarre accusations of creeping anti-Semitism. Accusations that come from political forces such as Fratelli of Italy who count at home, throughout Italy, exponents who hit the headlines for having praised hatred and nostalgia for a shameful past. A political force which in 2019 – remember – abstained on the establishment of a Commission against hatred, racism and anti-Semitism proposed by Liliana Segre”.
“We leave to Meghnagi the role of praising the Brothers of Italy, although there is a risk that her words will be mixed with the declarations of Santanchè, who, instead of finding the dignity to resign due to the serious and detailed accusations that have emerged so far, yesterday went to Milan on stage to exploit an initiative of solidarity with Israel and lash out against those who place the flag of peace alongside that of Israel”.
“In Italy today it is a scandal to talk about peace”
“The novelty underlying these political controversies – Conte continues – is that in Italy, today, it has become a scandal to talk about peace. For having talked about peace in Ukraine, Pope Francis has been accused of being pro-Russian! Those who talk about peace yesterday were pro-Putin and, from today, they also become anti-Semitic“.
“Press mud machine against me”
“I cannot give all the responsibility for this to Meghnagi and her shameful words – admits Conte -. For days, a part of the Italian press has built the foundations for a mud machine against me and the Movement, while we are witnessing a more democratic and honest debate on the pages of Israel’s newspapers, despite the pain and suffering caused by the cruel terrorist attack suffered.”
“What then is the fault of the M5S? My political force has condemned without hesitation the brutal terrorist acts of Hamas – Conte reiterates – The other day we had a constructive meeting with the representatives of the Roman Jewish community and the Italian Jewish communities in the Synagogue of Rome to show our solidarity. We asked for a commitment to ensure that the response is not a spiral of violence and death against Palestinian civilians. We reiterated that the actions of terrorists and extremists, which we condemn in the strongest terms, should not be confused with the rights and legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian population. We have called for humanitarian corridors and we believe that any reaction is not sufficient to suspend international humanitarian law”
“We need a peaceful solution for two peoples and two states, as supported by UN resolutions. We are deeply concerned about the winds of war that are rising in the entire Middle Eastern quadrant. We will continue to work so that politics can raise its gaze and return central to restarting peace negotiations, the only ones that can guarantee a horizon of peace and security for the Israelis themselves and the populations living in those tormented lands. For days, for the Italian press, we have been ‘pro-Palestinian’, just as we are, for certain commentators, ‘pro-Russian’ on Ukraine only for having argued that the answer is not weapons, but politics and negotiations. We’ll keep saying it, despite the haters and mud machines. Because peace is our indispensable value.”
“I also recommend some reading to Meghnagi”
“Meghnagi, after having defamed the M5S, suggested reading some books. My mind is always open, and the advice is welcome. I also recommend some reading to him. He could start from the decisions of the Council of Ministers of 2020, when, as Prime Minister, I had the IHRA’s operational definition of anti-Semitism adopted and established Chigi as National Coordinator for the fight against anti-Semitism. Or you could reread some of my speeches as Prime Minister, starting from 2019 when in the synagogue I reminded everyone that ‘anti-Semitism is European suicide’. I leave it here at your disposal, in the first comment under this letter. By spending time on this reading, perhaps you can take a few minutes away from certain infamies.”