Photo Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, December 12, 2018

Last month, Matteo Salvini – Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister, and quite possibly future prime minister – arrived in Israel. Matteo is considered a friend of Israel. Before his visit, he told a Ma’ariv reporter, “I feel honored to visit Israel. Italians have a lot to learn from her…. We must strengthen ties between the two countries.”

During his visit, he met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and other dignitaries and declared he was “proud to be here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.” He added, “Anyone who wants peace must support and defend Israel. Israel is a bastion for the defense of Europe and the Middle East.”

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When his left-wing rivals in Italy attacked him for calling Hezbollah fighters “terrorists,” he replied, “It’s strange to read in the Italian press that some people were shocked when I called Islamist terrorists by their name…if we do not define our opponent…it is impossible to win this game.”

But Israel’s Left was unhappy at the warm reception Salvini received. MK Tamar Zandberg said, “Netanyahu reaches out to fascist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic leaders.” Apparently, someone who respects Israel, wants to fight anti-Semitism, and supports Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is an anti-Semite and a fascist – in contrast to Abu Mazen, denier of the Holocaust and supporter of terrorism, and all his cohorts, who are respected friends. They, of course, are not anti-Semites or fascists.

Reuven Rivlin, meanwhile, could not find the time to meet Salvini for 15 minutes due to his “crowded schedule” visiting children in kindergartens. Perhaps during these visits, he told the young children oppose assimilation is forbidden or that Arabs have equal rights to the Land of Israel.

It’s regrettable to see President Rivlin repeatedly humiliating Israel and harming its international standing, while at the same time flattering the Left, which continually distance itself from sane political positions.

If we were talking about a refined public figure – one who had never met with individuals above reproach, in character or opinion – his actions would perhaps be understandable. However, considering that Rivlin sits fawningly with interviewers from the international media – who constantly spread blood libels about Israel and speak about the settlers with venom – how dare he refuse a meeting with a friend of the State of Israel?

In addition to the moral hypocrisy of Rivlin and the Left, their actions also signify political shortsightedness. They persist in telling themselves that the more they align with the liberal Left in various countries, the stronger Israel will be. They pay no attention, however, to two fundamental facts:

First, in all European countries and other important regions in the world, the national Right is growing stronger, and therefore, we must devote our main political efforts to cultivating ties with right-wing parties. Second, the Left is becoming increasingly anti-Semitic. Just look, for example, at England’s Labor Party, which even left-wing British Jews admit is anti-Semitic.

True, in the European Right there remain remnants of murderous nationalism, the legacy of generations past. But it is precisely ties between right-wing parties and Israel that are the best remedy to this problem; these ties refine and distance the Right from evil anti-Semites, who are unable to bear a connection with the State of Israel.

In other words, the only way to combat anti-Semitism is by building a healthy connection between Israel and the emerging national movements in Europe and throughout the world. And the only way to eradicate murderous nationalism is precisely healthy nationalism, designed to express the unique identity of each nation.

The attempt of some Diaspora Jews to eradicate national identities only serves to awaken the terrible demons of murderous nationalism. While their flawed deeds do not in any way justify violence against Jews, nevertheless, the facts must be recognized: Extreme leftist Jews – determined to undermine the foundations of the national identity of various countries – provoke enormous hatred toward the Jewish people.

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