Thursday 26 May 2011

Niccolo Rinaldi, EU law-maker praises flotilla, Arrigoni, bemoans awful humanitarian blockade of Gaza

"Arrigoni was a brave man" (a friend of Hamas who called Zionists "rats" and who was murdered by his Palestinian friends ...)

Hostility to Israel at the European Parliament is rife - and it does not come only from the left, it is much alive within the conservatives and the far-right (also anti-Jewish).  It should come as no surprise that the flotilla and Hamas friends are not necessarily viewed with suspicion.  A young Belgian citizen involved in Hasbara activites, Fabian Cohen, who has previously worked close to the Italian MEP Niccolò Rinaldi (conservative, "Italy for Values" [!] group, ALDE-group at the European parliament), wrote to him (see his letter in French here), and this is the reply he received. It is interesting that this sophisticated politician relies on Al-Jazeera and Wikipedia for  "objective information".  For background see this: European parliament celebrating Hamas friend Vittorio Arrigoni.

De: RINALDI Niccolò []
date : 23 mai 2011 19:36
objet : RE: Conférence de presse: Flotille 2
[Emphasis added]
Dear Fabian,

I never understood the reasons for so much hostility to the Flotilla. I know many of the Italian members of the Flotilla, including quite a number of Jews, and I can assure you that they are pure non violent activists. But exactly in order to avoid any misunderstanding, in their meetings in Strasbourg the organizers have requested to the President of the European parliament and to the High representative that EU curries inspections of the cargo so to assess that only humanitarian material will be on board, and to exert adequate control over the initiative, also in order to guarantee appropriate security for the participants.

What went wrong last time was rather the killing of activists, none of then was found with gunfire on board of the ship. Personally I'm convinced that the Israeli authorities make a major mistake in emphasising too much the actual potential and threat of the flotilla - which is what, after all, seek the organizers. What is at stake is likely a cultural obstacle in understanding that some European citizens wish to be active for the awful humanitarian blockade of Gaza, and this should not be interpreted as anti-semitic. [Latest photos from Gaza - construction and luxury cars and Maybe They Should Rename it ‘Plaza’ - and many thanks to the EU.]

On Arrigoni: I didn't agree with everything he said or did, but he was a brave man [who called Zionists "rats", it was mentioned in Fabian's letter]. In Gaza he liked to pay a tribute to the graves of Jews soldiers under the British Army who are buried there [he made sure he was filmed and posted it the film on YouTube doing this]. I never heard anything antisemitic from him and (you can find an interesting profile of him on Al-Jazeera, and several objective information on wikipedia).

Although none of us is a perfect man, dialogue should always prevail, and this implies also the attempt to understand the other's point of view.
Niccolò Rinaldi
Member of European Parliament
Vice-chair of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Head of Delegation Italia dei Valori
ASP 9G 351, T +3222845597, F +3222849597

Awful humanitarian crisis in Gaza ...

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