Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Life

“Israel Is Us” — an Italian Parliamentarian’s Platform

Ha’aretz speaks with Fiamma Nirenstein, an Italian Jewish journalist and longtime resident of Israel who was recently elected to Italian parliament after running an unusual campaign.

“I ran for a place in parliament as a representative of the Liguria district. I held rallies in Genoa and other cities in the region,” she told Ha’aretz. “But I didn’t talk with the people about local problems. I told them that the most important thing for their Italian identity is to stand by Israel’s side.”

Nirenstein, a former communist who has moved to the right, is the author, most recently, of “Israele Siamo Noi” (“Israel Is Us”). “Italy can learn a lot from Israel,” she said. “It can learn what a true democracy is, how a democracy can survive in conditions of conflict, without forsaking its fundamental principles. Israel is a culture of life, a culture of people who are always seeking peace. Our problem in Italy is that sometimes we don’t know who we are. You can know who you are if you know your enemy and your friend. Israel is Italy’s friend.”

She was elected to parliament on the Party of Liberty list put together by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and Gianfranco Fini, the former head of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement who went on to serve as Berlusconi’s foreign minister. Asked how she, a Jew whose mother was an anti-Nazi partisan, feels about her alliance with a former fascist like Fini, Nirenstein answered: “He was a fascist like I was a communist, when I was indifferent to what Pol Pot did, when I admired Che Guevara. I see him as someone who has since developed.”

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.