Columnist Oriana Fallaci: On Jew-Hatred in Europe
[Originally published in Italian in the Panorama magazine , April 17, 2002 ]
I find it shameful that in Italy there should be a procession of individuals
dressed as suicide bombers who spew vile abuse at Israel,
hold up photographs of Israeli leaders on whose foreheads they have drawn
the swastika, incite people to hate the Jews. And who, in order to see Jews
once again in the extermination camps, in the gas chambers, in the ovens of
Dachau and Mauthausen and Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen et cetera, would sell
their own mother to a harem.
I find it shameful that the Catholic Church should permit a bishop, one with
lodgings in the Vatican no less, a saintly man who was found in Jerusalem
with an arsenal of arms and explosives hidden in the secret compartments of
his sacred Mercedes, to participate in that procession and plant himself in
front of a microphone to thank in the name of God the suicide bombers who
massacre the Jews in pizzerias and supermarkets. To call them "martyrs who
go to their deaths as to a party."
I find it shameful that in France, the France of Liberty-Equality-
Fraternity, they burn synagogues, terrorize Jews, profane their cemeteries.
I find it shameful that the youth of Holland and Germany and Denmark flaunt
the kaffiah just as Mussolini's avant garde used to flaunt the club and the
I find it shameful that in nearly all the universities of Europe Palestinian
students sponsor and nurture anti-Semitism. That in Sweden they asked that
the Nobel Peace Prize given to Shimon Peres in 1994 be taken back and
conferred on the dove with the olive branch in his mouth, that is on Arafat.
I find it shameful that the distinguished members of the Committee, a
Committee that (it would appear) rewards political color rather than merit,
should take this request into consideration and even respond to it. In hell
the Nobel Prize honors he who does not receive it.
I find it shameful (we're back in Italy) that state-run television stations
contribute to the resurgent anti-Semitism, crying only over Palestinian
deaths while playing down Israeli deaths, glossing over them in unwilling
tones. I find it shameful that in their debates they host with much
deference the scoundrels with turban or kaffiah who yesterday sang hymns to
the slaughter at New York and today sing hymns to the slaughters at
Jerusalem, at Haifa, at Netanya, at Tel Aviv.
I find it shameful that the press does the same, that it is indignant
because Israeli tanks surround the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, that
it is not indignant because inside that same church two hundred Palestinian
terrorists well armed with machine guns and munitions and explosives (among
them are various leaders of Hamas and Al-Aqsa) are not unwelcome guests of
the monks (who then accept bottles of mineral water and jars of honey from
the soldiers of those tanks).
I find it shameful that, in giving the number of Israelis killed since the
beginning of the Second Intifada (four hundred twelve), a noted daily
newspaper found it appropriate to underline in capital letters that more
people are killed in their traffic accidents. (Six hundred a year).
I find it shameful that the Roman Observer, the newspaper of the Pope- -a
Pope who not long ago left in the Wailing Wall a letter of apology for the
Jews--accuses of extermination a people who were exterminated in the
millions by Christians. By Europeans.
I find it shameful that this newspaper denies to the survivors of that
people (survivors who still have numbers tattooed on their arms) the right
to react, to defend themselves, to not be exterminated again.
I find it shameful that in the name of Jesus Christ (a Jew without whom they
would all be unemployed), the priests of our parishes or Social Centers or
whatever they are flirt with the assassins of those in Jerusalem who cannot
go to eat a pizza or buy some eggs without being blown up.
I find it shameful that they are on the side of the very ones who
inaugurated terrorism, killing us on airplanes, in airports, at the
Olympics, and who today entertain themselves by killing western journalists.
By shooting them, abducting them, cutting their throats, decapitating them.
(There's someone in Italy who, since the appearance of Anger and Pride,
would like to do the same to me. Citing verses of the Koran he exhorts his
"brothers" in the mosques and the Islamic Community to chastise me in the
name of Allah. To kill me. Or rather to die with me. Since he's someone who
speaks English well, I'll respond to him in English: "Fuck you.")
I find it shameful that almost all of the left, the left that twenty years
ago permitted one of its union processionals to deposit a
coffin (as a Mafioso warning) in front of the synagogue of Rome, forgets the
contribution made by the Jews to the fight against
fascism. Made by Carlo and Nello Rossini, for example, by Leone Ginzburg, by
Umberto Terracini, by Leo Valiani, by Emilio Sereni, by women like my friend
Anna Maria Enriques Agnoletti who was shot at Florence on June 12, 1944, by
seventy-five of the three-hundred- thirty-five people killed at the Fosse
Ardeatine, by the infinite others killed under torture or in combat or
before firing squads. (The companions, the teachers, of my infancy and my
I find it shameful that in part through the fault of the left--or rather,
primarily through the fault of the left (think of the left that
inaugurates its congresses applauding the representative of the PLO, leader
in Italy of the Palestinians who want the destruction of
Israel)-Jews in Italian cities are once again afraid. And in French cities
and Dutch cities and Danish cities and German cities, it is
I find it shameful that Jews tremble at the passage of the scoundrels
dressed like suicide bombers just as they trembled during Krystallnacht, the
night in which Hitler gave free rein to the Hunt of the Jews.
I find it shameful that in obedience to the stupid, vile, dishonest, and for
them extremely advantageous fashion of Political Correctness the usual
opportunists--or better the usual parasites--exploit the word Peace. That in
the name of the word Peace, by now more debauched than the words Love and
Humanity, they absolve one side alone of its hate and bestiality. That in
the name of a pacifism (read conformism) delegated to the singing crickets
and buffoons who used to lick Pol Pot's feet they incite people who are
confused or ingenuous or intimidated. Trick them, corrupt them, carry them
back a half century to the time of the yellow star on the coat. These
charlatans who care about the Palestinians as much as I care about the
charlatans. That is not at all.
I find it shameful that many Italians and many Europeans have chosen as
their standard-bearer the gentleman (or so it is polite to say) Arafat. This
nonentity who thanks to the money of the Saudi Royal Family plays the
Mussolini ad perpetuum and in his megalomania believes he will pass into
History as the George Washington of Palestine. This ungrammatical wretch who
when I interviewed him was unable even to put together a complete sentence,
to make articulate conversation. So that to put it all together, write it,
publish it, cost me a tremendous effort and I concluded that compared to him
even Ghaddafi sounds like Leonardo da Vinci. This false warrior who always
goes around in uniform like Pinochet, never putting on civilian garb, and
yet despite this has never participated in a battle. War is something he
sends, has always sent, others to do for him. That is, the poor souls who
believe in him. This pompous incompetent who playing the part of Head of
State caused the failure of the Camp David negotiations, Clinton's
mediation. No-no-I-want-Jerusalem-all-to-myself. This eternal liar who has a
flash of sincerity only when (in private) he denies Israel's right to exist,
and who as I say in my book contradicts himself every five minutes. He
always plays the double-cross, lies even if you ask him what time it is, so
that you can never trust him. Never! With him you will always wind up
systematically betrayed. This eternal terrorist who knows only how to be a
terrorist (while keeping himself safe) and who during the Seventies, that is
when I interviewed him, even trained the terrorists of Baader-Meinhof. With
them, children ten years of age. Poor children. (Now he trains them to
become suicide bombers. A hundred baby suicide bombers are in the works: a
hundred!). This weathercock who keeps his wife at Paris, served and revered
like a queen, and keeps his people down in the shit. He takes them out of
the shit only to send them to die, to kill and to die, like the
eighteen-year-old girls who in order to earn equality with men have to strap
on explosives and disintegrate with their victims. And yet many Italians
love him, yes. Just like they loved Mussolini. And many other Europeans do
I find it shameful and see in all this the rise of a new fascism, a new
Nazism. A fascism, a nazism, that much more grim and revolting because it is
conducted and nourished by those who hypocritically pose as do-gooders,
progressives, communists, pacifists, Catholics or rather Christians, and who
have the gall to label a warmonger anyone like me who screams the truth.
I see it, yes, and I say the following. I have never been tender with the
tragic and Shakespearean figure Sharon. ("I know you've come to add another
scalp to your necklace," he murmured almost with sadness when I went to
interview him in 1982.) I have often had disagreements with the Israelis,
ugly ones, and in the past I have defended the Palestinians a great deal.
Maybe more than they deserved.
But I stand with Israel, I stand with the Jews. I stand just as I stood as a
young girl during the time when I fought with them, and when the Anna Marias
were shot. I defend their right to exist, to defend themselves, to not let
themselves be exterminated a second time. And disgusted by the anti-Semitism
of many Italians, of many Europeans, I am ashamed of this shame that
dishonors my Country and Europe. At best, it is not a community of States,
but a pit of Pontius Pilates. And even if all the inhabitants of this planet
were to think otherwise, I would continue to think so.