Thousands of people gathered on Tuesday in Piazza del Popolo in Rome to attend a rally against antisemitism and terrorism organized by the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities and the Jewish Community of Rome. Some of the highest-ranking representatives from the political, religious, and civil spheres were present in the square.
Senator for Life Liliana Segre also joined the initiative: “We always think that it’s over, that the world has moved on,” she said the day before the rally. But instead, she said with bitterness, “we have to see Jews being hunted down and killed because they are Jews; being asked to apologize because they are Jews; being forced to hide because they are Jews.”
“We cannot remain silent before what is happening,” stated UCEI President Noemi Di Segni, urging all of society to mobilize. It is a plea that is not just meant to be “from Jews to Jews,” but it is also a call to take to the streets regardless of ethnic, cultural, and religious distinctions to defend a “pacific and safe coexistence” that also includes the “freedom to wear the David’s star around one’s neck or the kippot on one’s head.”
Since October 7, we have observed an increase in antisemitism in all its forms,” said Di Segni again, recalling the many manifestations of the phenomenon: from Islamic fundamentalism to conspiracy theories, passing through religious antisemitism. President Di Segni did not hide her disappointment, with the position taken by “unions, NGOs, organizations such as Amnesty International and UNICEF, and women organizations like Non una di meno” on the conflict and its repercussions defining them as subjects “with a twisted political agenda.”
Di Segni also stated that “we were expecting other organizations that cherish life” to arrange such initiative. But unfortunately, it was not the case. “This initiative of ours has the desire to fight against miscommunication that is likely to bring us back to the worst that European culture produced in the past,” stated Victor Fadlun, President of the Roman Jewish community.
“Jewish presence is a precious resource. Today we are seeing that it is threatened by a resurfacing poisonous and karstic trend. Jews have been attacked and stumbling stones commemorating the victims of the Holocaust have been desecrated in Italy as well,” he added later, exhorting every citizen who is sensitive to certain values to participate to what has the ambition to be “a celebration of freedom and democracy.” The deep meaning of the initiative “is that the constitutional principles the Italian State is based on cannot be questioned,” reiterated Fadlun.
Translated by Francesca Pischedda and revised by Annadora Zuanel, students at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Trieste, interns at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities – Pagine Ebraiche.