“The so-called ‘Palestine Festival’ is a voice that can incite to hate and is not ‘freedom of expression’.”

Paris, 1st October 2020 

In a letter to Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed “deep concern at the 1-4 October ‘Falastin - Palestine Festival’ at the Verano Gardens in the San Lorenzo district of Rome – under the patronage of the 2nd Municipality.”

Samuels noted that, “following the opening this afternoon by the Municipal President, the programme is predominantly a plan of action for BDS, led by Anwar Odeh, Marinella Chieppa and Stephanie Westbrook – all BDS activists.”

The Centre argued that, “BDS (Boycot, Divestment, Sanctions) is a campaign to harm the State of Israel, inspired by the German Nazi 1930s violent programme ‘Kaufen Nicht bei Juden’ (Do Not Buy from the Jews!).”

The letter continued, “Italy is a signatory to the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) Definition of Antisemitism, which describes the dangers of BDS to local Jewish communities, especially in Europe.”

The letter stressed that, “our Centre stands with the Jewish Community of Rome and its protest to the host Municipality.”

“Mr. Prime Minister, BDS is a threat targeting all of Italy and we urge you to take appropriate measures against it, including its closure... The so-called ‘Palestine Festival’ of Rome is a voice that can incite to hate and is not ‘freedom of expression’,” concluded Samuels.

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