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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Risks Taking Over Milan's Central Piazza

Milan city officials have given the green light to the largest ever Israeli celebration outside of Israel, to take place next week in the Italian city’s central Duomo piazza. Pro-Palestinian groups have vowed to protest the event.

A Bologna rally last year against Israeli's assault on pro-Palestinian flottila (Valerio Pirrera)
A Bologna rally last year against Israeli's assault on pro-Palestinian flottila (Valerio Pirrera)
Max Cassani

MILAN - "Unexpected Israel," an exhibition celebrating Israel, will go ahead as planned in Milan's central Duomo piazza, despite protests from pro-Palestinian activists. Milan authorities have confirmed the location of the biggest Israeli cultural event ever organized abroad, set to take place June 13-23.

Pro-Palestinian activists have posted an online plea against the event, and have threatened to organize a rally against it on June 18. "We do not want Milan to become the stage for Zionist imperialism's propaganda," they wrote.

Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, and Roberto Jarach, president of the Milan Jewish community, responded in a joint statement: "Giving up under threat would be a political victory for those who bring prejudice and hate."

After the Duomo location was confirmed as the location for the event, Gattegna and Mr. Jarach said they appreciated the "firm and coherent actions' of incoming Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia and Police Commissioner Alessandro Marangoni.

"The event aims to strengthen friendship and collaboration between two countries Israel and Italy, and it is all about culture, progress, technologies and arts, which are themes that can encourage coexistence and peace among peoples," the officials said in a statement.

After meeting a representative of the mayor, the pro-Palestinian activists said in a statement that they claim their right "to peacefully question and expose this whitewashing operation of Israeli politics."

Opening next Monday, Unexpected Israel will exhibit an installation consisting of 15 columns and 15 monitors, which will be placed in Duomo's vast square to illustrate Israel's diverse realities. On June 14, there will be an Italo-Israeli business-forum. On June 15, writer Davis Grossman will talk in the Teatro Nuovo, while the singer Noa will perform in concert. The main exhibitions will be hosted in a 900-square-meter pavilion.

Milan's Jewish communities have mobilized to support the event. Some 250 scholars and "friends of Israel" have signed a letter to Milan Mayor Pisapia, the Lombardy region president, Roberto Formigoni, Italy's Interior minister, Roberto Maroni, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Italian President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano. "It is not acceptable for radical groups to stop the freedom of expression, to defy Italian hospitality and to deny relations with Israel in an apartheid-style," read the letter.

Filippo Penati, vice president of the Lombardy regional council said: "Every attack on a country and its people must be condemned. Not allowing the exhibition to take place in Duomo's piazza would be surrendering to an unacceptable anti-democratic blackmail."

Pisapia, who just came into office as the city's first center-left mayor in 20 years, had the last word. "Milan is an open and hospital city for everyone. It cannot be the place to reproduce a fight that for too long has not been solved peacefully," he said. "Milan is a sister city of Tel Aviv and Bethlehem, and it must continue being a meeting point for cultures and peoples."

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photo - Valerio Perrea

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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