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LA STAMPA

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."

Read the original article in Italian

photo - Valerio Perrea

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Winter Is Coming: Breaking Down Russian Propaganda Across Europe

Hit by EU sanctions, Russia is working hard to spread its own propaganda through neighboring countries. A new study breaks down exactly what that disinformation campaign is saying — and whether it's working.

Poster of Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Warsaw

Irina Subota

-Analysis-

KYIV — One of the main narratives of Russian propaganda in recent years can be summed up as: "Russia is a global power and the West must respect it." Yet since the beginning of the invasion, the European Union has imposed a series of sanctions against Russia.

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In light of this clash, Moscow's propaganda in the West has taken four different and distinct lines: "The future of the EU will be cold and hungry...," "the EU shot itself in the foot...," "the U.S. economy is also suffering, and is now looking for ways to resume business with Russia...," and "sanctions do not harm Russia, they only make it stronger."

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