Italian Foreign Minister Condemns Anti-Semitism; Calls for Concrete Actions Against Terrorism in Meeting with Jewish Leaders
New York, NY, January 21, 2003 ... Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini affirmed his government’s intention to use its moral and political leadership against anti-Semitism and the vilification of Israel in the international community at a January 20 meeting organized by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). “Anti-Semitism is an offense to our sensibilities. We will work with all parties to stop this phenomena in all its manifestations,” said the Italian leader.
Glen A. Tobias, ADL National Chairman, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, told the Foreign Minister “we in the American Jewish community have a special feeling for Italy, which under the leadership of Prime Minister Berlusconi, has demonstrated its special relationship with the United States and has shown a greater understanding and support of Israel’s position in the Middle East conflict.”
Foreign Minister Frattini, who was visiting the United States for the first time since his recent appointment, also called for “concrete actions, not just words” to stop terrorism in the Middle East, referring in particular to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. He spelled out Italy’s approach to the Middle East conflict: a two-state solution based on mutual security along the vision spelled out by President Bush in his statement of June 24, 2002. He also urged the Palestinian Authority to move toward democracy and governmental reform.
The Italian leader underscored the initiative of his government for a “Marshall Plan for the Middle East.” This concept of widespread aid and investment in the Middle East has been propounded by Italy as an essential component of long-term peace. Mr. Frattini said his government would make this a priority when Italy becomes president of the European Union in July, 2003.
The meeting, which included representatives from several Jewish organizations, was hosted by Ambassador Sergio Vento, Italy’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Mr. Tobias and Mr. Foxman, who had met with Italian leaders in Rome last summer, welcomed the continuation of the dialogue and expressed appreciation to Mr. Frattini for meeting with the delegation on his first trip to the U.S. as foreign minister of Italy.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.