International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians and World Jewish Congress conclude Rome conference on Arab Spring
15 May 2012

ROME – The International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP) and the World Jewish Congress (WJC), whose leaders met yesterday with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, Chamber of Deputies Speaker Gianfranco Fini and Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata concluded their conference in Rome on the subject of the ‘Revolutions in the Middle East: the Iranian question, the Arab world and the West’. Italian MP Fiamma Nirenstein, chairwoman of the ICJP, WJC Secretary General Dan Diker and Israel’s ambassador to Italy, Naor Gilon, agreed that Europe is facing enormous difficulties as it passes through a time of economic and social crisis besides which one can see a sea change affecting the entire world, while confirming the threats of Iran and radical Islam.

Nirenstein denounced as absurd the insistence of the European institutions on the alleged sins committed by Israel. She said this was “an ideological deviation that avoids dealing with the real problems such as anti-Semitism ". Belgian parliamentarian Viviane Teitelbaum, Hungarian MP Tibor Szanyi and Director Mario Sechi also intervened in the discussion. Maurizio Massari, special envoy of Italy’s foreign minister for the Mediterranean and the Middle East, emphasized the contribution of Italy to a fair and balanced relationship of the European Union with the Arab world and Israel.

In the second panel, ‘The Iranian regime and the Nuclear Issue’ which was chaired by Dan Diker, speakers included the Iranian journalist Saba Farzan, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold, Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and Michael Ledeen, an essayist and author of ‘Accomplice to Evil: Iran and the War Against the West’. They denounced the Iranian regime’s quest to obtain nuclear weapons and its possible intention of using them against the West, in the first against the Jewish state. In his speech, Fabio Sokolowich, diplomatic advisor to the Italian prime minister, stressed the role of Italy in creating a united front for effective sanctions against the Iranian regime at a European level.

‘The Arab revolutions and the Return of Radical Islam’, the last panel chaired by journalist Ruthie Blum, featured speeches by Shmuel Bar, director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy in Herzliya, Khaled Fouad Allam, a sociologist and columnist for the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, and Lorenzo Cremonesi, correspondent for the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. All panelists underscored the immense difficulties – despite existing goodwill - to create a movement toward democracy in countries where the latter has never existed before and where religious fanatics are battling for power.