"Just as for the victims of the Holocaust we say 'every Jew has a name,' so also the victims of terrorism today have names," Italian journalist Giulio Meotti quotes son of Holocaust survivors and bereaved parent Uri Baruch in his book "A New Shoah."
Baruch lost his daughter Sarit in a terrorist attack near Hebron in September 2001. Meotti, 30, a native of Tuscany has no doubts when linking the Holocaust and Islamic terror calling for the destruction of Israel.
"Being Jewish in the century of Hitler and the Islamic Republic of Iran means having a club membership that never expires," he says in the book. "When terrorists hijacked a plane full of Israelis in Entebbe in 1976 they selected hostages by making them state their names." Islamic terror is not directed exclusively against Israelis, he stresses, but against Jews everywhere.
"When Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was murdered by al-Qaeda in Pakistan, the Islamic terrorists forced him to say his name, then those of his father and mother, both Israeli citiznes: 'My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.'"
Ahead of the release of his new book "A New Shoah – The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism," I meet Meotti at a Roman café in the city's Trastevere area, near the offices of "Il Foglio," the newspaper for which he writes.
"It is definitely not an easy book, but it's up to the reader to decide whether he is interested in truly understanding what is happening in the Middle East today or whether he'd rather focus on concise journalistic reporting on the daily number of victims on both sides," he explains. "Israel lives in never-ending survival mode. A country that has paid a heavy price throughout wars that have yet to end. I give you the human story, what's goes on behind the political drama."
Meotti spent four years doing research on Israel's terror victims on the premise that only a foreigner can look into the hearts of Israelis. He has harsh criticism against Europe in its attitude towards Israel and its war against terrorism. Meotti links the Holocaust in Europe to present-day terrorism. "The same Europe that let Jews be exterminated on its soil," he says "is letting Jews be exterminated now, looking away and letting itself off the hook on the basis that it is not its responsibility if Jews are annihilated on their own land."
Do you not consider these accusations extreme?
"In my opinion, those in European press and universities who de-legitimize Israel use the Holocaust against Israel by claiming: 'You, who were exterminated on European soil are now exterminating Arabs.' In other words, the Holocaust is still part of the agenda today. The massacre of some 2,000 Israelis over a period of more than a decade is equivalent to 70,000 Americans being killed. The name of my book aims to link the old Holocaust and the one going on today."
'Western media disregards victims'
"The Holocaust is by far Europe's greatest failure," Meotti declares. "When a Dutch politician marches in the streets of Amsterdam during Operation Cast Lead screaming: 'Hamas! Hamas! Send the Jews to the gas' you realize how deeply the two events are connected."
How did you come about writing this book?
"In 2003, I spent time in Israel shooting a film on the second intifada, when the terrorist attack on the Maxim restaurant in Haifa occurred. The next day I noticed that both the European and American media failed to report about the victims and I asked myself why is it that Israeli victims of terror disappear so quickly. I wanted to tell their story and the further I investigated the more victims emerged. I realized justice must be made. I believe future peace cannot be achieved if all these victims be forgotten."
Do you not think Israel itself chose to forget its own victims?
"Israel has definitely forgotten its victims and I know why. The fact that cafés that have been attacked were reopened weeks later is a clear message that this society must be kept marching forward. But I believe that the denial of terrorism on Israel's part will eventually blow up in its face."
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