May 28, 2024
Police Fails to Intervene with an Islamist Attack Against Jewish Demonstrators On Liberation Day in Italy
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Police Fails to Intervene with an Islamist Attack Against Jewish Demonstrators On Liberation Day in Italy

by Giovanni Giacalone

Jewish demonstrators attacked in central Milan by Arab thugs on Liberation Day, preachers spreading hatred against Israel and Jews. Italy is not doing enough to prevent hatred towards the Jews.

On April 25th, Italy celebrates the national holiday commemorating the victory of the Italian resistance movement against Nazi Germany and the Italian Social Republic, a puppet state of the Nazis and rump state of the fascists, the culmination of the liberation of Italy from German occupation and of the Italian civil war in the latter phase of World War II.

Among the forces that contributed to the liberation of Italy was the Jewish Infantry Brigade Group, also known as the Jewish Brigade or “Brigata Ebraica” in Italian language.

The Brigade was a military formation of the British Army, formed by Yishuv Jews from Mandatory Palestine and commanded by Anglo-Jewish officers. It served in the latter stages of the Italian Campaign and was disbanded in 1946.

Every year, a delegation of Jews representing the Jewish Brigade takes part in the April 25th celebrations and it is an important presence at the event.

However, this year, the delegation in Milan was subjected to incredible violence when a group of North African thugs wearing kefyas and Palestinian flags attacked the Jewish Brigade with punches, kicks, sticks and at least one person was slashed with a blade. Many of the Jewish demonstrators were elderly people, some of them carrying a banner that was also slashed with a knife by one of the attackers. One of the thugs repeatedly tried to stick a City Angel in the face with the flag pole.

A Jewish Brigade demonstrator slashed by one of the thugs

 

The attack took place in the very central Piazza Duomo (Duomo Square), right between a line of parked police vans and the front entrance of Mc Donald’s restaurant, just about 150 meters from the entrance of the Duomo Cathedral.

Video 1: Main video of the violent attack. You can see the woman banging on the police van.

This photo shows how close to the police vans the Jewish Brigade was attacked

 

Sadly, the attack went on for way too long; minutes and minutes of endless violence, in front of the incredulous and frightened eyes of the demonstrators and bystanders, while the volunteer City Angels tried to keep the thugs away, basically performing the work that the police should have done.

The thugs, who spat at and insulted the Jewish demonstrators, sought physical confrontation in every possible way. One of the most saddening scenes is a woman with the Star of David sign banging her hand against the police van asking for help while her fellow Jews are being assaulted, but nobody is seen coming out of the van.

Some of the Facebook comments of those who witnessed the fact are quite clear:

The police van was there, but nobody came out”… And again:

But the police did nothing, and basically it was like if the few police that were present, weren’t even there”.

A security fiasco

Where was the police? Why was the protection of the Brigade “commissioned” to the City Angels, who could do very little but managed to do a lot, putting their own safety at risk?

Why did it take so long for the police to intervene? The attack did not take place in some empty lot in the suburbs; it occurred in the most central and tourist place of Milan. The square had been fully prepared for celebrations and a rally of the opposition parties was taking place there, so why did all this happen?

The thugs were later apprehended by the police, too late, unfortunately. What if the pro-Palestinian thugs had been armed with cleavers and machetes? They would have had plenty of time to perpetrate a massacre.

Considering the strong tensions due to the war in Gaza, and the rampant antisemitism, the potential aggressions against Jews present at the celebrations were very predictable, and that is exactly what happened, despite Duomo Square being heavily presided over by the police.

It’s pointless to be pleased about the effectiveness of the surveillance cameras in helping to identify the attackers when the attack already took place because it should have been prevented.

How come, at a time when anti-Semitism is at its highest levels, authorities decided to have the Jewish Brigade escorted by the City Angels? That is simply not their duty.

Video 2: This video show the City Angels trying to keep the thugs away

No misunderstanding here! They did an amazing job and, if it weren’t for them, things would have turned out way worse. They put their lives at risk to save the situation, to save lives. However, the Jewish Brigade should have been escorted by the anti-riot police.

Additionally, as reported by several Italian media outlets, several of the attackers were already known for violent acts and robberies, they were wearing symbols of militancy (Palestinian flags and keffiyehs), what were they doing there? Was it really that difficult to identify them and preventively remove them from the area?

It had never happened in the history of Italy that a delegation of the Jewish Brigade was attacked and in such a brutal manner. A cowardly anti-Semitic attack in front of an inadequate police presence and  represents a very dangerous precedent. These are images that we would have never wanted to comment on.

Is it a matter of double standards? The anti-Hamas sign case

It is worth recalling that Milan’s plainclothes police were instead very quick in rushing, without invitation, into the apartment of 25-year-old Italian citizen Mihael Melnic, who had exposed a hand-written cardboard sign saying “Free Gaza from Hamas”.

As explained by Mr. Melnic himself to The Times of Israel a few days after the fact:

I was showing the sign and after about 5 minutes I heard the door being violently hit, it sounded like kicks or punches, I don’t know. Then they tried to open the handle. I immediately thought they were protesters who wanted to attack me and I called the police. However, it emerged that it was the plainclothes police who were trying to enter. At that point, I opened the door and the police immediately entered, without invitation. We had a conversation of about 15 minutes which ended in a cordial manner. In any case, I won’t deny that the initial approach was rather aggressive and intimidating. The agents tried to take away the anti-Hamas sign from me, but I didn’t give it to them because it belonged to me. They also identified me and asked me a lot of questions. We debated the legality of my gesture, I said that my gesture was within the limits of the freedoms we have.

Mihael Melnic’s sign that Milan’s plainclothes police tried to seize inside his apartment

 

The fact occurred on January 27th 2024, the Holocaust Memorial Day, at a pro-Palestinian unauthorized demonstration held in Milan’s Piazzale Loreto, precisely via Padova, a street with a high presence of Muslims.

Among the demonstrators, were well-known faces of Palestinian activists in Italy, including Mohammed Hannoun, the president of the Association of Palestinians in Italy who, among other things, glorified Hamas’s bombmaker Yahya Ayyash and al-Qassam commander Saleh al-Arouri on his Facebook account. Melnic, before receiving the visit of the plainclothes police, was insulted and threatened by the demonstrators.

The imams who are not being prevented from spreading hatred

Milan, and Italy in general, seem to have a problem with anti-Israel preachers not being prevented from spreading hatred, antisemitism and terrorist propaganda.

Two resounding cases are the ones involving Mohammad Hannoun, leader of the Association of Palestinians in Italy (as well as imam at the Islamic Center of Genoa), and Pakistani citizen Zulfiqar Khan, imam at the Iqraa Islamic Center in Bologna.

Hannoun, among other things, on October 10th 2023, just three days after the horrendous massacre in southern Israel, stated that the attack perpetrated by Hamas was “self-defense”. Such claims were made in an interview with the Italian State TV Rai3.

On January 4th, 2024, Hannoun glorified Yahya Ayyash, Hamas’ notorious bombmaker, sadly known for both developing Hamas’s use of suicide bombings and building many of the explosives used in attacks:

On this day, the cowardly assassination took place; Mercy to the martyrs; The legendary engineer martyr, who was a turning point in the history of the Palestinian resistance; Yahya Ayyash Abu Al-Baraa. Palestine today is in dire need of your patriotic spirit and vengeance for the spirit of the martyr Sheikh Saleh Abu Muhammad. Martyrs do not die”.

The second-last line of Hannoun’s post is dedicated to Saleh al-Arouri, a senior Hamas leader in Lebanon who died in a drone strike on January 2nd, 2024.

Hannoun’s post glorifying Ayyash

 

On Saturday, March 30th 2024, during a pro-Palestinian demonstration outside Milan’s Central Station. Hannoun, microphone in hand, concluded his speech by saying:

I conclude, with applause to the Jordanian people, to the rebels in Jordan who forced the system to close the Israeli embassy. We call on all Arab people to do the same, to drive out all Israeli embassies, close them and turn them into centers for resistance. An applause for the resistance of Yemen, an applause for the resistance of Lebanon, of Iraq...”

 

Regarding Zulfiqar Khan, his hateful statements and speeches have been going on for a very long time. For instance, on May 19th in Bologna’s “Piazza Maggiore” he held a speech and claimed that “the Jews are cruel and use intelligence to harm others”.

Zulfiqar Khan’s speech in Bologna’s center in 2021

 

On Saturday, February 24th, Milan hosted an anti-Israel demonstration that had its final destination in the very central Piazza Castello.

The demonstration was organized with the help of the Marxist labor union “Si Cobas”, as indicated on its webpage.

On that occasion, Khan stated that

nobody can prove that Israelis are Semites, because Semites are the children of Sem, son of Noah, and they were Palestinians. Those who come from Poland are not Semites. The antisemite is Netanyahu who is committing genocide in Palestine…Netanyahu’s mother tongue is not Hebrew. He came from abroad to kick out the Palestinians. They are not Jews, they are not real Jews. Why did Netanyahu say that he is a descendant of Joseph? He didn’t say Yaacov? Because they hate Yaacov”.

Khan is already known for having stated that “The Israelites are terrorists and deceivers according to the Bible” and for glorifying “mujahideen and martyrs”.

On April 12th, 2024, from the pulpit of his mosque, Khan stated: “That punishment we are waiting for comes from Allah, with the hands of Hamas and Hezbollah…” And after accusing Netanyahu of being a “murderer, extremist rabbi” he said: “If anyone says to me “you are an Islamic extremist “I say yes because extremism means following the fundamentals…“.

 

In conclusion

The facts discussed above are not connected but, taken together, they outline a worrying general situation and a double standard in dealing with extremism and terrorism against Israel and the Jews in Milan, and in Italy in general.

The security fiasco exposed in the first part of the article is a clear example of what was not done, not only to preventively guarantee the safety of the Jewish demonstrators but also regarding the late police intervention in response to the aggression perpetrated by the pro-Palestinian thugs.

In addition, to understand the gravity of the situation it is necessary to make a simple comparison and imagine that, what was said and what happened above, was about terrorist organizations such as ISIS, al-Qaeda. Would the consequences have been different?

However, Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization in the EU, just like al-Qaeda and ISIS, it is therefore unclear why no measures were taken, unlike previous cases involving people spreading propaganda and incitement for the latter. The impression is that, since the cases involve the so-called “Palestinian cause”, more tolerance is being applied.

The case regarding the “Free Gaza from Hamas” sign is another worrying and inexplicable fact, firstly because it was a sign against a terrorist organization (recognized as such by the EU) displayed from within private property; this gesture does not break any law and, as a matter of fact, it’s a manifestation of free thought backed by the Italian Constitution.

One thing seems to be clear, something in Italy is not going in the right direction security-wise. Sympathizers and supporters of Hamas must be dealt with just like it is done with pro-Isis and pro-al Qaeda; double standards cannot and should not be tolerated. If hatred against the Jews is being spread from Islamic centers and public squares, then, it must be stopped. There is no more place for ambiguity.

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