Israelis applauded Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi for his stirring expressions of support for Israel and the Italian-Israeli relationship during his three-day visit to the Jewish state.
"The security of Israel is the security of Europe," said Renzi at a press conference in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "We stand on the side of a people who fight for the ideals of democracy and prosperity," he said. "There is not a right for Israel to exist. There is a duty for Israel to exist."
On rising anti-Semitism around the world, Renzi was clear in stating that "we are absolutely committed to continue the fight against anti-Semitism because it is really an enemy of peace and a key for terror."
Addressing the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, Renzi was clear that Israel's existence is beyond question. "Recognizing Israel means recognizing reality," said Renzi. "The existence of the State of Israel is not a gesture of the international community after the Holocaust, but a fact that predates any international agreement by hundreds of years."
The Italian premier also criticized the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement: "Whoever boycotts Israel does not realize that he is boycotting himself, betraying the future. Italy will always stand at the forefront of cooperation, never of boycott. It is stupid and futile."
"Prime Minister Renzi's clear-eyed, principled remarks, at this time, are a powerful reaffirmation of Italian-Israeli relations and a model for other nations," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
"When it comes to Israel, there simply cannot be any equivocating. That's a key message conveyed by Italy's Prime Minister," he said.