Muslim, Italian and Zionist?
Another one sees the light and pays the price of having to live in fear...
Muslim, Italian and ZionistRead the whole thing. And don't expect any accolades from Allam's former comrades on the Italian left.
By Saviona Man
It's not every day that a Muslim intellectual puts his own head on the line to defend Israel's right to exist. But that is exactly what Magdi Allam, an Egyptian-born Italian writer and journalist, has been doing for years. He recently published a book whose name alone is enough to endanger his life: "Long Live Israel - From the Ideology of Death to the Civilization of Life: My Story."
Allam defends Israel even though Hamas condemned him to death in 2003, after he denounced the group's terror attacks. Because of this threat, the Italian government has provided him with round-the-clock bodyguards. But Allam is not afraid. He finds it hard to "live an armored life," but he tells Haaretz in an interview, "I'm willing to pay the price in order to continue to be who I am, to write and speak freely." Those who cut out tongues and slit throats will not subdue him, he writes in the book.
Allam was not always a defender of the Jewish state. "'Zionism' was a dirty word for me," he admits in his book. For years he considered Israel an aggressive, racist, colonialist, immoral entity, and he accepted the methods of the Palestinian struggle and its leader Yasser Arafat, "without criticizing the fact that Fatah adopted the path of terror extensively inside and outside Israel." After emigrating from Egypt to Italy in 1972, he even enlisted actively for the Palestinian cause, writing, lecturing and participating in demonstrations by the Italian left: "I also shouted 'Long live Palestine! Long live the Palestinian resistance!'" he writes in the book. "My passion for the Palestinian cause was strong, as was my enthusiasm for Arafat's personality."
In his new book he describes his long road from profound admiration for Arafat and "the prophet of pan-Arabism," Gamal Abdel Nasser, and strong support for the Palestinian cause, to his unreserved support for Israel. "I want to tell you about my slow and tortured path from the ideology of lies, tyranny, hatred, violence and death, to the culture of truth, freedom, love, peace and life, until it ripened into absolute certainly that defending the sanctity of life is more than ever in keeping with defending Israel's right to exist," he writes. At the end of this "slow and tortured path" he reached the conclusion that the Arab countries' refusal to recognize Israel during the 1950s and 1960s hurt the Palestinians, and that Arafat was a tyrant, a megalomaniac, corrupt and corrupting, and the worst disaster to befall them.