Pro-Palestinian activist Samantha Comizzoli is known in Italy for her daily attacks on Israel’s policy in the West Bank and Gaza on her Facebook page and blog, but the biggest buzz from her direction has been created by a recent documentary she produced, which refers to Israel as the cancer of the Middle East and compares its soldiers to the Nazis.
The existence of the film, “Israele, Il Cancro” (“Israel, the Cancer”), has only been revealed now, months after was screened in different forums in Italy.
Trailer of ‘Israele, Il Cancro’
The film presents testimonies of Palestinian residents telling Comizzoli’s camera about the injustices they have allegedly been subject to by IDF soldiers.
The film was not commercially distributed in Italy. It has been presented since April in different small forums, mainly political forums affiliated with the pro-Palestinian movement in the city. A screening at the municipal museum in the city of Recanati about two weeks ago brought it to the attention of the public and the Israeli Embassy in Rome.
According to a report published several days after the screening in a number of media outlets in Italy, the film “Israele, Il Cancro” was shown in Museo Villa Colloredo Mels in Recanati, which is sponsored by the municipality.
An invitation to the film’s screening in Tuscany in July
The screening was organized by Comizzoli, who delivered a fiery speech against Israel, accused the Jewish state of adopting a policy reminiscent of the Nazi occupation, and presented testimonies from the film she had shot last year around Operation Protective Edge as proof of her claims.
Comizzoli, it should be noted, was arrested and deported from Israel several months ago for illegal residence and use of fake Palestinian identification documents.
The film’s screening in an institution supported by the Recanati Municipality infuriated several Italian public figures, residents and members of the Jewish community, who protested the fact that Mayor Francesco Fiordomo supported – at least indirectly – a film “reeking of anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel.”
“The screening itself isn’t that troubling,” a magazine published by Milan’s Jewish community wrote. “Hatred campaigns are nothing new, unfortunately – in Italy, in Europe and in general. The strange thing is that the screening and Comizzoli’s speech were held in an auditorium run by the Recanati Municipality and with the support of Mayor Fiordomo.”
Image from the film ‘Israele, Il Cancro’
The Jewish community’s protest was joined by several Italian public figures, including writer and poet Umberto Piersanti, who said in a radio interview: “A serious regime can’t sponsor an anti-Israel film with a horrible name like ‘Israel, the Cancer.’
“As far as I know, there were no protests in these places against the Islamic State and the Islamic fundamentalism of which Palestinian organization Hamas is an integral part,” he said. “Using the term ‘Nazi’ against people who suffered the most brutal persecution in history by the Nazis themselves is a sign of anti-Semitic evil.”
Israeli Ambassador to Italy Naor Gilon issued a public protest against the film’s screening, noting that “the film’s title, ‘Israel, the Cancer,’ is reminiscent of dark eras in the Italian and European history, in which Jews were defined as a disease.”
According to Gilon, Recanati Mayor Fiordomo telephoned him on Wednesday and offered his apology, stressing that the municipality did not sponsor the event but only provided a room for the screening.
“We hope that as a result of this move, other mayors will think twice before allowing such events to be held in their areas,” Ambassador Gilon said.