Arrigoni was an International Solidarity Movement activist, full of hatred for Israel, so much so that he was unable to feel sympathy for Gilad Shalit, imprisoned alone in a bunker in Gaza since June 2006 without Red Cross visits or communication with his family. Arrigoni created this album of cartoons, and he had the word ‘resistance’ in Arabic tattooed on his right arm. His death generated outrage in the ranks of Hamas (as well as a very clumsily photoshopped picture of Arrigoni with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh).
He was probably kidnapped by a group called “tawhid wal jihad” (monotheism and holy war), which demanded the release of its leader, who was in a Hamas jail. But long before the deadline expired, Arrigoni was found dead, hanged or strangled. Their motives aren’t clear, but it’s been suggested that the ‘monotheists’ wanted to establish their bona fides as uncompromising fighters against ‘Western corruption’.
So what about his girlfriend? It would be surprising if Claudia Milani had a different point of view than Arrigoni, and apparently she didn’t. Here is a photo from a Facebook page created by Arrigoni (in Italian) and a comment posted by Milani (h/t: Harry’s Place):
Sì, è eccessivo.
Ma è la riprova, se mai ce ne fosse bisogno, se mai la Storia non fosse riuscita ad insegnarci alcunché e noi da Lei nulla siamo stati in grado di imparare, del fatto che l’apartheid generi odio, l’odio rabbia, la rabbia il …torpore della ragione.
Inaspettatamente ingenuo, Israele, e con esso l’Occidente tutto, se ha creduto che il genocidio del popolo palestinese potesse restare impunito, stanca di ripeterlo.
Ancora grazie a te, Vik, che mai ti unisci al nostro coro e mentre noi gridiamo che questo mondo ci ripugna, stai in prima linea nel tentativo di rivoltarlo.
Here is a translation (thanks to a reader it’s much better than the Google version). Her position is clear:
Yes, it is excessive.
But it is proof if ever proof were needed, if ever history was not able to teach us anything, and if we haven’t been able to learn from it, that apartheid engenders hatred, hatred rage, and rage the slumber of reason.
Surprisingly naive, Israel and with her all the West has believed that the genocide of the Palestinian people would go unpunished, one gets tired of repeating it.
Again, thank you, Vik [Arrigoni], who never joined our choir while we cried that this world is repugnant to us, you were at the forefront in trying to overturn it.
Why do I care that the girlfriend of this murdered supporter of terrorists shares his offensively false beliefs?
Because she works for Amnesty International, which is supposed to be concerned with everyone’s human rights. I submit that taking the insane position that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian Arabs disqualifies her as having even a semblance of the impartiality that we must demand from this organization.
By the way, one of the first bloggers to notice this connection was Elder of Ziyon, who was taken to task by Amnesty for ‘targeting’ the bereaved woman. It also denied any anti-Israel bias. Here is part of his response:
In fact, Amnesty itself has no problem partnering with organizations that are explicitly dedicated to Israel’s destruction. If Amnesty accepts ab initio that the destruction of the Jewish state is a legitimate position, it is difficult to accept their argument that they are not biased against Israel.
It’s an unfortunate fact that the human rights industry devotes far more of its resources to the alleged violation of the rights of Palestinian Arabs, than to any other national or ethnic group — including those that actually are targets of genocide. Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, many lesser NGOs and the UN human rights establishment itself, seem to exist primarily to attack Israel.
Another example is that of Hina Jilani, the Pakistani feminist lawyer, a co-author of the libelous Goldstone Report which accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza. After the principal author, Judge Richard Goldstone, recanted the most vicious accusation, that Israel deliberately intended to harm the civilian population, Jilani (with the other two co-authors) reiterated her support for the report’s conclusions.
Phyllis Chesler, an American Jewish and feminist activist, wrote an open letter to Jilani, asking how it was possible that they could both share a concern for oppressed women, while Jilani could not see the blatant bias against Israel and antisemitism that suffused the UN and the human rights NGOs. Chesler wrote,
I once worked at the United Nations. In my opinion, it is completely ineffective save in two areas: It has legalized Jew-hatred with a vengeance and it has provided a High Life for many Third World/developing world professionals who wish to be well paid to live in the West and yet also wish to retain or achieve reputations as champions of justice. Therefore, I understand the price you would have to pay if you broke with UN-Think or with Third World Think which is so intensely anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Israel—the convenient scapegoats for all the crimes and ills of the Arab and Muslim world.
Chesler’s letter is worth reading in its entirety. Will she get a meaningful answer? I doubt it.
Updated [24 April 1644 PDT]: A reader who reads Italian has improved the translation greatly from the Google version.