What would have happened if the city council of Jerusalem had conferred the honorary citizenship on Italy's Mafia leader, Totò Riina, calling him a "political prisoner"? What would have happened if the city council of Tel Aviv had named a street after Giovanni Brusca, the Mafia butcher who kidnapped and tortured the 11-year-old son of another mafioso who had betrayed him, and then dissolved the boy's body in acid? The Italian government would have vehemently protested. With Palestinian terrorists, however, there is another standard, as if in the eyes of many of Italy's city councils, terror against Israeli Jews is actually justified.
In the pro-Palestinian credentials of the mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, the only item missing was giving honorary citizenship to a Palestinian terrorist. Bilal Kayed is anything but a "man of peace." He is a dangerous Palestinian terrorist who spent 14 years in Israeli prisons for two shooting attacks, and for planning and attempting the (unsuccessful) kidnapping of a soldier. Kayed is now a new honorary citizen of Naples.
"[It is] a decision that harms the image of Naples", protested the newly elected president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, Noemi Di Segni. Meanwhile, Naples city council has refused to grant honorary citizenship to the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.
It is not the first time that Mayor De Magistris embraces anti-Israel militancy. The city of Naples provided a municipal room to show a documentary called, "Israel, The Cancer," which shamefully compares Israeli soldiers to Nazis. Israel's Ambassador to Italy, Naor Gilon, protested against the screening and noted 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."
De Magistris also received reciprocal "Palestinian citizenship" from the hands of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the mayor of Naples returned the favor by granting honorary citizenship to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. De Magistris also gave his support to the "Freedom Flotilla," a convoy of ships that tried to bring weapons to the Hamas regime in Gaza. Eleonora De Majo, a candidate on De Magistris' political list, also called the Israelis "pigs."
De Magistris is not the only Italian mayor who apparently prizes Palestinian terrorism. Palermo's mayor, Leoluca Orlando, awarded honorary citizenship to Marwan Barghouti, the Palestinian terrorist who orchestrated attacks that killed several people and who is currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison.
Many of Europe's streets are plastered with the names of the Palestinian terrorists. The French town of Valenton named a street for Marwan Barghouti; and a few days after a priest was slaughtered this summer in France, a group of French cities planned to honor Barghouti. Towns such as Pierrefitte-sur-Seine have already awarded him honorary citizenship, and a photograph of the Palestinian terror leader was hung on the front of its city hall.
Barghouti, who masterminded the 2002 attack at the Seafood Market in Tel Aviv and a massacre in Hadera which killed six Israelis, is a man Europe's television stations love to show handcuffed with his arms raised. He is Europe's idol, a hero, an icon. The Guardian even published an op-ed piece by Barghouti, in which he expresses support for the "Third Intifada" of stabbing- and shooting-attacks and car-rammings.
The Western press loves Barghouti and even tries to compare him to Nelson Mandela, in articles such as "The Question of Barghouti: Is He a Mandela or an Arafat?" (Time); "A Mideast Mandela" (Newsweek) and "A Nelson Mandela for the Palestinians" (New York Times).
Twenty French cities, such as Vitry-sur-Seine, La Verrière and Montataire, have granted honorary citizenship to this terrorist and plastered their streets with his disgraceful name. The Jeu de Paume National Gallery in Paris hosted an exhibition calling Palestinian suicide bombers "martyrs." The exhibit "Death", by photographer Ahlam Shibli, featured Palestinian suicide bombers with captions that promote the jihadist agenda of glorifying their deaths.
Bezons, an urban conglomerate just 10 kilometers from Paris, was also the first French town officially to include among its honorary citizenship the Palestinian terrorist, Majdi Rimawi, who planned and carried out the assassination of Israel's Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi in 2001. Rimawi, who sits in an Israeli prison, was immortalized in a plaque prepared by the city of Bezons in 2013, which labels the terrorist as a "political prisoner."
The mayor of Bezons, Dominique Lesparre, held a public speech in which he called Rimawi a "victim." In the official document issued by Bezons City Hall, entitled "Prisonnier et citoyen d'honneur," the fact that Rimawi is a murderer was not even mentioned.
It is such a shame and an irony that terrorists who have killed and ordered the killing of unarmed and innocent Jews, are now being celebrated as Europe's apostles of peace. They are now even the new media darlings.
Can you imagine Italian or French mayors and members of Parliament naming a street after Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who murdered at least 84 people in Nice on July 14? Or honoring the brothers Salah and Brahim Abdesalem for their attack at the Bataclan Theater in Paris on November 13, 2015, in which 89 people were murdered? Or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was linked to nearly every al-Qaeda attack between 1993 and 2003?
Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.