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Palestinian Action in Italy through the 1970s: Adapting the Palestinian Cause to the Local Political Tradition
This study analyzes the action of the Palestinian movements in Italy and their relationships with Italian parties during the late 1960s until the beginning of the 1980s. It focuses on the political vision, discourse and grassroots activities as they were introduced and implemented by Palestinian actors in the Italian political scenes, building cooperation and solidarities that have shaped the Italian approach to the Palestinian cause in the Cold War period. Available studies on Italian-Palestinian relations have failed to take into account the role of the Palestinian organizations in shaping Italian politics towards the Arab region as they did not use materials produced by these groups. This led to the marginalization of the Palestinian as a political actor in the Italian scene, depicting the Palestinians as a subaltern subject to the events in which they had an active role. Thus, through the study of both Italian and Arabic sources produced by Palestinian movements, this essay aims to grasp how Palestinian movements understood and exploited the Italian political and cultural context for their own benefit, adapting their message to Italian society to make it as effective as possible. The presence of the strongest Western communist party and a highly structured student and labor movement in search of new revolutionary symbols allowed the Palestinian cause to find fertile ground to influence public opinion in the country. Alliances and synergies were thus formed between the various Palestinian parties and their Italian counterparts. The cooperation with Italian parties was decisive in facilitating the political action of Palestinians (framed mainly by the General Union of Palestinian Students) and in spreading their anti-colonial discourse. Here, Palestinian movements went to great lengths to use symbolic references widely found in the Italian political lexicon, bringing the cause closer to the Italian context. Efforts were made to highlight the socialist dimension of the Palestinian revolution so that it could be made a point of reference for all world revolutionary movements. Similarly, Palestinians were invested in highlighting the direct link between the Italian experience of resistance to Nazi-fascism and Palestinian resistance to Zionism, which presented and insisted on drawing analogies between Zionism and fascism. This led to a critical understanding of the Zionist ideology among Italian masses and favored the emergence of a strong solidarity movement at the grassroots level.
International Relations/Affairs
Political Science
Geographic Area
Mediterranean Countries
Sub Area