In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, former Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said he would recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital if he becomes prime minister. “Yes, absolutely”, Salvini said, answering a reporter’s question. On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump reversed decades of foreign policy and announced that Washington would recognise the ancient city as the capital of Israel and move its embassy to Jerusalem. The US move was heavily criticised worldwide.
The fierce debate over Jerusalem's status was reignited as President Trump said that the whole city belongs to Israel, while other countries maintain that the city must be divided between the Israelis and Palestinians. Following Trump’s decision, Guatemala announced that it would move its embassy to the city of Jerusalem.
European Anti-Semitism and Revenge of the Left
Salvini, a prominent Eurosceptic and the leader of Italy’s League party, said that left-wing European parties were hypocritical in their stance towards Israel and said that the activity of the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) should be banned in the European Union. The non-profit activist organisation promotes various forms of boycotts against Israel until the country meets its obligations under international law – ending what it calls the occupation of Palestinian lands and dismantling the West Bank barrier.
Salvini, who served as deputy prime minister and interior minister from 1 June 2018 till 5 September 2019, chastised the left-wing parties, saying that they seek revenge in courts when they lose elections, as he compared himself to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump, who are facing a corruption trial and impeachment respectively.
Salvini himself could face trial if a parliamentary meeting on 20 January rules that he should be stripped of his immunity and face trial over his decision to prevent a ship with refugees from docking in an Italian port and hence causing illegal detention. The right-wing politician revealed that he was proud of his anti-immigrant stance and said that he was saving his country.
"I have defended my country's borders, security and dignity, and I am proud of it", says Slavini in a first exclusive interview with Israeli media outlets. "Unfortunately, when the left, in the US like Israel and Italy, loses elections, it seeks revenge in the courts. But they will not succeed”, Salvini said in an interview with the right-wing newspaper Israel Hayom.
Salvini blamed the surge of anti-Semitism in Europe on the rise of Islamic extremism and said that it was being institutionalised by left-wing parties.