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Fiamma Nirenstein (born 18 December 1945 in Florence) is an Italian-Israeli journalist, author and politician. In 2008 she was elected to the Italian Parliament for Silvio Berlusconi's The People of Freedom party and she served as Vice President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies for the length of the legislature, ending in March 2013. On 26 May 2013 she emigrated to Israel (made Aliyah). In 2015, Nirenstein was considered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a potential ambassador to Italy, however, she subsequently withdrew from consideration for personal reasons. She currently works at the Israeli-based think-tank the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA).
She lives now in Jerusalem with frequent visits to Italy.
- 1 Professional career
- 2 Political career
- 3 Select Quotes
- 4 Books by Fiamma Nirenstein
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Nirenstein is an expert of the Middle East conflicts, terrorism, anti-Semitism, human rights and her activities deals with the great changes that are taking place within the Middle East democratization process. She became a specialist in these fields after having travelled all over the world as a specialist in foreign affairs.
The pivotal focus and underlying idea that runs through all Fiamma Nirenstein's work is the fight against totalitarianism and terrorism as connected to antisemitism and hate for Israel.
Nirenstein is a leading columnist for the conservative Italian daily "Il Giornale", which belongs to Silvio Berlusconi's media empire since 1977. From 1991 to 2006, she has been correspondent from Israel for the centrist "La Stampa" daily and the Berlusconi-owned "Panorama" weekly.
She is the author of over ten books in Italian and two in English. In Italy, Nirenstein has introduced and prefaced Bernard Lewis, Natan Sharansky and Ruthie Blum. She has been granted over twenty awards for her literary and journalistic activity.
Nirenstein started her career in 1977 and has been a columnist and correspondent for all major Italian magazines (Panorama; l'Espresso; Epoca). Nirenstein contributed to The New York Sun, to the Commentary magazine and has written for the Moment magazine.
Her writing are collected in four American anthologies, her work as a journalist is at length quoted in "Bias" by Bernard Goldberg (Regency Publishing, 2002, pp. 200–206) as an example of good journalism in explaining the terrorist phenomenon. The Wall Street Journal one day after 9-11 quoted at length her article on Commentary Magazine to explain the disaster.
Fiamma Nirenstein has produced many documentaries for the Italian TV, the last by the title of "Settlers", about the disengagement seen through the lives of the people involved in it. She is daily interviewed by the Italian TV and radio and on 2006 she conceived and conducted a program on foreign affairs, "Ore diciotto/Mondo", on channel RAI 2. She is weekly interviewed on Radio Radicale, for a program named "Mediorientale".
Her experience of journalism includes an enormous group on interviewed leaders, from Rajiv Gandhi to Deng Xiaoping, from the protagonists of the anti-communist regimes revolutions of the '80s to all the most important Israeli and Palestinian figures, from Arafat to Sharon to Netanyahu.
Work at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA)
Fiamma Nirenstein began a working relationship with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, an Israeli-based think-tank, in the late-2000s. Nirenstein's research interests largely focus on European-Israeli relations, anti-Semitism, and sociological studies of terrorism. Nirenstein served both as an editor and contributor for her most recent publication, Lessons from Israel's Response to Terrorism. Within the publication, Nirenstein authored an article entitled "Resilience, the Israeli People's Weapon against Terror". In the essay, Nirenstein argues that Israelis have a unique culture built upon resilience which makes the country particularly strong in responding to terrorism.
In 2016, Nirenstein participated in an interview at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on the subject of European Anti-Semitism. Among the subjects discussed include the history of anti-Semitism in Europe and its contemporary manifestations, particularly in what Nirenstein terms "Israelphobia".
One of her seminal works produced while at the Israeli think-tank was Israel is Us: A Journalist's Odyssey in Understanding the Middle East. According to the organization's website, Nirenstein confesses the publication's premise is 'very simple': "Israel, contrary to commonly accepted propaganda, is a positive model, a case study for anyone who finds himself living in a democratic society that must eventually confront a defensive war- one that encompasses the entire universe of Western democracy today.”
Nirenstein continues to work at the think-tank.
Nirenstein's writings have also appeared, among other websites, on the Times of Israel and the Gatestone Institute. Since 2007, she has also maintained her own personal website on which she publishes material in English and Italian.
In Israel (since 2013)
In August 2015, Nirenstein has been designated to become Israel's ambassador to Italy, an appointment she has later dropped due to personal reasons.
On the April 2008 national elections, Nirenstein was elected Member of the Italian Parliament and she served as Vice President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies for the entire XVIth legislature, ending in March 2013. She was also a member of the Italian delegation to the Council of Europe, where she represented Italy in the Network for the fight against violence on children. Nirenstein also established and chaired the Committee for the Inquiry into Antisemitism of the Italian Parliament. During her parliamentary activity, she has been working intensively at a great number of laws, resolutions, interrogations in many fields, with a particular focus on Israel, human rights, international controversies, democratization in the Middle East, awareness on the Iranian nuclear capabilities.
In 1993 and 1994 Nirenstein directed the Cultural Institute of the Italian Embassy in Tel Aviv.
On June 29, 2011, Nirenstein has been unanimously elected chairperson of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP), an organization that brings together Jewish legislators, parliamentarians and government ministers from around the world.
In 2011, Nirenstein established a center on Foreign Policy, "SUMMIT - for the dialogue between Europe and Middle East, human rights and democracy", with which she organized tens of events and conferences.
Nirenstein is a Selection Committee Member of the Genesis Prize, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and of the Gatestone Institute, as well as a member of the Advisory Board of Ngo-Monitor and a board member of the European Friends of Israel (EFI). She is also one of the six founding members of the steering committee of the Interparliamentary Coalition on Combating Antisemitism (ICCA), and in the Board of the Friends of Israel Initiative, established on 2010 by former Prime Minister of Spain José María Aznar. She is also a Board member of the "Talmud Project", a major initiative, sponsored by the Italian government, to translate the Babylonian Talmud into Italian.
Nirenstein has been dedicating a great effort in voicing for Muslim dissidents. In December 2007 she promoted and organized in Rome the international conference "Fighting for Democracy in the Islamic World", which was the continuation of the great Prague conference on dissidents, promoted by Natan Sharansky, Václav Havel and José María Aznar in June the same year.
Fight against Antisemitism and anti-Zionism
Fiamma Nirenstein has opened in Italy a harsh discussion about antisemitism, anti-Zionism and the left. She has been official speaker in a variety of conferences on antisemitism, among them, the world forum of OCSE in Berlin about antisemitism, the Boston Conference on "antisemitism, the press and Europe" (2004), "Multiculturalism, the left and antisemitism" during the 2006 international symposium of the Vidal Sassoon Center (SICSA) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2014 SICSA international symposium, she introduced the issue of fighting "Israelophobia" to beat contemporary antisemitism.
- On 16 December 2009 Nirenstein, together with the other members of the ICCA steering committee, was awarded by the Israeli Knesset for her commitment in the fight against Antisemitism.
- On April 2011, she was awarded in New York by CAMERA, together with José Maria Aznar and John Bolton, for her activity as "Friend of Israel".
- In June 2011, Nirenstein was included in the Jerusalem Post list of the 50 most influential Jews in the world, headed by Mark Zuckerberg.
"Every Jew in the world is an Israeli even if he's not aware of it. Anyone who doesn't know it is making a big mistake."
Books by Fiamma Nirenstein
- Il Califfo e l'Ayatollah, (2015) Mondadori
- A Gerusalemme (2012) The history of Jerusalem through the eyes of twenty years of journalistic work
- Israele Siamo Noi (2007) On the State of Israel as archetype for a liberal democracy at war with terror. - Translated into English: Israel is us - a personal odyssey to a journalist's understanding of the Middle East, JCPA ed., 2009
- La Sabbia di Gaza (2006) On the Israeli disengagement from Gaza.
- Terror: The New Anti-Semitism and the War Against the West (2005) An English-language selection of various articles.
- Gli Antisemiti Progressisti (2004) A look at the new anti-Semitism.
- Islam, la guerra e la speranza (2003) An interview with Bernard Lewis.
- L'Abbandono, come l'Occidente ha tradito gli ebrei (2002). A book that argues the West has betrayed the Jewish people.
- Un solo Dio, tre verità (2001).(One god, three truths)
- Come le cinque dita di una mano – una famiglia di ebrei da Firenze a Gerusalemme (1998) Written with her family.
- Israele: una pace in guerra (1996)(Israel, at peace in war)
- Il Razzista Democratico (1990).(The Democratic racist)
- Emanuela Poli (1998). "Silvio Berlusconi and the myth of the creative entrepreneur". Modern Italy. 3 (2). doi:10.1080/13532949808454809. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
- "Fiamma Nirenstein | Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs". Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs. Retrieved 2017-07-23.
- "Resilience, the Israeli People's Weapon against Terror | Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs". Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs. Retrieved 2017-07-23.
- TheJerusalemCenter (2016-07-28), Fiamma Nirenstein: European Anti-Semitism, retrieved 2017-07-23
- "Israel Is Us". Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs. Retrieved 2017-07-23.
- Judy Maltz (17 August 2015). "New Diaspora Ministry Initiative Could Open Israel's Gates to Millions of non-Jews With Jewish Links". Haaretz. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- http://www.efi-eu.org[permanent dead link]
- Meron Rapoport The 'settler' in Italy's parliament Haaretz 18 April 2008