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'Stop Genocide' appeal at Sanremo sparks furore

'Stop Genocide' appeal at Sanremo sparks furore

Israeli ambassador says festival used to spread hate

ROME, 11 February 2024, 17:23

ANSA English Desk




The Sanremo Song Festival was at the centre of a furore on Sunday when Israel's Ambassador to Italy Alon Bar said it had been used to spread hate after the singer Ghali made an appeal to "Stop Genocide" on the final night of the event on Saturday.
    "I am outraged that the stage of the Sanremo Festival was exploited to spread hatred and provocation in a careless, irresponsible way," Bar said via Twitter.
    "In the October 7 massacre, among the 1,200 victims were over 360 young people slaughtered and raped during the Nova Music Festival.
    "Another 40 of them were kidnapped and are still in the hands of the terrorists.
    "The Sanremo Festival could have expressed solidarity with them.
    "It is a pity that this did not happen".
    Noemi Di Segni, the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, told ANSA she was disappointed that there had been no "appeal for the release of the hostages in the hands of Hamas" and complained at "the use of terms that once again offend the history of our country and of all of Europe.
    "From now until the Eurovision Song Contest I appeal for the 136 hostages to be remembered every day," she continued.
    "They too have the right to their music and to return to their homes".
    When asked about Bar's comments on Sunday, Ghali, who has Tunisian roots, replied: "I've always talked about these issues since I was a kid, not since October 7." Mohammad Hannoun, the president of the Palestinian Association of Italy, thanked the singer for "his clear words against the extermination".
    "We applaud Ghali for his stand in favour of the Palestinians," Hannoun said.
    Roberto Sergio, the CEO of State broadcaster Rai which broadcasts the festival, expressed "heartfelt solidarity with the people of Israel and the Jewish community.
    "Every day our news and programmes recount the tragedy of the hostages in the hands of Hamas and they and will continue to do so, as well as remembering the massacre of children, women and men on 7 October," Sergio continued.


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