Rome (Feb. 8)
— Italian Communists on principle, refrain from signing anti-Zionist petitions because they feel such acts might be interpreted as being anti-Semitic as well as anti-Zionist, two visiting Israelis were told at a meeting at Communist Party headquarters here yesterday. The visitors are Eliezer Granot and Dov Zakin, general secretary and secretary for international affairs, respectively, of Mapam.
They came to Italy in the wake of Mapam’s affiliated Hashomer Hatzari movement’s overwhelming victory in the Italian Zionist Federation elections and used the occasion to make “cordial” contacts with several Italian political parties.
CP’S VIEW OF THE PLO
Granot and Zakin told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency of the “interesting exchange” that took place between them and four top officials of the Communist Party in the course of a two hour meeting. The Communist leaders stated, they said, that while they recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization as a “legitimate” representative of the Palestinian people, they do not consider it the “sole” representative that the PLO claims to be.
Observers here have noted that the Italian Communist Party is not currently promoting the Venice summit declaration the Venice summit declaration on the Middle East made by the European Economic Community (EEC) heads of state last June as a “European alternative” to the “American sponsored” solutions for the Middle East. The Venice declaration called for association of the PLO with the peace process.
NOT OFFICIALLY OPPOSED TO CAMP DAVID
The Italian Communists also said that they never officially opposed the Camp David frame-work although they felt it was nearing the exhaustion of its possibilities, Granot and Zakin reported. They said they told their hosts that Zionism should be considered as one of the movements for national liberation which incorporates many different shades of political opinion.
They suggested that the Italian Communist Party schedule a joint ideological debate on Zionism at its headquarters. While they received no immediate commitment to that project, the Party reportedly seemed open to suggestion.
An Italian Communist delegation is due in Israel this Tuesday to attend the Israeli Communist Party convention. Observers here believe the Italians are interested in meeting non-Communist Israeli political figures as well on their trip.
The Italian Socialist Party sponsored a Mapam conference last Thursday and held a dinner last night to honor Granot and Zakin to which the Israeli Ambassador, Moshe Allon, was invited. The leader of the Italian Socialist Party, Bettino Craxi, in greeting the Mapam leaders, expressed his “warm support” for the Labor Alignment in Israel and its struggle for solutions to their country’s social, political and economic problems.