A dinner in Turin in honor of ex-Soviet refusenik Ida Nudel became the scene of a clash between supporters of Israel and Turin’s deputy mayor.
Nudel, who is in Turin to promote the Italian edition of her autobiography, was awarded honorary citizenship of the city in a ceremony July 15.
At the dinner following the ceremony, five members of the Italy-Israel Association stood up and walked out, claiming they could not sit at the same meal with deputy mayor Marziano Marzano, a socialist.
The group has long maintained that Marzano is anti-Israel, but there also appeared to be a strong dose of local politics surrounding the incident.
“We will not eat with any enemy of Israel, which is what Marzano has demonstrated himself to be,” said Angelo Pezzana, president of the association, who is also a Turin city council member from a party opposing Marzano’s.
“Out of respect and in an evening in which the guest is a person who fought for 17 years, held in Siberian camps, in criminal mental hospitals, to defend the rights of Jewish compatriots, this person (Marzano) cannot be at the same table. Either he goes or we do,” Pezzana said.
According to the Turin newspaper La Stampa, Marzano left the room, but was convinced to return by Mayor Giovanna Cattaneo “out of respect for the guests.”
Marzano refused to comment, saying only that he was “bitter” over the incident.