Italian literature lesson for Jews who are not relevant anymore

Rabbi Dr Andrea Zanardo, PhD
3 min readOct 12, 2020


I was hanging out in Pisa, yesterday [18 August 2020], and I happened to pass near to the place notorious for one of the most gruesome episodes of Medieval Italian history (a big record in itself).

In 1289, after his faction lost power, basically for incompetence, Count Ugolino Della Gherardesca was attracted into a tower and locked into it, together with his children. They all died of starvation. The expression: locking someone in and throwing the key into the river comes probably from this episode.

Count Ugolino is famously portrayed by Dante in the Inferno: “La bocca sollevò dal fiero pasto…”. Ugolino and his enemy, Archbishop Ruggieri, are condemned to each other alive perpetually.By telling this story Dante stigmatises factionalisms and betrayals and concludes with a famous invective against Pisa: “Ahi, Pisa, vituperio delle genti!”.

For that invective, the citizens of Pisa earned in perpetuity the reputation of being not trustable, by definition: a popular joke says that Pisani built a tower, it almost fell, and they are even proud of it!

Given what happened over the last week(s) I thought to the so-called peace industry, that for decades have prospered selling the “first end the Occupation, then can make peace with Arab Countries” tale, which has just been proven to be wrong. Along with “Israel cannot bear the status quo for another generation” and similar BS upon which entire careers have been built.

Think of J-Street, Yachad, the people who gravitate around Shimon Peres Foundation… They brought themselves into a political space which is a very narrow cell constrained by the post-Zionist rhetoric “-A State for all citizens! End of the Zionist project”, which they thought they have to embrace -not to loose academic and journalistic credentials- but could not, otherwise they would have not been considered inside the Zionist tent.

Bibi, bless him, has locked them up inside the cell and threw the key into the river. Jordan river comes indeed to mind…

The people who prospered because of the peace industry now cannot get out from their cell. They will starve for attention and will be desperate without the spotlight they desperately need. And the horror part, which Dante’s words have impressed in the mind of everyone who speaks Italian, is this: They will eat their children.

IfNotNow, Naamod, Jewish Voices for Peace, JewDas: all these groups born of the Left side of the pro-peace industry, quite often eager to do the dirty part of the job, like ni-platforming, harassing and bullying Zionists — yes,I speak from experience.- so that the media could see In the Diaspora what the peace industry wanted them to see (and which was either a self-fulfilling prophecy or am outward lie): the alleged disaffection of the support for the so-called peace process.

Those fringe groups will disappear from the scene. There won’t be anyone, anymore, to tell to the media the story that they represent anything apart from few dozens of disaffected individual, two-thirds of which are on their way out from the Jewish life (intermarriage, assimilation etc), hence historically irrelevant.

The UAE-Israel agreement, that, is relevant.

JewDas and Naamod: you will be eaten by those same people who have made you believe you were representative of a general trend, of something greater, beyond the screen of the laptop in your bedroom.

Big news: you’re not.



Rabbi Dr Andrea Zanardo, PhD

I’m the first Rabbi ever to be called “a gangster”. Also, I am a Zionist.