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author biography
Magdi Allam, 55, is an Egyptian-born Muslim, Italian journalist and writer, noted for his articles and books on the relations between Western culture and values, and the Islamic world.
Allam serves as Deputy Director of Il Corriere della Sera, one of Italy’s leading newspapers. He is one of the country’s most influential voices in the public discourse about Western relations with Arabic countries. In 2006, Magdi Allam was awarded the Dan David Prize
A staunch Zionist, Allam is the author of “Long Live Israel – From the Ideology of Death to the Civilization of Life: My Story.”

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Audio: Magdi Allam Accepts Mass Media Award
Filed under Muslim Zionism, Social activism, Opinion Editorials, Personalities – on Sunday, August 12, 2007 – By: Allam, Magdi

Magdi Allam, editor at Corriere Della Sera and commentator on Arab and Islamic affairs, was presented with the Mass Media Award on May 4, 2007 at AJC’s 101st Annual Meeting. Here he gives his acceptance speech.
 

Dear President of the American Jewish Committee E. Robert Goodkind, Dear Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee David A. Harris and Mrs. Giulietta Harris, Dear Italian Ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta, Dear Friends.
 
It is a privilege for me to have been invited to take part to this special meeting of the American Jewish Committee and a great honor to be the recipient of this year’s Mass Media Award.
 
My deepest thanks and appreciation go to the American Jewish Committee for choosing me and putting me in the company of past recipients, colleagues to whom goes my deepest respect. I am very grateful to David Harris, who shares my ideas and for putting forward my candidacy and supporting me. I also wish to extend my thanks to Emanuele Ottolenghi, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Transatlantic Institute in Brussels; to Lisa Billig Palmieri, Italian representative of the American Jewish Committee; and to the Associate Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, Shulamit Bahat, for all the efforts they have done to have me here.
 
I consider all this a symbol of friendship and solidarity that will encourage me to go on with more and more determination and to assert the truth, to choose what is right and to realize the interests of men and women of good will who believe in the sacredness of life and in universal freedom.
I am firmly convinced that our main duty today is to assert our ability to cope with the mystification of reality that feeds prejudices and lies. It is sufficient to say that not only the majority of Arabs and Muslims, but also one third of Western public opinion believes that the tragedy of September 11 was a CIA and Mossad conspiracy.
 
We live in a period in which the manifest truth is denied in favor of an ideology that mystifies facts. So, if we cannot distinguish between truth and lie, we shall not be able to choose between good and evil, and in the end we shall not be able to decide to act in the common interest of our societies. By failing to choose, by refraining to take the side of truth, we will ultimately hurt ourselves.
 
On May 15, in Italy, I will launch my new book “Long Live Israel: From the ideology of death to the civilization of life, my story.” It is an autobiographical book in which I explain how after having shared the hatred against Israel during Nasser’s era in the Fifties and Sixties, I have found out that hatred easily comes to include all Jews, then all Christians, then all liberal and secular Muslims, and at the end all Muslims who do not want to submit to Islamic radicals’ will. Hatred towards Israel is at the base of the ideology of violence and death which is tearing to pieces the whole world.
 
Thus, it is on the basis of my experience that I have come to the conclusion that if we want to save everybody’s right to life we shall have to uproot evil, and that process starts with the most vicious of all evils – hatred of Israel. It is for this reason that the right of Israel to exist must be put at the center of this struggle for life and liberty. Israel’s right to exist represents the affirmation of the sanctity of life for all humankind.
 
Standing for Israel’s right to exist means also taking the right side in the divide between civilization and barbarity, between the culture of life and the culture of death, between good and evil. “Long Live Israel” is an hymn to everybody’s life. To support and defend the right of Israel to exist is to support and defend everybody’s right to live.
 
Dear friends, I do admit. I am really worried. The burning conflict between President Bush and the Congress of the United States about the crucial topic of the war on terrorism, the fragility of the Israeli government after the Lebanon war, and the isolation of a brave Pope, Benedict XVI (the sixteenth), are endangering the front of the common war against terrorism and barbarity, while the front of the enemies of the common civilization of life and freedom is getting stronger.
 
In this framework the orientation of the American administration and of the British government, aiming to favor the coming into power of the Muslim Brotherhood on the southern and oriental shores of the Mediterranean, to have them as privileged interlocutors inside the West where they control most of the mosques, sounds like a surrender to the enemy. The Muslim Brotherhood shares the same strategic aims of al Qaeda’s terrorists, that is the constitution of an Islamic caliphate all over in the world, but they use smarter tactics which formally respects the rules of democracy if this is helpful to reach power. We must not be fooled by this apparent respect of democratic rules. Their goal is ultimately democracy’s demise.
 
In this way the West is its own worst enemy. If it allows the growth in Arab and Islamic countries of a strong, aggressive and expansionistic identity, while inside the West grows a weak identity due to the failure of patterns of social living together, such as multiculturalism and assimilationism. The West is, as a matter of fact, favoring its executioner and is preparing its own suicide.
 
But the United States and Great Britain should know more than other countries that even Nazism and Fascism came to power respecting the formal rules of democracy. It looks that seventy years later we have forgotten the lessons of our own past. And it is puzzling that today the United States and Great Britain, the countries that fought against Nazism and Fascism, believe that they can isolate and defy Bin Laden by forming an alliance with the new Islamic Nazis and fascists. Bush and Blair should read again and again the description Sir Winston Churchill made of appeasers who wanted to come into terms with Hitler – “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
 
Dear friends, we have to realize that a war is going on between global Islamic terrorism, which denies our right to live and to be free, and us. On one side there are the puppeteers and the puppets of terrorism, Al Qaeda, ayatollah’s Iran, Assad’s Syria, Hamas and Talebans, while on the other side there are the targets of terrorism, be them aware or not. Those who imagine that we can avoid taking sides, to be either equidistant or ‘equi-near’ – to use an expression recently coined by Italian diplomacy – between executioners and victims, and place Ahmadinejad and Olmert, on the same level of Bin Laden and Bush, are irresponsible moral relativists who legitimate executioners and jeopardize the common civilization of life and freedom.
 
Unfortunately, there are many irresponsible people in Arab and Muslim lands, in China, in Russia and inside the West as well.
 
The battle we have to fight is merely a battle of ideas, in the name of a correct information, of a moral improvement of society and politics, of a responsible and effective action so that to save and bring back a common civilization of humanity. There is no time left for compromises about the value of life and there is no time left to make concessions on the right of Israel to exist.
 
The message that we have to send and spread all over the world is that the value of life has to be either for everybody or for nobody. We must say loud and clear that terrorism is never justified and never right, that terrorism is always aggressive and never reactive. We must say loud and clear that terrorism denies the right to life of other people, and cannot therefore be put on the same level of the victims of terrorism who defend their right to life. Time has come for the international community to consider global Islamic terrorism as a crime against humanity. Time has come for all civilized nations in the world to consider the denial of the right of Israel to exist and the threat to destroy Israel as crimes against humanity.
 
Dear friends, thanks to your friendship and solidarity, I shall continue to strive for the triumph of truth, good, sacredness of life, human dignity and freedom for all.
 
Finally, I would like to read you the dedication to the people of Israel in my new book Long Live Israel.
 
Thanks to life
I have discovered humanity
humanity that has given me
the gift of love.
Thanks to love
I have discovered truth
truth that has given me
the joy of freedom.
Thanks to freedom
I have discovered Israel
Israel that has given me
faith in the sacredness of life.
Thanks to the sacredness of life
I have discovered the civilization of values
values that have given me
confidence in a world of peace.
Thank you life, long live life!
Thank you love, long live love!
Thank you freedom, long live freedom!
Thank you Israel, long live Israel!
 
-Magdi Allam accepting AJC’s Mass Media Award  May 4, 2007  Hear his speech
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