Rome – May 31, 2023 — The Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI)—the interparliamentary, cross-party network spearheaded by the American Jewish Committee (AJC)—launched its Italian chapter to strengthen the ties between Europe, and specifically Italy, the United States, Canada, and Israel. TFI Italy Chair Senator Marco Scurria announced the launch in the Italian Senate with the support of 16 bicameral lawmakers from Fratelli d'Italia, Lega, Forza Italia, Noi Moderati, and Partito Democratico.
The standing-room only audience of over 100 at the press conference and subsequent reception included dozens of diplomats—among them Israeli Ambassador Alon Bar, U.S. Chargé d'affaires Shawn Crowley, Moroccan Ambassador Youssef Balla, and Bahraini Ambassador Dr. Naser M.Y. Al Belooshi—and members of the Italian Senate and Chamber of Deputies, government officials as well as journalists, civil society leaders, and prominent members of the Italian Jewish community.
The Brussels-based EU office of the American Jewish Committee, the AJC Transatlantic Institute, first launched TFI in the European Parliament in July 2019. The group today boasts some 186 parliamentarians in the European Parliament, across 23 European national legislatures, the U.S. Congress, the Parliament of Canada, and the Knesset. TFI members recognize that the Jewish state, the Middle East's only liberal democracy, must be understood as an integral part of the transatlantic security, political, and economic architecture and that closer collaboration among these Western democracies is of increasing importance given the growing threat from anti-Western powers and other global challenges.
"Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine and the persistent threat posed by Russia's main ally Iran, are stark reminders of the critical importance of robust alliances among Western democracies. By working closely with Israel and benefiting from its invaluable expertise and capabilities, we can strengthen the security of the entire transatlantic community and beyond,” said AJC Transatlantic Institute Director and TFI Secretary General Daniel Schwammenthal during the opening. “With its world-class security services, cutting-edge high-tech sector, and thriving knowledge-based economy, Europe and the U.S. could not have a better partner to address today's challenges," Schwammenthal added.
"We are here today to reaffirm that our fundamental values, freedom and democracy, represent the foundation of our long friendship with Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. We have remarkably gathered parliamentarians from the governing and opposition parties in a moment of serious international crises--from Russia's aggression against Ukraine, to renewed attacks against Israel from terror groups and the hub of international terrorism, Iran. In the face of these threats, we must strengthen our natural bonds among Western democracies, as represented here by the United States, Canada, the European Union, and obviously Israel,” said TFI Italy Chair Senator Marco Scurria.
"The great enthusiasm and number of members in this first launch of a TFI-Italy branch – under the leadership of Senator Marco Scurria – is most encouraging. We trust that TFI Italy will soon grow even further with new multi-party membership. Italy has long been a strong transatlantic ally of Israel, an alliance essential for the future of democracy and peace,” said AJC Representative in Italy and Liaison to the Holy See Lisa Billig.
AJC is the advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York City, 25 offices across the United States, and 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC's mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world.