Ludicrous for Berlusconi to Win Nobel Peace Prize, but OK for Arafat?

The Times mocks a push for Italy's center-right prime minister to win the Nobel Peace Prize - but didn't make a fuss when terrorist Yassir Arafat shared the Nobel in 1994.

Times reporters have long been hostile to Silvio Berlusconi, the center-right Italian politician and on-and-off prime minister of Italy with the admittedly interesting personal life, perhaps because he was a rare international ally of George W. Bush and supported the Iraq war. On Thursday, Rome-based reporter Rachel Donadio piled on with "Supporters Seek NobelFor Berlusconi. Really."

The push for a Nobel Peace Prize for Berlusconi is a stretch. But a far more pathetic and significant injustice occurred in 1994, when Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorist leader Yassir Arafat shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Israeli leaders Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin. Strangely, the Times didn't mock or even criticize the awarding of a peace prize to a man who had dedicated his life to killing Israeli Jews.

From Donadio's mocking story:

Ever since the Italian media began peering into Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's personal life - and found a host of attractive young women - his supporters have been furiously trying to change the subject.

Among them is a small group with a big plan: to nominate Mr. Berlusconi for the Nobel Peace Prize.

"An Italian hasn't won the Nobel Peace Prize since 1907," said Giammario Battaglia, a 36-year-old lawyer who helped start the initiative a few months ago. "We think it's a good moment."

He appears to be serious.

The group contends that Mr. Berlusconi, operating behind the scenes and using his close friendship with Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, helped end the conflict between Russia and Georgia last summer. "He saved human lives," Mr. Battaglia said.


For better or worse, few Italians are paying much attention these days to Mr. Berlusconi's foreign record.

Ever since his wife, Veronica Lario, unleashed a torrent of tabloid coverage when she asked for a divorce last month, angry that Mr. Berlusconi had attended the 18th-birthday party of Noemi Letizia, a pretty blonde, the country has gone crazy with speculation over the nature of their relationship.

Even a little racial stereotyping is apparently acceptable in the Times, when it's aimed at Berlusconi:

Designed like a slick American advertisement, the Berlusconi-for-NobelWeb sitefeatures six young people giving the thumbs up, including, incongruously, a black woman. There are a growing number of blacks in Italy, but many are illegal immigrants, and it is unclear how many can vote.