BERLIN – Forty-four percent of Italians are prejudiced or hostile toward Jews,
according to a study issued last week.
The report was issued by Italian
Chamber of Deputies’s Committee for the Inquiry into
Deputy Fiamma Nirenstein, the committee’s chairwoman, told
The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the findings were “very disturbing.” It was a
“shock for everybody how much anti-Semitism in Italy and Europe” exists, she
“Some 44% of the Italian population harbor some prejudice or have a
hostile attitude toward Jews. They can be broken down into four subgroups,”
according to the report.
“The first group (10%) holds the ‘traditional’
anti-Jewish stereotypical views, such as that ‘Jews are not fully Italian,’ ‘you
can never really trust them,’ and ‘when it comes down to it, they have always
lived at the expense of others,’ but reject the ‘contingent’ prejudices (toward
Israel and the Shoah).”
The report continued that “the second group (11%
of the population) only approve of the ‘modern’ stereotypical views, rejecting
the ‘traditional’ and ‘contingent’ ones. They consider that ‘the Jews are rich
and powerful,’ ‘they control and direct politics, the media and the banks,’ and
moreover ‘they are more faithful to Israel than to the country of their birth.’”
A “third group (12%) maintains ‘contingent’ convictions (‘all Jews use the Shoah
to justify Israeli policy’), ‘they talk too much about their own tragedies
disregarding other people’s,’ ‘Jews behave like Nazis with the Palestinians’),
but they do not share the ‘traditional’ prejudices.”
Lastly, the report
cites a fourth groups as the “pure anti- Semites” (12% of Italians). This group
holds all the elements of the previous three forms of Italian
Nirenstein said the 39-page report was the culmination of
“two-and-half years” of parliamentary hearings and intensive work.
there were “some disagreements on what is anti- Semitism and what is anti-
Zionism” during the committee discussions, “we recognized” when “criticisms of
Israel become anti-Semitism,” she said.
According to the report, for
example, “... anti-Semitism can be observed in international political debate:
the biased criticism of what Israel is doing in the developing situation in the
Middle East. The process began with the adoption of the Durban Declaration and
Program of Action in 2001. This provided the basis for the pronouncements of
international leaders – and first and foremost the president of the Islamic
Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is allowed to speak out...
even from the podium at the United Nations General Assembly – denying the
genocide [the Holocaust] and advocating the annihilation of the State of Israel,
in blatant violation of the UN Charter.”
The Italian deputies recommended
that “thought should also be given to the advisability of supporting initiatives
at international level to refer the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
Ahmadinejad, to the International Criminal Court for the crime of incitement to
Nirenstein told the Post the committee invited Ruth Halimi,
the mother of Ilan Halimi, “to Rome for the work of committee.
police did not believe it was anti-Semitism” that motivated the murder of her
son by a gang of French Muslim immigrants in 2006.
failed to look “into right direction” and examine “who perpetrates anti-
Semitism” in France, Nirenstein said.
Speaking from New Haven,
Connecticut, Dr. Charles Small, a leading expert on modern anti-Semitism who
attended the presentation of the Italian report’s results last week, told the
Post it “is an excellent document that examines the scourge of contemporary
anti- Semitism in a comprehensive manner.”
“The Italian parliament is the
third nation, after the UK and Canada, to carry out such an inquiry and to
produce a report,” Small said.