ROME -- Italian Jewish leaders have called on Italy's education minister to take action against the "scandalous activities" of a Milan high school teacher accused of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.
A statement by Union of Italian Jewish Communities President Renzo Gattegna and Milan Jewish Community President Roberto Jarach said the teacher in question, Barbara Albertoni, had "spread historical falsehoods, also on the Internet, which insult the memory of the millions of innocent victims of barbarism and savagery of the Nazis and fascists, and also illicitly carries out an action aimed at distilling prejudice, racism and hatred."
Controversy over Albertoni erupted after an article in La Repubblica newspaper described her as a Holocaust denier and anti-Semite, based on posts on her anarchist and pro-Palestinian blog. These included "repeated attacks on Jews and Israel" and pictures and cartoons showing the Israeli flag with a swastika. It quoted her in one blog post as calling the Holocaust "the founding myth of Zionism."
Albertoni rejected the accusations. Some of her words were taken out of context, she said. But she added that the "Zionist lobby" was behind efforts "to cut off the voices of dissent, above all on the Palestinian question."