After vote, Italian Jewish leader says hopes country will remember fascist past

With the rise of far-Right and populist parties, Di Segni hopes history will not repeat itself.

March 6, 2018 05:13
2 minute read.

Source File Name After Vote, Italian Jewish Leader Says Hopes Country Will Remember Fascist Past

Source File Name After Vote, Italian Jewish Leader Says Hopes Country Will Remember Fascist Past


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The rise of fascism in Italy at the beginning of the 1920s was similar to that of contemporary Italy, the country’s Jewish leader Noemi Di Segni told The Jerusalem Post on Monday, after election results showed that voters favored anti-establishment, far-right parties over the mainstream ones.

While stressing that the picture is not clear yet as the coalition is yet to be formed, Di Segni – the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities – voiced concern that her country’s democracy and cultural achievements may be under threat.

Italy’s parliamentary election ended in deadlock but votes were still being counted, and there was not yet a definitive breakdown of parliamentary seats. The inconclusive election left open a wide range of possible alliances, putting the anti-establishment, populist Five Star Movement in the driver’s seat as the largest party, with about 32% of the national vote.

“It’s the issue of populist parties – which is of course not only an issue in Italy,” Di Segni said. “It’s radicalization, extremism and populism together, which is preoccupying,” she continued, questioning the tools with which the populist parties can govern the country.

For the Jewish community, she said, maintaining values of integration, of being part of Europe and ensuring a certain level of culture in the country are most important.

“The rise of fascism in Italy at the beginning of the 1920s is similar in certain respects, as it was the power of populist protection rising from the bottom and not from the intellectual and leading cultural forces,” she said.

She said Jewish community concerns on the whole were no different from those of their countrymen, though she acknowledged that of course this was the decision of the voters, many of whom did vote for far right and populist parties.

“I think the real struggle and real challenge for the country today is remembering its past... to remember the history of fascism in Italy – of what has happened and can happen,” she concluded.

The Union of Italian Jewish Communities supported a march against fascism and racism that was held last week in Rome. The demonstration aimed to show solidarity against extremism, after pre-election political violence culminated in a shooting incident in which an Italian man opened fire on African migrants in the central city of Macerata, wounding six.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

PEOPLE GAZE at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris
April 20, 2019
Notre Dame will be rebuilt – Most European Jewish won't