A local Italian politician said that he felt offended because a Holocaust survivor and senator for life noted that Jesus was Jewish, Italian media reported on Friday.
Fabio Tuiach, a member of the municipal council of Trieste, made the comment ahead of a council vote on a motion proposing to award Auschwitz survivor Liliana Segre the city’s honorary citizenship.
As can be seen in a video of a November 18 meeting published by the Italian daily La Repubblica, Tuiach called Segre a “nice little granny,” and said that he would be willing to invite her over for tea “like [right-wing League leader Matteo] Salvini did.” He added that he had the highest admiration for her considering that she witnessed one of the ugliest pages in history.
“As a devout Catholic, I was confused and also a little offended by the fact that she said that Jesus was Jewish,” he then said, slightly mumbling as he added that “he was the son of God, he was God for me; therefore I will abstain.”
In the video, it is possible to hear other council members roaring in the background.
According to the Italian online magazine Open, Tuiach, 39, is a professional boxer who was elected with the League, before moving to the neo-fascist party Forza Nuova. He was subsequently expelled after justifying the murder by the Italian police of a detainee on drug charges. In the past, he also called Islam’s prophet Mohammed “a pedophile.”
His words about Jesus sparked widespread outrage and criticism, with many pointing out that as a devout Catholic, Tuiach could have simply found out about Jesus’s Jewishness by reading the Bible.
On November 19, the news segment of the Italian broadcasting company Rai reported that in the end, the motion to award Segre Trieste’s honorary citizenship was approved unanimously.
Born in 1930 into a Jewish family in Milan, Segre was deported to Auschwitz when she was 13 years old.