Rome mayor candidate loses elections after antisemitic Holocaust remark

Enrico Michetti had come under fire for an article he wrote last year in which he asked why the Holocaust received more attention than other instances of mass murder.

Colosseum in Rome (photo credit: FSHOQ.COM)
Colosseum in Rome
(photo credit: FSHOQ.COM)

A candidate in Rome’s mayoral election who was accused of making an antisemitic observation about the Holocaust was defeated Monday.

Enrico Michetti, the center-right’s candidate, earned between 37 and 41% of the votes in the runoff election Monday, according to the Guardian, trailing behind Roberto Gualtieri, the center-left candidate, who earned between 59 and 63% of the vote.

Michetti had come under fire for an article he wrote last year in which he asked why the Holocaust received more attention than other instances of mass murder and suggested the answer lay in the fact that victims of other genocides “didn’t own banks.”

“Each year, 40 Holocaust-related movies are shot, trips and cultural initiatives of all sorts are financed to commemorate that horrible persecution, and up to here, I have nothing to say,” Michetti wrote on the website of the radio station where he is a host. “But I wonder, why the same pity and the same consideration are not given to the dead killed in the Foibe massacres [of Italians by Yugoslav Partisans], in the refugee camps, and in the mass murders that still take place in the world?”

He suggested an answer: “Perhaps because they did not own banks, perhaps because they did not belong to lobbies capable of deciding the destinies of the planet.”

ILE PHOTO: People queue to receive free protective masks that have been bought by evangelicals in China and are distributed by Members of the Evangelical Christian Church, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Rome, April 22, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/YARA NARDII/FILE PHOTO)ILE PHOTO: People queue to receive free protective masks that have been bought by evangelicals in China and are distributed by Members of the Evangelical Christian Church, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Rome, April 22, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/YARA NARDII/FILE PHOTO)

Leaders of Rome’s Jewish community condemned Michetti, who first declined to apologize when asked about the comments by reporters but eventually apologized.

The comments were first publicized on October 8 by Il Manifesto, a left-wing Italian newspaper. While Michetti’s remarks were widely condemned, it is unclear if his comments tipped the scales in the election. A poll conducted by Ipsos on September 17 predicted that Gualtieri would beat Michetti with a majority of 57% of the votes.