Italy: Bill against anti-Semitism, racism

Italy's government proposed legislation on Thursday that would increase jail sentences for inciting or committing acts of anti-Semitism and racial discrimination, the Justice Ministry said. The proposed bill, unanimously approved during a cabinet meeting, calls for jail sentences of up to three years for spreading ideas of racial superiority, the ministry said in a statement. The planned law will allow judges to hand down sentences of up to four years for inciting or committing acts of discrimination on grounds of racial, ethnic, gender or sexual orientation, the statement said. It includes financing for an international education program on the Holocaust and creates a body to monitor anti-Semitism in Italy. Last week, Justice Minister Clemente Mastella said the bill would make it a crime to deny the Holocaust. Such a proposal was not mentioned in Thursday's statement and ministry officials said it had never been on the agenda.