Asked by the media whether he would apologize to the Jewish community after his parody of Primo Levi’s poem on the Holocaust, the Five Star Movement leader and former comedian Beppe Grillo replied that he had nothing to apologize for.
On the contrary, not only did he say that he did not offend anyone, but he also demanded that the Italian Jewish Community tear apart its Communication Department.
According to Grillo, all the blame of what he called “a misunderstanding” of what he said, rested on the Department and on the “stupid, ignorant, not very intelligent spokespersons, who should be fired”.
Indeed, in confronting a Community that does not give up the value of remembering the Holocaust and the principles of democracy and progress, even the experienced showman loses his head.
“When you touch the powerful, these things surface, these lobbies, lobbies of business. I do not hide behind certain tragedies, it is they who hide behind them” Grillo blathered during a press conference. The press conference took place the day after he ran on his blog a retouched picture of the notorious image of the gates of Auschwitz, replacing the slogan Arbeit macht frei with P2 macht frei together with an adapted version of Primo Levi’s poem on the Holocaust If this is a man (P2 is the Masonic lodge that plotted to overthrow the government and was implicated in numerous Italian crimes).
“Who is behind [Carlo] De Benedetti [an Italian Jewish industrialist], who is behind the banks, behind the finance?” added Grillo, who is not new to anti-Semitic statements and racist conspiracy theories.
Of course, running the Five Star Movement campaign for the European elections, the former comedian needs to be in the media as much as possible; exploiting the Holocaust probably sounded like a smart and effective strategy.