NEWS “Italian Jews reject Inappropriate Comparisons”

beppegrilloBy Rossella Tercatin

Reiterated offensive remarks about the Holocaust from some prominent political leaders are sparking outrage within and outside the Italian Jewish Community.

From May 22nd to May 26th, 2014, all the citizens of the European Union will elect the new members of the European Parliament, and, for the first time, these elections will also help to determine who the president of the European Commission will be.
In the past few weeks, the widespread tendency towards a populist slant in the heat of election campaign has generated bottomless trivialization of the single greatest tragedy of the history of human kind, as Renzo Gattegna, the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) has noted.

“Italian Jews are filled with dismay and consternation as they witness an election campaign with reiterated references to symbols, facts and figures which belong to a dreadful past, to the history of the Holocaust. This behavior represents an inadmissible way to send subliminal messages and run down opponents, hoping to gain votes. This is a trend that is increasing every day through intolerable provocations against which we cannot remain silent” Gattegna said in an official statement.

“We call on all political parties and their members to refrain from inappropriately referring to the Holocaust, offending not only the victims of an unparalleled tragedy, but also the dignity and the intelligence of all Italy” is the appeal made by Gattegna.

In the past few weeks, the Five Star Movement leader and former comedian Beppe Grillo ran on his blog a parody of Primo Levi’s poem on the Holocaust and a retouched picture of the notorious image of the gates of Auschwitz and the leader of Forza Italia and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi declared that “for the Germans, concentration camps never existed” during an electoral rally.