Antisemitism: surge in antisemitic episodes in Italy 2012

Increased insults, threats; 'public figures also responsible'

06 December, 19:54

(ANSAmed) - ROME, DECEMBER 6 - From the street insult to the swastika graffiti, from the online publication of proscription lists to physical aggression, antisemitic episodes almost doubled this year in Italy against 2011, according to the Milan-based Center for Jewish Documentation's Observatory on Anti-Jewish Prejudice.

''We observed approximately 70 cases so far this year, most of them graffiti and online attacks: over 40% more than last year,'' Observatory researcher Stefano Gatti wrote in a web meeting Thursday on Italian antisemitism.

This is a worrisome surge in a country like Italy, ''where essentially antisemitism is not violent, but rather ideological.

The data shows the situation is changing, evolving negatively,'' Gatti said. ''The boom might be due to more efficient data-gathering, but the episodes have undeniably increased.

Also, certain attitudes are no longer perceived as antisemitic and no longer rate a social reaction. The joke that used to be whispered after one glass too many, is now shamelessly told out loud.'' Worse, Gatti pointed out, is the fact that Italian pundits and politicians ''such as Silvio Berlusconi, Beppe Grillo or Piergiorgio Odifreddi'' are now writing those discriminatory posts, telling those racist jokes. ''Making certain issues seem normal, even funny, is one of the root causes of the rise in antisemitic episodes in Italy,'' Gatti concluded. (ANSAmed).