“The thought that our city institutions would be led by people whose thinking is steeped in prejudice makes one tremble,” said the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.
One of the two major candidates in the upcoming election for mayor of Rome has found himself at the center of controversy over antisemitic remarks he made last year.
The English-language Italian outlet Wanted in Rome reports that Enrico Michetti, the right-wing candidate for mayor, is under fire after an article he wrote in Feb. 2020 was spotlighted by a left-wing daily.
In the article, Michetti made openly antisemitic remarks, saying that excessive attention is paid to the Holocaust because the Jews “control banks and a lobby capable of deciding the fate of the planet.”
Ruth Dureghello, the president of the Jewish community of Rome, called Michetti’s comments “dangerous” and said they “hide a disturbing prejudice.”
Noemi Di Segni, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, also expressed alarm, saying, “The thought that our city institutions would be led by people whose thinking is steeped in prejudice makes one tremble.”
Jewish Member of Parliament Emanuele Fiano compared Fichetti’s remarks to statements by Hitler, calling them “phrases that are part of the worst heritage of antisemitism that bloodied Europe between the ‘30s and ‘40s of the last century, accompanying millions and millions of people to the gas chambers.”
“I hope you will be ashamed of these words for the rest of your life,” he said to Michetti. “I have no pity for adults, cultured, who in 2020 make such a remark. I will not accept excuses. You don’t deserve excuses.”
Michetti has scrambled to do damage control, saying Saturday, “The Holocaust was unique in its inhumanity against men and women who had done no wrong whatsoever, the lowest point in history. The utmost vigilance and unity is required by everyone against all forms of antisemitism, so that what happened never happens again, not even in other guises.”
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