LATEST UPDATE: DECEMBER 1999
In general Jews in Italy are assimilated into mainstream society. Most of the racial discrimination evident in the country is targeted at immigrants or recently settled minority groups. Anti-Jewish notions are expressed for the most part either in the propaganda of the far-right or in some of the Catholic media.
Furthermore, for some years now, a much greater interest in things Jewish has been evident in the Italian media and popular culture. This has contributed on the one hand to a wider knowledge of Jewish culture and to a greater sense of understanding and tolerance.
Nonetheless, the decline in the number of antisemitic incidents of recent years - partly attributable to the fact that far-right groups have been experiencing ideological and organizational uncertainty in the wake of the 1993 Mancino law against racial, ethnic and religious discrimination - looks at present to have been halted by a revival of neo-Nazi activism. The latter half of 1999 witnessed much-publicized and blatant antisemitic displays at Italian football matches as well as some violent attacks on Jewish targets.
A great deal of media attention has also recently been given to a supposed return of urban terrorism. Bombs in Italian cities and, especially, the murder of Massimo D'Antona, a government adviser, were all claimed by previously unknown left-wing groups, leading to speculation that the 1970s of the Red Brigades had returned. Others however have pointed to evidence that links these incidents to this resurgent militant far right.
Total population: 57.6 million (67 per cent urban) (end of 1998) (Istituto nazionale de statistica, ISTAT)
Jewish population: 30,000-35,000
Other minority groups (see Racism and xenophobia): at the end of 1998 there were 1.23 million foreigners legally resident in Italy (ISTAT); the largest immigrant groups are from North Africa, particularly Moroccans and Tunisians (200,000), Albania and the Philippines; there are also small communities of Roma, ethnic Germans and Slovenes
Religion: The government subsidizes the following religions by allowing taxpayers to choose to designate a certain percentage of their taxes to them: Roman Catholic, Adventist, Waldensian, Baptist and Lutheran churches, the Assembly of God and Judaism. Buddhists and Muslims have initiated the procedures for obtaining this status.
Political system: parliamentary democracy (bicameral legislature composed of Chamber of Deputies, lower house, and Senate, upper house). In a national referendum held in April 1999 on the proposed abolition of the 155 seats in the 630-member Chamber of Deputies elected on the basis of proportional representation, 91 per cent were in favour of the proposal. However, the referendum was not binding as the required turnout of over 50 per cent was not achieved (the turnout was 49.6 per cent).
Head of state: President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi (since May 1999)
Government: The centre-left Ulivo coalition (Olive Tree) the most important components being the Democratici di sinistra (DS, Democrats of the Left, formerly the Partito democratico della sinistra, PDS, the successor to the Italian Communist Party), Partito popolare italiano (PPI, Italian People's Party), Rinnovamento italiano (Italian Renewal) and I verdi (The Greens) in power from May 1996 under Prime Minister Romano Prodi (now president of the European Commission), collapsed in October 1998 after disagreements over the 1999 budget prompted a no-confidence vote. A new coalition government was formed, consisting of the DS, PPI and the Unióne democratica per la repubblica (UDR, Democratic Union of the Republic), under Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema (the DS leader). In February 1999 Prodi launched a new party, Democratici per l'ulivo (Democrats for the Olive Tree).
Opposition parties: The centre-right opposition coalition Polo della libertà (PL, Pole for Freedom) is led by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and includes Forza Italia (FI, Go Italy), Alleanza nazionale (AN, National Alliance), Centro cristiano democratico (CDC, Christian Democratic Centre) and Unióne di centro democratico (UDC, Union of the Democratic Centre). The main party of the northern separatist movement, Lega nord per l'indipendènza di Padania (LN, Northern League for the Independence of Padania), is led by Umberto Bossi.
Local elections April/May 1997: Involving almost one-fifth of the electorate, these elections for the mayors and councils of 1,115 cities and towns (including Milan and Turin) and 6 regional assemblies produced a significant protest vote against the government. The largest gains were by the left-wing Partito della rifondazione comunista (Communist Reformation, RC). DS retained its 21 per cent share of the vote while its other centrist-coalition partners lost ground. AN increased its support in a number of towns at the expense of FI (its coalition partner). LN suffered its worst ever defeat (for details, see Parties, organizations, movements). The PL coalition took Milan and Ulivo won Turin and Trieste together with 4 of the 6 regional assemblies.
Local elections November 1997: The centre-left Ulivo won a landslide victory in these elections for 5 regional assemblies and 421 municipal councils, and afterwards controlled 9 of the country's 10 main cities (Milan the only exception). Ulivo won control in 36 councils of towns with more than 15,000 people, the centre-right PL coalition, which lost ground, won 18 and LN won 15.
Local elections May/June 1998: In these elections for 519 mayors and 12 regional presidents, Ulivo fared badly and the Christian democratic parties of the centre right did well.
Rome elections December 1998: AN's Silvano Moffa won 51.1 per cent of vote in the run-off, defeating the centre-left candidate Pasqualina Napoletano. The turnout fell to a record low at 43 per cent.
Local and provincial elections June 1999: The centre-right PL won the mayoral election in Bologna (50.6 per cent), an undisputed stronghold of the left since 1945; it also gained control of Milan province (as well as holding Milan city) and the Lombardy regional assembly.
European elections June 1999: DS sank to an all-time low (17.4 per cent of the vote, 15 out of 87 seats) and FI saw a strong rise in its support (25.2 per cent, 22 seats). On the far right, the AN came third with 10.3 per cent (9 MEPs), the LN polled 4.5 per cent (4 MEPs), MSI-Fiamma tricolore won 1.6 per cent (1 MEP, see Parties, organizations, movements) and Lista cito lega azione meridionale 0.3 per cent (no MEPs).
Next elections: April 2000 (regional); April 2001
GDP: US$1.15 trillion (World Bank 15 October 1999)
GDP growth: 1.5 per cent (World Bank 15 October 1999)
Inflation November 1999: 2.1 per cent (EuroStat), compared to 1.8 per cent in November 1998 (ISTAT)
Unemployment 1999: male unemployment 9.6 per cent; female unemployment 16.8 per cent; youth unemployment (ages 15 to 24) 30.2 per cent for males (53.5 in the South) and 39.0 percent for females (66.9 in the South) (US Department of State Human Rights Report 1999)
Jews have lived in the Italian peninsula for over 2,000 years. Their treatment has differed according to the areas in which they have lived. Times of relative tolerance and fruitful growth have alternated with times of serious anti-Jewish prejudice.
From the middle of the sixteenth century onwards, the attitude of the popes towards the Jews became more ambiguous. In 1555 the Bull Cum nimis absurdum was issued by Pope Paul IV, marking the beginning of a harsh policy towards Jews living in the papal state. Ghettos were closed, Jews were exiled from cities and villages, and many suffered forced baptisms.
With the unification of Italy in 1861, Jews acquired full civil and political rights.
The Fascist era (1922-45) may be divided into three periods: during 1922-38, the regime was indifferent to the so-called 'Jewish problem'; from 1938 anti-Jewish legislation deprived Jews of their rights; and in 1943-5, the period known as the Salò Republic, the collaboration of Mussolini's Repubblica sociale italiana (Italian Social Republic) with the Nazi occupation led to the deportation of 8,566 Jews from Italy and Italian territories in the Aegean basin.
Italy's most important Fascist-era thinker was the racial theorist Julius Evola, who has recently become popular with a new generation of neo-Nazi skinheads, probably in part because of the esoteric streak that runs through his work. In the 1920s Evola was anti-Christian, and advocated a return to Roman paganism. Later he would provide the philosophical underpinning for the racial laws enacted in 1938, with such works as Il mito del sangue (The Myth of Blood) in 1937 and Sintesa di dottrina della razza (Synthesis of the Doctrine of Race) in 1941 in which he extolled the notion of 'racial purity' and propounded his theory of 'spiritual racism'. He was a chief conversant of Mussolini's, and also wrote the preface to the 1938 Italian edition of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. When he left Italy for Berlin in 1942 he was welcomed by the Third Reich.
The 1970s saw a return of anti-Jewish prejudice among sections of the general population and in the mainstream political arena. This was traced to the influence of the far right and to the effects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The most violent anti-Jewish incident was the attack by international terrorists on the Rome synagogue in October 1982 in which a child was killed and thirty-six people were injured.
Since the 1980s the Vatican's role in the Second World War -
the extent of its knowledge of the anti-Jewish persecutions and how it reacted
(or failed to) - has been under scrutiny (see Legacy of the Second World
Since the issue of unpaid insurance claims by Italy's largest insurer Assicurazioni Generali first came to public attention at the end of 1996 pressure has been mounting on the company. The Generali, whose pre-war business with Eastern European Jews was extensive, is suspected of owing large sums of money on the unpaid policies of Holocaust victims. For its part the company at first claimed that it was not liable to pay out on policies purchased in Eastern Europe because its assets were seized by the post-war Communist regimes, and pointed out that it had paid out on the pre-war claims of western European policyholders.
After having stated that war-time records on policyholders did not exist, in early March 1997 a report was published in the Italian press that the company's Trieste warehouse contained thousands of unclaimed insurance policies from the Holocaust era. The archive, whose contents were eventually computerized and deposited in June 1998 at the Yad Vashem Holocaust research institute in Jerusalem, revealed the names of 337,000 policyholders, of whom probably more than 100,000, according to Yad Vashem, were Jews killed in the Holocaust.
In response to continuing criticism and the threat of lawsuits, in December 1998 the company began making payments from an Israeli-based US$12 million fund it had established the previous year for ex gratia payments to families of former policyholders, Holocaust survivors and worthwhile organizations. For these payments the Generali adopted the formula for calculating the rate at which policies dating from the 1940s would be paid which was the most generous to the claimants.
After a January 1999 meeting in Rome of the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (headed by former US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger) - set up in 1998 to investigate the obligations of five (originally six) European insurers active during the Holocaust (see also France, Germany, Switzerland) - the Generali and the German insurer Allianz agreed to the publication of the names of Holocaust victims whose policies remained unpaid (although the company issuing the policies in each case would not be specified). It wasn't until June however that the International Commission finally agreed to fund the publication of the list of names that Generali had handed over to Yad Vashem, scheduled for January 2000.
In January 1999 a California court ruled that Assicurazioni Generali could face trial in that jurisdiction in a US$135 million lawsuit brought by Martin Stern, the grandson of a policyholder who perished in the Holocaust. The case directly challenged the company's claim that it was not liable for policies taken out in Eastern Europe.
In a dramatic conclusion to the May 1999 London meeting of the International Commission, however, the insurers agreed to begin paying out on pre-war policies at their 'real value' (i.e. taking into account, for example, compound interest and inflation), and to assume liability for policies purchased in Eastern European countries before the Communist regimes had nationalized insurance companies.
In November 1999 a parliamentary commission in Rome - set up to investigate whether Italian banks or other financial institutions were liable for assets of Italian Jews seized after Mussolini introduced racial laws in 1938 - announced that twenty-four Italian banks had agreed to start repaying victims, although the still undisclosed settlement, reported in Corriere della Sera as amounting to some US$525 million, has yet to be approved by the government.
A dispute over five paintings by artists of the late nineteenth-century Italian Macchiaioli school which were seized by the Italian authorities in 1997 was resolved in October 1999. The paintings had been lent for an exhibition in a Florentine gallery by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery in New Zealand which had bought them from a Dunedin resident in 1994. Once in Italy a case against the Dunedin museum was instituted by members of the prominent Florentine Jewish Vitta family who claimed that they had been stolen from the family home during the war. The case eventually came to an end when both parties agreed that three of the paintings would be returned to New Zealand and two to the Vitta family.
In November 1999 Ukrainian victims of Nazi-era war crimes filed a class-action lawsuit against the Vatican Bank and a Franciscan religious order for hoarding millions of dollars stolen by the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime in Croatia (see Croatia).
The Vatican and the Holocaust
Despite much improved relations between the Vatican and the Jewish world under the papacy of John Paul II (see also Countering antisemitism), the Vatican's role in the Second World War has been under increasing scrutiny, threatening in recent months to undo some of that progress.
In March 1998 the Vatican issued a long-awaited papal document on the Holocaust, We Remember. A Reflection on the Shoah, in which an apology was extended to the Jewish people for the Church's failure to speak out on their behalf during the Second World War and the Holocaust. It called on 'all Christians to join us to reflect on the catastrophe which struck the Jewish people and on the moral imperative to insure that egotism and hatred never again reach the point of sowing such suffering and death'. It asked: 'Did Christians give all possible help to the persecuted, and to the Jews in particular?'; and it answered: 'Many did, but others did not.' The document represents a major step by the Vatican, akin to Nostra Aetate in 1965, to heal Catholic-Jewish relations and lay a foundation for mutual tolerance and respect in the future.
Nonetheless, critics of the document see it as an apologia for the Church - in its distintinguishing between Christian anti-Judaism and neo-pagan Nazi antisemitism, which it described as both anti-Jewish and anti-Christian and wholly responsible for the Holocaust - and a signal of the plan to beatify Pope Pius XII in 2000 as the first step to his canonization. We Remember defended the reputation of Pope Pius XII, who served from 1939 to 1958 and who has been accused at least of failing to speak out against the persecution of the Jews. The fears of Jewish opponents of the beatification - who have repeatedly called for its postponement until the Vatican archives are opened to scholars so that the various claims and counter-claims regarding the statements and activities of the war-time Pope as well as his motives might be properly assessed - were eased somewhat in October 1999 when the Vatican announced that its preparations for the beatification would not be complete by 2000.
The apparent postponement followed the well-publicized appearance the previous month of a new book claiming that Pius XII was 'strikingly' antisemitic, and believed that the Jews were to blame for their own tragedy because of their rejection of Christ. British historian John Cornwell's Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (Viking) accuses the war-time Pope of having 'implicitly denied and trivialized the Holocaust, despite having reliable knowledge of its true extent' and of being 'a hypocrite' after the war, taking 'undue credit for speaking out boldly against the Nazis' persecution of the Jews'. He concludes that the Pope's 'failure to respond to the enormity of the Holocaust was more than a personal failure, it was a failure of the papal office itself and the prevailing culture of Catholicism'. According to his preface, Cornwell - a journalist, research fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge and a practising Catholic - set out to write a defence of Pius XII and, accordingly, was granted access to unpublished material in the Vatican archives. Catholic commentators and Church spokespersons have pointed out factual errors in the book, and dismissed it as 'confusing', 'laced with conjecture and innuendo' and an attempt to derail the beatification of Pius XII.
Vatican representatives have continually claimed that those war-time documents already in the public domain (eleven volumes of Vatican archives and many more of Church records in other countries) provide numerous examples of representatives of the Holy See acting to rescue and save Jewish lives behind the Church's staunchly neutral public stance, arguing that Pius did not speak out more forcefully for fear of worsening the fate of Catholics and Jews under Nazi occupation. The October 1999 announcement of the establishment of a panel of Catholic and Jewish scholars to review the eleven volumes of archival material already published for omissions was welcomed by some Jewish spokespersons and ridiculed by others.
Two other recent acts of papal sanctification have proved to be sources of difficulty in Jewish-Catholic relations. In October 1998 Edith Stein born a Jew in Silesia in 1891, converted to Catholicism in 1922 becoming a Carmelite nun in 1933, and murdered at Auschwitz in 1942 was canonized as a Catholic saint. A year later the Pope named Edith Stein as one of three female saints to be revered as a spiritual 'co-patroness of Europe'. A week after canonizing Edith Stein in 1998 the Pope beatified Zagreb's war-time archbishop, Alojzije Stepinac, revered by many Croatians as an anti-Communist martyr but reviled by others as a fascist collaborator (see Croatia).
In April 1999 the Catholic Church marked Holocaust Memorial Day by unveiling a four-foot-tall, six-branched menorah in the gardens of a Vatican-owned seminary. The menorah, designed by Israeli sculptor Aaron Bezalel, will stand permanently in the gardens in memory of the six million Jews who died.
Former SS Captain Erich Priebke went on trial before a military court in Rome in May 1996 for his role in the March 1944 mass execution by the Nazis of 335 men and boys in the Ardeatine caves south of Rome. The Nazis ordered the massacre as a reprisal for an Italian partisan attack that killed thirty-three German soldiers. Seventy-five of the victims were Jews.
Priebke, who had been extradited from Argentina to Italy in November 1995, admitted killing at least two of the Ardeatine caves victims. On 1 August 1996 the military court found him guilty of taking part in the massacre but not punishable for the crime of multiple murder because of extenuating circumstances and the statute of limitations. It thus ordered that he be freed.
The sentence triggered widespread anger, embarrassment and disapproval in Italy, including from leading political figures. Immediately after the sentence, relatives of victims and their supporters, including many Jews, staged a demonstration inside and outside the courthouse, during which they scuffled with police and physically blocked Priebke, his lawyers and the judges inside. After eight hours, Italy's justice minister Giovanni Maria Flick ordered Priebke to be re-arrested, technically to await a decision on a German request for his extradition.
During the trial, civil plaintiffs had requested that the presiding judge, Antonio Quistelli, be dismissed on the grounds that he had openly expressed a bias towards Priebke. An appeals court rejected this request during the trial but subsequently, in October 1996, Italy's supreme court, the Court of Cassation ruled to accept it, thereby annulling the verdict and setting up the need for a retrial.
Questions were raised as to the legitimacy of the justice minister's re-arrest of Priebke. The minister was accused of not respecting the law and of having yielded to the pressure of the crowd. Other criticisms were directed at the Roman Jews who protested, and some commentators went so far as to accuse the minister of bowing to the pressure of a 'Jewish lobby'.
The AN (see Parties, organizations, movements) had supported the Priebke trial from the beginning, but in September 1996 three of its MPs (of their own accord) presented a formal query to the justice ministry as to whether any measures had been taken against the demonstrators who had battled with police and barricaded the courtroom after the verdict.
On 30 November 1996 some 300 people attended a conference in Rome in support of Priebke. Speakers included Mario Consoli from the far-right periodical L'uomo libero (see Publications and media), as well as Massimo Fini and Piero Buscaroli, two journalists known for having criticized Jews in the past. The object of the conference was to show that Priebke's trial was ideological, a direct continuation of the Nuremberg war crimes trials in which, the speakers asserted, the victors sat in judgement on the vanquished who were guilty of nothing worse than losing the war. Those addressing the conference made reference to such themes as mondialismo (see Antisemitic incidents) and international Jewish lobbies. On 23 December 1996 the organizers of the conference held a mass service in Priebke's honour in a central Roman church, celebrated by a priest who took part in the conference.
In March 1997 the constitutional court ruled that Priebke could not be extradited to Germany on the grounds that he was already facing trial on the same charges in Italy.
On 14 April 1997 the retrial commenced before a military tribunal, and Priebke was joined in the dock by the former-SS major Karl Hass, accused of the same offence. Hass admitted participation in the 1944 massacre during his testimony as a prosecution witness in the first Priebke trial - testimony he tried to avoid giving by jumping off his hotel balcony - and had ever since been under house arrest at a private clinic near Rome. Weeks before the retrial began Priebke was moved from the military prison where he had been for sixteen months to house arrest in a monastery outside Rome.
During the trial, in an interview published in the Rome daily Il messaggero (24 May 1997), Priebke was quoted as follows: 'The Ardeatine caves were terrible for the Jews, but for me it was something small that was lost among everything else - the bombings, Dresden, Hiroshima, my dead, the lost war, beginning again from nothing.'
On 22 July 1997 Priebke was sentenced to fifteen years in prison (ten of which were waived due to various amnesties issued since 1945) for multiple murder with the aggravating circumstance of cruelty. Karl Hass was sentenced to ten years for his role in the massacre and his co-operation with the Italian secret services immediately after the war; in his case, the ten-year remission resulted in his immediate release. This was the first ruling in an Italian court affirming the principle that crimes against humanity are not subject to a statute of limitations. Given Priebke's age the court allowed him to serve the remainder of his sentence (subsequently further reduced to a few months given pre-trial time spent in custody) on house arrest, first in a convent in Frascati and then in the home of his attorney, Paolo Giachini. For a few days following Priebke's transfer to Giachini's house, there were demonstrations by local residents against 'Priebke the murderer'.
During the retrial there was renewed criticism - even among members of mainstream parties - of trying an elderly man for offences that had taken place such a long time ago. Support for the accused, although from a small minority, had also increased. In November 1997 a petition, with some 6,000 signatures, in support of a statement issued by the association Uomo e libertà (Man and Freedom) was sent to the headquarters of Amnesty International in London, denouncing 'the numerous and persistent violations of law imposed against Mr Priebke'. The same theme was the subject of a question put to parliament by a senator and four deputies.
Other declarations in defence of Priebke contained attacks on Jews, such as a five-page document handed out in the courtroom during the trial by Giachini. Signed by the Comitato internazionale per la protezione dell'uomo dalla avversione razziale e politica (International Committee for Protection from Racial and Political Discrimination), the document alleged that the Wiesenthal Center had exaggerated the significance of Priebke's trial in order to satisfy the 'Judeo-Zionist ideology' which 'often considers the Jewish people a chosen race', and to secure money for the plaintiffs. One LN senator, one of the signatories to the parliamentary question (see above), accused a 'Jewish lobby operating in Rome' of 'unremittingly spreading hate at every opportunity'.
Priebke and Hass's appeal, requested by the attorney general in the appellate court, the public prosecutor and the defence teams, was heard by a military appeals court in March 1998, when life sentences were passed on both defendants. Following the judgement Karl Hass, who had already returned to his home in Switzerland, returned voluntarily to Italy and surrendered to the judicial authorities.The court ruled that he should serve out his sentence under house arrest in a nursing home in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, a decision that drew criticism from the town's mayor and residents.
The final appeal was heard in November 1998 by the Court of Cassation, which upheld the life sentences of both Priebke and Hass. Priebke was thereafter transferred from Giachini's house to a military prison in Rome.
Another war crimes trial began in December 1997 when Theodor Emil Saevecke, former head of the Gestapo in Milan, was indicted for the reprisal killing of fifteen Italian civilians taken from prisons in Milan in August 1944. The Turin prosecutor said he would seek Saevecke's extradition from Germany only after a conviction. In July 1999 a Turin military court tried Saevecke in absentia and found him guilty of ordering the execution. Saevecke had reportedly collaborated with the CIA after the war and rose through the ranks of the West German police to become deputy head of counter-intelligence.
In January 1998 la Repubblica reported that the Wiesenthal Center was calling on Italy to extradite another alleged participant in the Ardeatine caves massacre, Wilhelm Schubernig, who had been living openly in Austria for forty-three years. In February 1999 the Wiesenthal Center reported that the Italian foreign minister, Lamberto Dini, had 'expressed his willingness' to seek Schubernig's extradition. The Austrian foreign minister, Wolfgang Schussel, was also urged to detain Schubernig (see Austria).
In June 1999 the trial of Otto Gall, a former lieutenant in the Wehrmacht, began in Naples. Gall is being tried in absentia for ordering the murder, on 1 October 1943, of six seminary students in Mugnano, north of Naples, four of whom died in the subsequent machine-gunning. According to the German author of the foremost history of German war crimes in Italy, Gerhard Schreiber, the case against Gall is not persuasive, while the available evidence in fact points to another German officer, Helmuth Ziethen, who was also on duty in Mugnano on the day in question (Der Spiegel, 14 June 1999). Ziethen's whereabouts have been unknown since February 1944.
In November 1999 fresh evidence - discovered by accident in the
Rome justice ministry - surfaced of post-war efforts by the ruling Christian
Democrats of the time to impede any investigation into a war-time massacre by
the Waffen-SS on 12 August 1944 of virtually an entire Tuscan village of 560
people, mostly women and children, as a reprisal for attacks on German troops by
Italian partisans. Survivors of the massacre of Sant'Anna di Stazzena welcomed
the newly launched investigation, although the fear now is that it is too late
to bring charges against those responsible. The Austrian commander of the
battalion involved, Anton Galler, is known to have died in Spain in
Although Italian law prohibits racial, ethnic and religious discrimination, societal discrimination persists in varying degrees, and immigrants and other foreign-born residents have been subjected to physical abuse.
There are few statistics available measuring racial or xenophobic attitudes in Italy. Among the violent incidents against visible minorities and immigrants that have been reported in the last few years are several murders, assaults with lethal weapons and arson attacks. The results of two studies of violent deaths of immigrants - one commissioned by the interior ministry, the other by the Green Party and carried out by researchers at Rome's La Sapienza university - were presented in June 1997. The former showed that, in 1996, there were 111 deaths of non-European immigrants as a result of violent attacks (the other study's figure was slightly lower). Both studies showed that about two-thirds of the attacks were racially motivated.
According to the Milan-based monitoring organization Racism Survey, in 1997 there were 668 cases of racial discrimination, violence or intolerance.
According to a report issued by Amnesty International in May 1999 there are numerous allegations that excessive violence has been deliberately used by police against individuals detained in connection with common criminal offenses or in the course of identity checks. Allegations of mistreatment relate to the time of arrest and the first twenty-four hours in custody, and a high proportion of the allegations concern foreign nationals, with many from Africa, as well as Roma. The report noted that, although complaints of mistreatment are routinely investigated, some of the investigations have been found to be wanting.
In several cities, local citizens' groups have organized various types of demonstrations against the presence of Roma, against illegal immigration in general and against the activities of both male (transvestite) and female prostitutes from developing countries. Racist attitudes are regularly demonstrated by militant football fans who hurl abuse at black players during football matches (see also Antisemitic incidents). This kind of abuse sometimes erupts into violence, often incited by groups of neo-Nazi skinheads.
The 60,000 to 80,000 citizens who are Roma face general societal discrimination and particular difficulty in finding places to stay (for immigrant Roma, see below). Sedentary Roma have more success in receiving equal treatment in employment and housing than nomadic Roma. The city of Rome has opened six camps for the latter and launched a programme of compulsory schooling for Rom children. The Rom population in the environs of Rome is estimated at 5,000-6,500.
In May 1998 it was reported that the Rome city council had settled some seventy Rom families on a site that had been severely contaminated by chemical waste; the decontamination of an adjacent site had apparently been ordered for the building of a new animal shelter.
In June 1999 an angry mob from a Naples suburb attacked and torched four Roma camps as a revenge attack following a car accident involving a Serbian Rom driver that seriously injured two local girls. Nearly 1,000 Roma had to flee their homes as a result.
Refugees and immigration
The question of immigration is hotly debated, both in official and unofficial circles. A falling birth rate and a well-provided-for ageing population cause many to view an immigrant labour force as an increasing economic necessity. (Italy's population ranks (with Japan's) as the oldest in the world, with a median age of 40.2 and a low birthrate of one child per woman. A forthcoming report by the population division of the United Nations will predict that Italy's population will fall to 41 million by 2050, and will suggest that the country open its borders to the some 26 million immigrants needed to maintain today's standard of living and level of economic growth.) Nonetheless, the presence of extracomunitarios - literally, immigrants from countries outside the European Union (EU), but in practice used to denote non-Whites from developing nations - is often considered a law-and-order problem due to the participation of a small number of immigrants in criminal activities, usually in small-time drug dealing, petty theft and prostitution. The La Sapienza study mentioned above monitored twenty national and regional newspapers throughout 1996 and found that reports of immigrants being victims of crime (374, of which 68 included at least one death) far outnumbered those showing them to be the perpetrators.
The vast majority of illegal child labourers in Italy (the law prohibits the employment of those under fifteen years of age) are immigrant minors, notably from North Africa, the Philippines, Albania and, especially, China. According to ISTAT, the number of foreign minors in Italy increased by 48.7 per cent (to 186,753). between January 1997 and January 1999. The best estimates put the number of illegal child labourers at 50,000. The number of non-European children in Italian schools increased by 22.4 per cent between 1997/8 and 1998/9 (to 82,367) (Centro studi investimenti sociale, CENSIS).
The crime of trafficking in persons is likely almost wholly perpetrated on illegal immigrants, usually women and girls from the Balkan countries, Eastern Europe and Nigeria. The government estimates that the number of foreign women involved in prostitution varies between 30,000 and 35,000, and that some 1,500 of these were trafficked forcibly.
According to a report issued by Caritas - based on government data - at the end of 1998 there were 1,240,721 foreigners legally resident in Italy (2.2 per cent of the population), an increase of 13 per cent on the previous year, of whom 13.5 per cent were citizens of EU countries and 8.1 per cent of other countries of the developed world. The breakdown by continent of origin was as follows: Europe 39.2 per cent, Africa 28.3 per cent, Americas 13.9 per cent, Asia 18.2 per cent, Pacific Islands 0.4 per cent, and others 0.1 per cent. The largest immigrant groups were from Morocco (131,406 persons), Albania (83,807), the Philippines (61,285), USA (59,572) and Tunisia (48,909), and other notable groups hailing from China, Germany, Senegal, Romania, Sri Lanka, Egypt, France, Peru and Poland.
Caritas, an organization associated with the Catholic Church, reported that, at the end of 1998, there were some 320,000 foreigners in Italy without leave to remain. The Commission on Foreigners in Italy agrees that the number of irregular immigrants in the country runs to the hundreds of thousands.
As for refugees, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that, at the end of 1998, there were a total of 68,300 refugees and 'others of concern' residing in Italy, 17.6 per cent of whom were legal residents. Italy received a total of 7,112 asylum applications in 1998 (an increase of 380 per cent over 1997), mainly from refugees from former Yugoslav republics, Iraq and Turkey; of the cases decided, refugee status was granted to 1,026 applicants (29.6 per cent) and 2,393 requests were rejected. The UNHCR also states that Italy is at present hosting 5,816 persons who arrived from the Federal Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in 1999.
Caritas reported that, as of November 1999, some 24,000 immigrants were resident in Italy 'for humanitarian reasons' and in possession of a work permit, and that there were about 7,700 asylum-seekers in the country.
Immigrant Roma (45,000-60,000), predominantly from the former Yugoslav republics, face considerable discrimination. They are often precluded from obtaining residence or work permits as they are without valid identity documents from their country of origin, and are subject to deportation. Without a legal source of income they often turn to begging or petty crime. In the wake of the 1999 war in Kosovo, some 7,000 ethnic Roma entered Italy, most of whom are precluded from obtaining residence or work permits, and face deportation.
Much attention has also been devoted in recent years to the continuing arrival of illegal Albanian immigrants, whose transit across the Adriatic to southern Italian shores is often arranged by criminal organizations. In December 1997 the government began the process of closing the camps housing Albanian refugees after a determination was reached (by the International Red Cross among others) that sufficient civil authority was restored in Albania and that there was no longer a humanitarian emergency.
In early 1998 the arrival of 1,200 mainly Kurdish immigrants from Turkey and Iraq in southern Italian ports led to criticism from Germany that Italy was providing a gateway to Europe for thousands of illegal immigrants. One such Kurdish immigrant, Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), left the country before his asylum application was processed, and was, in June 1999, sentenced to death in a Turkish court. A court in Rome granted him political asylum in Italy in October 1999 as a protest against the carrying out of the death penalty (see Turkey).
Partly designed to assuage these sorts of fears among EU members, new legislation on immigration was passed by the government in February 1998 in anticipation of Italy becoming a full member of the Schengen agreement on 1 April 1998. The measures include the establishment of tighter controls on immigration and the granting of automatic resident status to immigrants who have lived in Italy for over six years. The law provides legal immigrants with more social and employment rights, and calls for a crackdown on criminal organizations illegally exporting immigrant labour. It also ends the much-criticized practice of granting those who arrive in Italy without proper papers fifteen days to regularize their position (allowing them time to 'disappear'), and instead grants the authorities the power to intern immigrants for thirty days while their cases are decided. The AN and FI opposed the legislation.
In July 1998 the interior ministry reported that some 3,000 illegal immigrants from North Africa (mainly from Tunisia and Algeria but also from war-torn Sierra Leone), presumably unaware that immigration laws had been tightened, had entered the country in the first three weeks of July, principally at Sicily and the other islands near the African coast. In several of the detention centres in southern Italy - established under the new legislation for holding illegal immigrants for a maximum of thirty days - riots broke out as detainees attempted to escape and avoid repatriation. The following month some fifty immigrants were released and given two weeks to leave the country and hundreds of others were released when the thirty-day maximum holding period had elapsed. Italy signed an agreement with Tunisia in August in which the Tunisian authorities agreed to step up coastal patrols and to take back any of its citizens caught trying to enter Italy illegally. Similar agreements had already been signed with Morocco and Albania.
In October 1998 Prime Minister Prodi announced plans to regularize numbers of illegal immigrants gradually, ruling that 38,000 residency permits would be granted in 1999. In February 1999, however, the Massimo D'Alema government announced an amendment to the measures extending the number of illegal immigrants who would acquire full residence status to all those who had applied for it, as long as they could show that they had a job and accommodation, and that they had been in Italy since March 1998. The amendment increases the number eligible from 38,000 to some 270,000, and has been heavily criticized by the opposition parties (for a petition organized in protest by LN, see Parties, organizations, movements).
In late March 1999 thousands of Kosovar refugees, made homeless by the conflict in Kosovo, began crossing the border into Albania and Macedonia. As so much attention had previously gone into policing the Albanian coast by Italians in order to stem the flow of immigration, emergency aid was able to be mobilized quickly. Three weeks into the crisis, when the UNHCR had only managed to instal forty-five aid workers in Albania, Italy had 900 persons there operating camps, hospitals and other services. During the crisis Italy made no formal commitment to accept refugees but temporarily housed 6,000 Kosovars who had fled to Macedonia at an inactive military base in Sicily.
Italy still lacks a specific law on political asylum although
an asylum bill prepared in 1998, approved by the Senate, is still pending before
the Chamber of Deputies.
Mainstream political life
Following approval in December 1997 by the Chamber of Deputies of a bill to allow the male line of Italy's former royal family, the House of Savoy, to return from exile in Switzerland, the heir Vittorio Emanuele sparked controversy when, during an interview with Italian state television, he said he felt no obligation to apologize for his grandfather's signing of the racial laws legislated by Mussolini in 1938, adding that 'the laws weren't all that terrible anyway'. His comments provoked an outcry from Italy's Jewish community who called for the bill to be dropped and the 1946 provision barring the Savoy male line from entering the country to be retained. Emanuele later backtracked: he called the racial laws a 'grave error' and said that his grandfather had been forced to sign them. As the bill continued to languish in a Senate committee, Vittorio Emanuele's frustration led him to write an open letter to 'his Italian compatriots' in July 1999 in which he threatened to file suit - demanding a right, as he put it, 'denied neither to refugees nor criminals' - in the European Court of Human Rights, a threat which he carried out in December 1999.
Alleanza nazionale (AN, National Alliance)
Gianfranco Fini's AN forms a key part of the PL centre-right bloc, which went into opposition after the general election of April 1996. Formally established in January 1995, when the neo-Fascist Movimento sociale italiano (MSI, Italian Social Movement) dissolved and reconstituted itself as a more respectable right-wing party, the AN still counts among its ranks most of the MSI's former members.
The original MSI was founded in 1946 to succeed the dictator Benito Mussolini's then-outlawed Fascist Party. In 1973 it merged with another group to become the Movimento sociale italiano-Destra nazionale (MSI-DN, Italian Social Movement-National Right) and remained on the far-right fringes of mainstream politics until the early 1990s, when corruption scandals undermined and then destroyed Italy's traditional political balance. Fini steered the MSI-DN along a more moderate course that eventually led to the foundation of the AN. In the March 1994 general election, the AN joined the victorious PL coalition with Berlusconi's FI and Bossi's LN (which has since broken away), and AN/MSI members were included in Berlusconi's cabinet. In the April 1996 elections the AN received 15.7 per cent of the vote nationwide, but higher local percentages in central and southern Italy; in one district of the central Lazio region, the AN polled 30.9 per cent. In the April/May 1997 local elections the AN increased its vote in a number of towns, primarily at the expense of Berlusconi's FI, although in the November 1997 local elections the party's overall share of the vote fell to 16.7 per cent, in many places to between 6 and 9 per cent. In the Rome elections in December 1998 (when the turnout was a record low of 43 per cent), the AN took 51.1 per cent of the vote in the run-off. In the European elections in June 1999 the AN came third with 10.3 per cent of the vote, winning 9 MEPs.
Without altogether abandoning the neo-Fascist origins of his party, Fini has tried for several years to shift the AN towards the centre and imbue it with mainstream liberal conservatism. Fini also continues efforts to organize a trip to Israel, as a means of demonstrating the AN's repudiation of antisemitism and pro-Jewish sympathies. In December 1997 he announced that he had asked the European parliament to do its utmost in pressing EU governments to return the assets of Holocaust victims.
In February 1998, speaking before the AN party congress in Verona, he claimed that his party had shed the last vestiges of its Fascist past and was now a 'modern, open, right-wing party' in which ideology had no role. In his closing speech Fini said that the 'many Italians who were deported [during the Second World War] simply because they were Jews' should never be forgotten. The congress also voted to adopt a new, benign symbol, the ladybird. However, there was also evidence at the congress that some party members were likely to be disgruntled by these gestures, such as the petitions that reportedly circulated calling for the release of Erich Priebke (see Legacy of the Second World War). In an interview during the congress Fini acknowledged that some AN party members were nostalgic for the past: 'But they are a small minority and do not make policy.'
While the AN political hierarchy officially tows Fini's moderate line, throwbacks to the party's Fascist past, xenophobic traditions and other anti-democratic attitudes crop up from time to time. AN municipal councillors name streets, squares or parks in honour of personalities from the Fascist era and party members can be observed using the Roman salute and singing Fascist songs, as they did at the funeral of Benito Mussolini's son Vittorio in 1997 and other recent official party events. The AN is also supported by some more extreme factions outside the party; its candidate in the November 1997 Rome council elections, Teodoro Buontempo, in an attempt to demonstrate his 'tolerance' of Roma, declared that if Jews had been able to have their own districts - widely interpreted as a reference to the former Jewish ghetto - then it should also be possible for Roma to have their own districts. The fact that AN leaders generally take no action over such incidents could be the result of their unwillingness to alienate their hard-line supporters and provoke them into abandoning the AN in favour of the more radical right, in particular the Movimento sociale italiano-Fiamma tricolore (see below).
The party's youth wing Azione giovani (Youth Action) maintains a web-site that promotes the writings of Julius Evola (see Antisemitic legacy), the founder of the Romanian Iron Guard, Corneliu Codreanu, and Belgian Nazi (and neo-Nazi leader) Léon Degrelle. The British anti-fascist magazine Searchlight (December 1998) reported that, in honour of the centenary of Evola's birth, the AN published a thirty-page special magazine on the Italian racial theorist which played down his racism.
Lega nord per l'indipendènza di Padania (LN, Northern League for the Independence of Padania)
The LN, led by Umberto Bossi, has traditionally accused the government of imposing a tax burden on Italy's northern regions while channelling excessive resources into the South which, the LN claims, is parasitic and controlled by the Mafia. For many years the LN has pressed for constitutional changes to accommodate a federal structure and to grant northern and central regions fiscal autonomy. Having threatened secession from the rest of the country, the LN is now consolidating its strategy for independence by forging a territorial identity and so-called Padanian nationalism. (The so-called Federal Republic of Padania was unilaterally established by the party in September 1996; Mantua was chosen as its capital city, and a provisional government was elected.)
Aside from the usual anti-Italian polemic which is central to the LN's political rhetoric, the party also calls on studies of indigenous cultures - and differences between northern and southern peoples - which imbues their anti-southern arguments with a racial dimension. LN's propaganda depicts immigrants as 'natural' bearers of disease, crime and prostitution.
The LN acts as a political reference point for the existing xenophobia of a section of the population, and the party expresses anti-immigrant views that are similar to those of the more radical far-right parties (for extra-parliamentary parties that advocate an independent northern Italian state, see below). LN has supported parliamentary and governmental initiatives to suspend the settlement of Roma and immigrants from developing countries, and the laws which regulate their presence. Such a political strategy has, on the one hand, legitimated and reinforced current xenophobic attitudes, while on the other attracted particular types of activists and supporters. The neo-populist Bossi's charismatic leadership, his use of provocative language and a frequent appeal to violence (see Legal matters) make him attractive to a significant portion of the petit bourgeoisie. In such a climate some anti-Jewish prejudice is evident.
At the LN's third congress in February 1997, the party moderated its demand for the secession of the North from the rest of the country, and Bossi referred to the need for 'consensual secession' rather than a breakaway. In May 1997 the party claimed that some 5 million northern voters had participated in its unofficial referendum for an independent northern Italy, and that 99 per cent had supported the party's notional republic of Padania. The referendum was deemed invalid because it was not organized in accordance with legal criteria, and sufficient guarantees of control over voters and count were not provided.
The LN has announced plans for the establishment of parallel state and civic institutions, such as a judiciary, a police force - the Padanian National Guard subsequently became an organization of 'committed' citizens so as not to incur legal penalties - forestry officials, schools with distinctive curricula and local teachers' associations, sports clubs, environmental groups and beauty contests. In some municipal and regional administrations controlled by a majority of LN councillors, bilingual street signs (in Italian and the local dialect) have been erected, and attempts have been made to establish local ordinances which reflect the outcome of the May 1997 referendum.
In September 1997 some 15,000 LN supporters gathered in Venice at the end of a three-day march in support of the Federal Padanian Republic. Bossi urged all residents of Padania to stop paying taxes to the central government. A counter-demonstration in Milan days later attracted hundreds of thousands.
In October 1997 the LN announced democratic elections for a Padanian government and subsequently installed a 'provisional government'. The 200-seat constituent assembly held its first session in November 1997. Among guests at the opening ceremony was Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the ultra-nationalist Liberalno-demokraticheskaya partiya Rossii (LDPR, Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, see Russia).
Electorally the LN is the most popular party after the two main centre-left and centre-right coalitions. In the 1996 elections it gained 10 per cent of the vote nationwide. In the local elections of April/May 1997 and November 1997 it suffered its worst ever electoral result, and the party lost its majority in a number of towns and cities, including Milan (which it had previously held for four years), Pavia, Gorizia and even Padania's capital Mantua. In contrast, its support strengthened in a number of smaller provincial towns, and it won the mayorships in Pordenone and Lecco. In sum, the LN has 200 mayors, 58 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 27 seats in the Senate.
In the June 1999 European elections the LN polled 4.5 per cent of the vote, winning 4 MEPs.
In June 1997 two LN senators Petroni and Manara spoke of the 'impairment which derives from religious traditions practised even in Italy'. They were referring to the infibulation of Arab children and to circumcision 'widespread even in highly-civilized cultures such as the Jewish community', and asked whether such practices were incompatible with the Italian legal system, and whether preventive measures should be adopted.
The following month another LN senator, Antonio Serena, commenting in the Senate on events surrounding the trial of the two former SS officials, Priebke and Hass (see Legacy of the Second World War), denounced the 'Jewish lobby' in Rome which 'unremittingly spreads hate at every opportunity'.
The element of racial xenophobia and a sometimes thinly
disguised antisemitism in LN rhetoric seemed to become more apparent in the
party's petition campaign, begun in February 1999, calling for a referendum on
the government's amendment of the same month that allowed more asylum-seekers to
regularize their status (see Racism and xenophobia). The official text of the
call for the 'uomo o microbo' referendum - literally 'man or microbe' but better
translated as 'man or mouse' as it is a call to (northern) Italians to resist
the international conspiracy that wants to destroy their individuality and
cultural traditions - contained extracts from an interview with Umberto Bossi,
of which the following is representative: 'Question: In whose interests is the
transformation of our society into a multiracial society? Answer: American
bankers and Freemasons are trying to take control of the global economy. To
succeed in this, they must transform the societies of all nations into
multiracial societies which would offer less resistance to colonial enslavement
by the American motherland.' The referendum petition reportedly was remarkably
successful, surpassing (by April 1999) the original target of half a million
signatures. According to an article in Ha Keillah of June 1999 (a
bimonthly newspaper of the Jewish community of Turin), an 'unofficial' version
of the call for a referendum circulated that was more explicit in its naming of
the ringleaders of the international conspiracy as 'Jewish bankers', and
included references to the 'Elders of Zion' and other persistent
The Movimento sociale italiano-Fiamma Tricolore (MSI-FT, Italian Social Movement-Tricolour Flame), led by former MSI official Pino Rauti, was formed in 1994 by a small faction of neo-Fascists who rejected the transformation of the MSI into the AN and continued to support an undiluted neo-Fascist agenda.
The MSI-FT organizes demonstrations against drug trafficking and prostitution allegedly controlled by immigrants. It supports Italy's withdrawal from NATO and campaigns against American military bases. It poses as a 'party of order', in the same vein as the AN, although as a parliamentary party, it serves as a reference point for a number of far-right fringe groups, particularly in the centre and south of the country.
In the general election of 1996 MSI-FT gained 1.7 per cent of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies and 2.3 per cent of the vote for the Senate, enough to secure one seat in the upper house. Its success in the 1997 local elections is difficult to summarize owing to the disparity between small, medium and large towns and because of the various symbols under which such small parties stood. The party won a number of mayorships in small towns and one in the medium-sized town of Chieti in Abruzzo (about 50,000 inhabitants), where Nicola Cucullo won 59 per cent on a slate which also included the candidates from the centre-right PL. Among candidates not elected was Sergio Gozzoli, a regular contributor to the newspaper L'uomo libero (Free Man, see Publications and media) and regarded as one of the chief ideologues behind Italy's neo-Nazi skinhead movement. MSI-FT won one MEP in the European elections of June 1999, polling 1.6 per cent of the vote.
In December 1999 a demonstration held by MSI-FT in Rome nominally to protest government policies reportedly turned out to be an antisemitic rally.
Extra-parliamentary far-right organizations are extremely fragmented, and groups that once operated on a national or regional scale have tended to disintegrate, leaving numerous, tiny groupuscules in their wake. Until the recent apparent revival of far-right militancy, these have mostly acted as cultural associations and clubs whose influence is limited to a single city or neighbourhood, school or university. This fragmentation of the far right has occurred partly as a result of the 1993 law against racial, ethnic and religious discrimination (the Mancino law) - which led to the closure of several organizations and to the prosecution of many of their members - and partly due to broader political and social changes, including the increasing depoliticization of young people.
These changes have also affected the neo-Nazi skinhead movement, which, until 1993, involved some 1,000 active members in groups based mostly in the centre and north of Italy, such as the Movimento politico occidentale (Western Political Movement), Base autonoma (Autonomous Base), Veneto fronte skinheads (Veneto Skinhead Front) and Azione skinheads (Action Skinheads). Neo-Nazi skinheads in Italy, as elsewhere, tend to be the most violent on Italy's far right.
Activities of the Movimento politico occidentale and Base autonoma have mostly been confined in recent years to commemorations of Nazi personalities, such as flyposters or small rallies honouring Erich Priebke (see Legacy of the Second World War). The Veneto fronte skinheads and Azione skinheads, which operate in the Veneto and Lombardy, have been more active and have links with groups abroad via the Internet.
However, the former leader of the Movimento politico occidentale, Maurizio Boccacci, acquitted in February 1997 on charges of inciting racial hatred (see Legal matters), was reported in la Repubblica (September 1999) to be planning to relaunch the group despite a government ban on its activities. In an interview with the mainstream daily, Boccacci described himself as 'fascist, Catholic traditionalist, anti-Zionist, racist'. In another interview with Corriere della Sera following the two bombings in Rome in November 1999 (see Antisemitic incidents), he repeated this self-description and denied involvement with the incidents as follows: 'If I do something I do it openly. I would have devastated that cinema. I would have occupied it. But bomb it, no. Bombs belong to a sad past.'
The Fronte nazionale, led by veteran neo-Fascist Franco Freda, was founded in 1990 to counter 'racial mixing', 'cosmo-politics', Zionism, and the influence of the USA and international finance. In 1995 Freda and forty-five other Fronte nazionale members were convicted under the 1952 Scelba law prohibiting the reconstitution of a Fascist party and sentenced to prison terms of various lengths. Since then the organization has virtually ceased to exist. Nonetheless, L'antibancor, the movement's economic and financial periodical, continues to be published, and Freda remains head of Edizioni di Ar, the publishing house he founded in Padova, which has issued numerous racist, antisemitic and Holocaust-denying publications (see Holocaust denial and Publications and media).
Freda's group should not be confused with another group of the same name, the Fronte nazionale, founded in September 1997 by a breakaway faction of the MSI-FT and led by Adriano Tilgher. This group, with some 100-150 members and sympathizers based almost exclusively in Rome, follows a political line similar to that of Le Pen's French Front national (see France). Tilgher was formerly a member of the now-defunct terrorist organization, Avanguardia nazionale, and is a veteran of the Italian neo-Fascist scene.
Another organization is Forza nuova (New Force) - recently founded by Roberto Fiore, former leader of the national-revolutionary group Terza posizione (Third Position), and Massimo Morsello, former leader of the Nuclei armati ivoluzionari (Armed Revolutionary Cells) - as the Italian section of the International Third Position (ITP, see below and United Kingdom); Fiore has claimed that the group now boasts 25,000 members. From the early 1980s until recently, Fiore and Morsello (and other Italian colleagues) lived in London, having escaped convictions for being members of armed, terrorist organizations. The British anti-fascist magazine Searchlight first reported their presence in London in the 1980s and has been campaigning to bring them to justice ever since. The magazine claims that, despite the pair's having been found guilty of terrorist crimes in Italy, they have been protected by both the British and the Italian secret services for favours rendered over the years. The two have become millionaires through a series of UK-based business ventures, run somewhat irregularly but never investigated, and have been well connected over the years to the British far right, especially through the 'Catholic charities', the St George Educational Trust and the Trust of St Michael the Archangel. Following exposés of the pair in British newspapers, such as the Mail on Sunday (19 September 1999) and the Evening Standard, Fiore and Morsello were arrested and returned to Italy where the former reportedly faces new charges relating to his links to the Hammerskins (see below).
Fiore and Morsello were named in November 1999 as the funders of a project to establish an all-white nationalist community and training ground for 'voluntary soldiers' in Los Pedriches in Spain, a largely abandoned village sixty miles from Valencia (see Spain). The project - which has gained the support of local neo-Nazis - is almost certainly doomed to failure as it will probably be denied planning permission by the local authorities. Much of the money for the project reportedly came from the London-based 'charity', St Michael the Archangel, of which Fiore is a trustee. In December 1999 the Charities Commission in Britain froze the funds of the two charities and relaunched an investigation into their activities and links (a previous investigation had found nothing amiss).
Since his return to Italy, Fiore has enjoyed a certain amount of publicity, including an interview published in the magazine D'Expresso and another broadcast on mainstream television in the first days of December 1999. On 5 December, the headquarters of New Force was bombed; theories as to the perpetrators include suggestions that the bomb was self-inflicted to provide a smokescreen for the group's own militant activities, as well as claims that it was planted by opponents on the far right.
New Force's manifesto suggests an ideological convergence between the far right and Catholic fundamentalism. Political objectives include the defence of the family, a high birth-rate to bring about a national revival, the repatriation of immigrants and the abolition of liberticidali laws (literally, laws that murder liberty), such as the 1952 Scelba law prohibiting the reconstitution of a Fascist party, or the 1993 Mancino law, characterized by the far right as an infringement of freedom of speech. The group has been active in a campaign against Roma refugees in Rome, alongside members of the more extreme wings of AN and MSI-FT (see above). It has also distributed propaganda attacking the Jewish origins of Rome's mayor, Francesco Rutelli.
New Force flags were waved, amongst several antisemitic banners, at a Rome basketball game in December 1999 (see Antisemitic incidents).
In the past few years police investigations and house-searches in twenty Italian cities have revealed the existence of a previously unknown organization, the Hammerskins, based in Rome but with branches in southern towns as well as international links. It has a hierarchical, military-type structure, its propaganda is marked by symbolic and cultural neo-Nazi references, and it has allegedly been responsible for a string of violent acts across the country including the desecration of Jewish property and memorials to victims of the SS. In May 1998 an anti-terrorist police squad obtained warrants for nine men, eight of whom were taken into custody; the ninth - reportedly Roberto Fiore, a financial backer of the group (see Searchlight, July 1998 and above) - was described by police as 'living a life of ease in London'. In April 1999 a judge ordered a trial for twenty-five neo-Nazis associated with the group, now expected to begin in January 2000. According to Searchlight (November 1999), the Hammerskins is a wing of New Force, and its members are among those Lazio football fans waving antisemitic banners at recent matches (see Antisemitic incidents).
A rally planned for 28 October 1999 by New Force to mark the anniversary of Mussolini's march on Rome on that day in 1922 was banned following a series of police raids on fascist activists two days before the march. The raids were the result of an investigation that began in May 1999 when a labour da y march in Rome was disrupted by gangs of fascist activists.
In parts of northern Italy groupings have emerged which suggest a overlap between the ideologies of the LN, Catholic fundamentalist movements and the far right. In May 1997 eight self-styled soldiers of the Veneto serenissimo governo (Most Serene Venetian Government) occupied the sixteenth-century Campanile (bell tower) in St Marks Square in Venice for seven hours, unfurling the flag of the Lion of St Mark. The men were reportedly right-wing Catholic fundamentalists and the action was meant to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the fall of the autonomous Venetian republic in May 1797. They were charged with hijacking, illegal possession of arms, occupation of a public place and making armed threats. Bossi described the incident as 'madness' and suggested that the accused were agents provocateurs out to discredit the LN. In July 1997 the eight were imprisoned for up to six years and fined some US$100,000.
Also in May 1997 a leaflet, circulated in Verona and signed 'Gruppo di fuòco Ernst Nikisch', claimed that Italian unification in 1861 had incorporated the region of the Veneto because of an 'international Masonic conspiracy' and that 60 per cent of the region's land had been taken over and sold to 'Italians and Jews'.
Individual far-right sympathizers continue to carry out attacks
and other acts of intimidation, and far-right groups among football fans are
also apparent (see Racism and xenophobia and Antisemitic incidents). Such
activity is largely confined to Rome.
Antisemitic incidents have been on the decline over the last few years and the number of reported incidents remains low: about fifty cases each year, half the annual average of a decade ago. Some incidents, however, are presumably never reported.
The most frequent expressions of antisemitism occur in the form of offensive letters and telephone calls to Jewish individuals or institutions, graffiti, articles in far-right or other fringe journals espousing anti-Jewish notions, and the displaying of anti-Jewish banners at football matches.
Anti-Jewish prejudice manifests itself in references to a supposed 'Jewish lobby', to the fundamental irrelevance of Jews to society and to their privileged role in economic spheres. This stereotype has surfaced (albeit with a totally pro-Jewish emphasis), for instance, during the 'Nazi gold' debates about the unclaimed Swiss bank accounts of deported Jews (see Switzerland).
The stereotype also plays a major role in one of the principal ideological enemies of the far right: mondialismo. While this notion (which appears in far-right literature in many languages) literally means 'globalization' its widely understood meaning on the far right includes not merely the encroachments of a continually expanding trans-national capitalism but a sinister plan behind those encroachments, directed against the traditional, against the national and against the ethnically homogeneous. The engineers of the plan, while not always specifically said to be the Jews, may also be identified as international bankers, Freemasons or members of some vague secret, planet-wide cabal.
Recently a small number of notable incidents have occurred in Rome. In November 1999 two bombs with antisemitic overtones exploded in the city. The first, a pipe bomb, damaged the Museum of the Liberation, a traditional target for neo-Fascists and the building which during the war housed the SS interrogation centre (run at one stage by Erich Priebke, see Legacy of the Second World War). Responsibility for the bomb was claimed by a group calling itself the Movimento anti-sionista. Anti-Jewish material was found at the site, including items proclaiming that Italy was being run by the so-called ZOG (Zionist Occupatioin Government).
The second bomb, claimed by the same group, was defused before it went off. It had been placed at the Nuovo-Olympio cinema in Rome which was showing an Israeli film about the trial of Adolf Eichmann, sponsored by the Jewish community. No one was injured in either incident.
More minor recent incidents include the November 1999 scrawling of swastikas and abusive slogans on the El Al counter at the Rome airport, and the receipt of an envelope containing a bullet and an antisemitic message by the Balbo synagogue (Rome) in December 1999.
Football matches, however, have recently been the most notable occasions for expressions of antisemitism. During the Roma-Lazio football derby at the Olympic stadium in November 1998, for instance, antisemitic banners were waved (largely by Lazio supporters), including swastiskas and other messages denouncing Jews in general and Rome's chief rabbi in particular, one reading 'Auschwitz is your homeland and the ovens are your home'. Before the 1999 derby (in November) police confiscated sixty-nine offensive banners. In October 1999 Lazio were in fact fined by the Italian Football Association for the banners, on display by their supporters at several matches (see Parties, organizations, movements). Amos Luzzatto, president of the Italian Jewish community, called for play to be halted in games where racist or antisemitic banners are waved. The minister for sport, Giovanna Melandri, said that football clubs and the government were giving themselves one or two months to isolate racist intolerance at stadiums before taking the decision to stage matches without spectators.
Spokespersons for the government and the Jewish community have suggested links between the increased antisemitic intimidation at football matches and the two bombs planted in Rome in November 1999. Reports said that the bombs resembled explosive devices set off in the stands at matches.
The worrying possibility of these incidents at football matches
inspiring the same activity elsewhere was raised in December 1999 when fans at a
basketball game at the Palaeur arena in Rome waved antisemitic banners and
flags. One slogan read: 'Pistoia [a Tuscan city] and Rome, one heart, one oven.'
Also in evidence were flags of New Force (see Parties, organizations,
Reports of Catholic antisemitism continue to be relatively infrequent. Those that do arise are usually concerned with church sermons or articles in journals drawing on traditional religious prejudice. According to many Catholic academics, however, a large number of the clergy still adhere to the traditional theological view of Jews, keeping alive many anti-Jewish assumptions. This tendency persists despite the many pro-Jewish papal declarations and the commitment of numerous Jewish-Christian friendship groups to foster a more positive image of Judaism (see Legacy of the Second World War and Countering antisemitism).
The journal Sodalitium, published by the Istituto mater boni consiglii in Verrua Savoia, near Turin, and edited by Don Francesco Ricossa, mixes antisemitism with opposition to Israel. It opposes the Vatican's pro-Jewish gestures and has published articles on ritual murder 'as practised by the Jews'. It is usually published four times a year - although only two issues were published in 1997 - and is distributed to some 3,000 subscribers, mainly in the centre-north of the country. The journal, founded by a small group which broke away from the Rimini-based Fraternità sacerdotale di san Pio X (Sacred Brotherhood of St Pius X, see also Belgium) founded originally in France by the late Monsignor Marcel Léfèbvre - rejects the authority of the present Pope.
Since 1995 the Centro librario sodalitium has supported Sodalitium with a number of publications on similar themes and has published three books concerning Jews: Misteri e segreti del B'nai B'rith (Mysteries and Secrets of the B'nai B'rith) by E. Ratier (published in 1995 and relaunched in 1997 in various venues across Italy by the editor-in-chief of the journal), Omelie contro gli ebrei (Homilies against the Jews) by San Giovanni Crisostomo and Storia ebraica e giudaismo: il peso di tre millenni (The History of Jews and Judaism: The Burden of Three Thousand Years) by the Israeli Israel Shahak with a preface by Gore Vidal. The latter titles were both published in 1997.
La tradizione cattolica (Catholic Tradition), the bulletin of the Fraternità sacerdotale di san Pio X is of the same leaning as Sodalitium. The fraternity, mostly engaged in religious activity and restoring the use of Latin in the traditional liturgy, organized a trip in 1997 to the Italian locations linked to 'the three martyrs who were victims of Jewish ritual murder'. La tradizione cattolica, which is anti-modern and anti-ecumenical, ran an article in 1996 that referred to 'Jewish Masonry in the B'nai B'rith' and to the supposed international power of the Jewish lobby, and in 1997 carried reviews of anti-Jewish books concerned with an alleged worldwide, anti-Catholic Jewish conspiracy (see Publications and media).
Other journals within the traditionalist Catholic movement that have published anti-Jewish articles include: the Bréscia-based monthly Chiesa viva (Living Church), edited by Don Luigi Villa; the bi-monthly Il silenzio di Sparta (Silence of Sparta), edited by Maurizio Blondet and published by Edizione il Minotauro in Milan; Ex novo, founded in Milan as a quarterly in 1995 and edited by Giulio Ferrari; and Teologica, founded in 1996 in Udine by Edizione Segno and edited by Piero Mantero.
An example of the persistence of age-old anti-Jewish stereotypes can be found in the book by Vitaliano Mattioli, Gli ebrei e la chiesa: 1933-1945 (The Jews and the Church: 1933-1945), published in 1997 by the Milan-based mainstream publisher Mursia. In his book, Mattioli, a priest and a lecturer at two Catholic universities, defends the reputation of Pope Pius XII and characterizes the Jews, with their congenital defects and vices, as being responsible for their own victimization. Mattioli often cites the writings of authors such as Preziosi, Malynski, Evola or De Vries De Heekelingen. Following protests from both Jews and Catholics pointing to the book's 'obscene errors', Mursia withdrew it from circulation. In November 1998 the book was apparently still on sale in several locations in Milan.
Pro-Jewish attitudes within the Church are rejected by a small number of fringe fundamentalist groups who oppose these concessions, especially those that date from the 1960s papacy of John XXIII. These groups adhere to classical accusations of Jewish deicide, the occult power of Jews, links with Freemasonry and anti-Christian conspiracies, and believe the innovations effected by the Second Vatican Council go against tradition. They deny being antisemitic, and only sometimes define themselves as 'anti-Zionists'. While these groups command little support, they are quite active, occasionally publishing small periodicals, participating in conferences and small demonstrations.
The Militia Christi (Militia of Christ) in Rome is one such
group. Following an attempted arson attack on its headquarters in February 1997,
the group suggested that the culprits were part of the 'anti-Christian occult
power of Zionism' and 'the extreme left which knowingly or not is at the service
of abominable, intolerant, defamatory and violent Zionism'. In May 1999
antisemitic pamphlets issued by Militia Christi were reportedly circulating in
Rome. Another group, Sodalizio cattolico (Catholic Fellowship), was set up by
former staff members of Sodalitium. Under the name Coordinamento
cattolico-tradizionista (Catholic Traditional Co-ordination), the group
relaunched the book Misteri e segreti del B'nai B'rith (Mysteries and
Secrets of B'nai B'rith, see above) together with members of Militia Christi and
Holocaust denial and the media that espouse it have very limited exposure, but the topic does surface from time to time in the mainstream media, largely in articles and editorials examining the phenomenon in the course of criticizing it. Occasional letters to the editors of mainstream publications have shown that Holocaust-denial theories have been embraced by some people, albeit a very small minority.
Recent trials in France against Holocaust-deniers, where Holocaust denial is illegal have alarmed Italian deniers who fear that such legislation could soon also be passed in Italy. Proceedings against members of the far right, largely for racial discrimination and attempted reconstitution of a Fascist party (see Legal matters), have also muted their arguments about historical details, such as the gas chambers and the use of Zyklon B, and diverted their attention to a defence of free speech.
Holocaust-denial theories are generally confined to far-right books and periodicals. Two small publishing houses in particular - Franco Freda's Edizioni di Ar in Padua (see Parties, organizations, movements and Legal matters) and Edizioni la Sfinge in Parma - have published books denying the Holocaust, including works by the Italian Holocaust-denier Carlo Mattogno, who is, incidentally, listed as an editorial advisor to the Institute for Historical Review (see USA). In 1996 Edizioni di Ar published two works by Mattogno, Intervista sull'olocausto (Interview about the Holocaust) and Dilettanti allo sbaraglio (Dilettantes to the Slaughter). There are currently twenty-six Holocaust-denial publications available from small Italian publishing houses (see Publications and media).
In addition to these far-right publishers, the formerly left-wing Casa Editrice Graphos in Genoa has published several Holocaust-denying works by Cesare Saletta as well as translations of Paul Rassinier's The Lie of Ulysses, Pierre Guillaume's Jean-Claude Pressac, Alleged Demolisher of Holocaust Revisionism and Roger Garaudy's Les Mythes fondateurs de la politique israélienne (Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, see France). Graphos also published Mattogno's Rassinier, il revisionism olocaustico e il loro critico Florent Brayard (Rassinier, Holocaust Revisionism and Their Critic Florent Brayard).
A forty-five page pamphlet, La menzogna di Guida: il perché di un libro scomodo (The Lie of Judas: The Reasons for an Awkward Book), published by the Milan-based Società Editrice Barbarossa, questions the Holocaust and promotes Garaudy's book (see above). It first appeared in 1997.
Holocaust-denial theories can also be found in journals such as Avanguardia, L'uomo libero and Orion (see Publications and media).
Recent years have seen an increase in Holocaust-denial web-sites. One Italian-language site, the web-page of the Associazione per il revisionismo storico (Association for Historical Revision), is largely European in focus. In October 1999 it included a long interview with Robert Faurisson (see France) and articles on Garaudy, Rassinier and Mattogno, and claimed 3,407 visitors since it was established. It also provided a link to a page still largely under construction, La Net-Libreria, which offered 'revisionist' texts in Italian by mail order from an address in Genoa.
In recent years there have been few instances of antisemitic prejudice expressed in the mainstream national or local media. The few cases that have occurred referred to the presumed power of the 'Jewish lobby' or made particular note of the Jewish identity of people being investigated for criminal activities.
Nonetheless, antisemitic material continues to be a feature of several small-circulation political journals, most of them linked with far-right circles or with Catholic fundamentalism (see Religious antisemitism and Holocaust denial). Three of these publications are noteworthy: Avanguardia, Orion and L'uomo libero.
Avanguardia (Vanguard), a monthly founded in 1983, is edited by Leonardo Fonte and based in Trapani, Sicily (with two regional offices). With a monthly print-run of 1,000 copies, it opposes mondialismo (see Antisemitic incidents) and Freemasonry, is supportive of Iran and ideologically close to the national-socialist inheritance of the Second World War, in particular to the Fascist Italian Social Republic of 1943-5. Of the fringe publications, it remains one of the most virulently antisemitic. Similar to Avanguardia, but even more marginal, is La sentinella d'Italia (Italian Sentinel), a monthly newsletter founded in 1947 and edited by Antonio Guerin.
Milan-based Orion, a monthly with a circulation of 2,000 copies, was founded in 1984 and is distributed mainly in northern and central Italy. Under the directorship of Alessandra Colla, the magazine is associated with the Synergies européennes network (SE, European Synergy). It calls itself 'national-communist' and seeks to collaborate with both the radical right and the radical left, supporting a 'red-brown' alliance between ultra-nationalists and hard-line communists. It champions the safeguarding of cultural, religious and traditional distinctions, and opposes mondialismo. Recent articles have commented on the use of the 'myth' of the Holocaust as a basis for post-war Jewish identity. It is published by the Società Editrice Barbarossa.
L'uomo libero (Free Man), founded in 1980, is published by the Milan-based Edizioni dell'Uomo Libero and edited by Piero Sella. It advocates the struggle against mondialismo and a multiracial society; it is antisemitic and denies the Holocaust. In 1997 two issues supported nationalism and opposed immigration to Italy from developing countries, and referred to the existence of an 'international Jewish power' controlling and manipulating the Italian media. One of these issues focused on Holocaust denial and included an international bibliography of 1,200 publications on the topic. As with other fringe journals, it denounces the Mancino and Scelba laws. One of its key contributors, Sergio Gozzoli, and his son Marzio were defendants in a 1996 trial of sixty-three skinheads charged with incitement to racial hatred. In 1997 Gozzoli published a report of his interrogation at the trial, in which he stated his opposition to 'racial mixing' and justified Italy's Fascist-era antisemitic laws (see Legal matters).
Other far-right publications containing antisemitic material include Controcorrente (Countercurrent), distributed mainly in the Campania region, and Tradizione/Heliodromos, 500 or so copies of which are published every few months by Edizione il Cinabro. In 1997 it published essays defending Erich Priebke and against the Mancino law (see Legacy of the Second World War).
About forty antisemitic books (in addition to those containing Holocaust-denial theories) remain in print, published mainly by small publishing houses usually linked to the far right. These include: Edizione il Cinabro of Catania; Edizioni dell'uomo libero of Milan; the Società Editrice Barbarossa of Milan; Edizioni la Sfinge of Parma; Edizioni all'Insegna del Veltro of Parma; and Edizioni di Ar of Padua (run by Franco Freda, see Parties, organizations, movements and Legal matters). Authors published by these houses range from Nazi-era figures such as Adolf Hitler and Julius Evola to contemporary writers like Gianantonio Valli, Piero Sella and Igor Shafarevich. These books have a limited circulation and are sold primarily by post and in small bookshops run by far-right extremists.
Two Italian Internet web-sites espousing racism and antisemitism are worth noting. One is the site of the small Catholic fundamentalist group Sodalizio cattolico (see Religious antisemitism), which, among other things, 'publishes' the texts of La tradizione cattolica booklets. Another site is run by a committee pressing for the abolition of the 1993 Mancino law against incitement to racial and religious discrimination. The site attributes the law to the 'dictates of the international oligarchy', in particular to the Anti-Defamation League, as well as to the strong influence of Italian Jewish authorities on 'a faint-hearted government'.
Another web-site called 'Onore e fedelta' (Honour and Faith), based in Argentina and reported as being on the Internet in December 1999, published a detailed, alphabetical list of 40,000 Italian Jews and called for the annihilation of the Jewish 'disease'. The site was promptly shut down.
The Italian constitution provides for equality before the law, and includes a general ban on discrimination (by race, religion, gender, ethnic origin etc.) and a specific ban on the reconstitution of the Fascist Party. Criminal law prohibits the spread of racial hatred or ideas of racial superiority, as well as: incitement to racial discrimination, abuse or defamation of a community, incitement to or defence of genocide, participating in an organization whose purpose is any of the above, the ostentatious display of such an organization's symbols, and the defence of Fascism. A civil law concerning Jews specifically provides the right to rest on the Jewish sabbath and other protective measures.
Various trials have taken place or are still in progress regarding members of the skinhead movement.
In February 1997 a trial which began in 1996 of sixty neo-Nazi skinheads from the Milan branches of Azione skinhead and Base autonoma (see Parties, organizations, movements) concluded. Charged with acts of violence and with inciting racial hatred, forty skinheads were convicted, receiving prison sentences of between two and eighteen months, and twenty were acquitted. Two of the acquitted were Sergio Gozzoli (see Publications and media) and Maurizio Boccacci, former leader of the banned Movimento politico occidentale (see Parties, organizations, movements).
In August 1997 Peter Paul Rainer, a leader of the far-right Freiheitlichen, a fringe separatist group in the mainly German-speaking Alto Adige region which advocates union with Austria, was sentenced to twenty-two years in prison for the murder of Christian Waldner, another leader of the organization. Waldner was apparently murdered after threatening to reveal that Rainer had illegally enrolled at Innsbruck University.
Another trial began in November 1997 against forty-three members of the Veneto fronte skinhead, including its leader Pietro Puschiavo. They were indicted in 1996 for violation of the law against racial, ethnic and religious discrimination regarding a series of events in 1994 that included distribution of anti-immigration literature, the use of Nazi symbols and the celebration of Hitler's birthday. The trial is ongoing.
Numerous demonstrations against racism take place across the country, and state, church and local authorities repeatedly condemn antisemitism.
In the cultural field, a growing number of exhibitions, theatrical productions, television programmes, festivals, newspaper and magazine articles and books foster knowledge and understanding of Jewish traditions and history among an increasingly broad public.
In general, there has been a decrease in the use of negative stereotypes and an improved public awareness of things Jews. This is partly owing to fascination with an 'ancient race of people' who have maintained a strong identity in the face of disintegrating traditional values and social change, and also to widespread interest in the Holocaust, the pro-Jewish policies of the present Pope and films and television programmes representing Jews in a positive light.
The 1997 bill proposed in the Senate for the establishment of a 'day of memory' - 7 January, the day Auschwitz was liberated - to commemorate Italians deported to concentration camps between 1939 and 1945 is still being considered.
In October/November 1997 the Vatican historical-theological commission, chaired by the Dominican theologian George Cottier, held a closed symposium on 'The roots of anti-Judaism in Christendom', one of many initiatives organized after the publication of the papal epistle Terzo millennio adveniente (The Coming of the Third Millennium) counselling individuals to show penitence (but not the Church, holy by definition) for 'the acquiescence exhibited in some centuries to intolerance and even violence in the service of truth'. The commission was charged with delivering a dossier on the subject to the Pope in anticipation of the Church's proposed 'procession of penitence' through the streets of Rome in March 2000, when the Pope will ask forgiveness from the world for 'historical mistakes' and crimes committed in the name of Christianity during the past two millennia, including the Crusades and the Inquisition.
In October 1998 the Vatican assembled a panel of scholars for a three-day symposium to examine the Inquisition, its first critical look at the Church's record of repression. Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, opening the conference, said: 'The church cannot cross the threshold of the new millennium without pressing its children to purify themselves in repentance for their errors, infidelity and incoherence.' The inquisitors pursued Jews, Muslims and Protestants from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century and the Church's index of banned books lasted until 1966.
Biblical scholars met in Rome in April 1999 to continue work on the document, 'The Jewish people and their scriptures in the Christian Bible', which underlines the close connection between the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament and examines passages in the latter that have been construed as 'anti-Jewish'. The commission, headed by Jesuit Father Albert Vanhoye, was first convened in 1997 in light of current Church teaching about Judaism which emphasizes fraternal ties and the abolition of prejudice (see also Legacy of the Second World War).
A football match in late November 1999 between Juventus and
Lazio (see Antisemitic incidents) was used as an occasion to promote ethnic and
religious tolerance. The players wore uniforms on which 'Stop Antisemitism' was
written, and the team captains each read out statements opposing intolerance
before the game.
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Institute for Jewish Policy Research
© JPR 2000