Italian Jewish Community Leader Discloses Wave of Hate Literature, Activities

An Italian Jewish community leader has disclosed a wave of anti-Semitic literature, daubings of anti-Jewish slogans on walls and threatening phone calls to the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Elio Toaff, and to other prominent Italian Jews. Renzo Levi, vice president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, said at a press conference that his organization attributed the hate activities to an international movement, possibly composed of extremists of the right and left wings. Asked if he suspected specific individuals or groups, Mr. Levi said, “Yes, we do, but we cannot prove our suspicions.”

Anonymous telephone calls were made to Chief Rabbi Toaff by a man who threatened, “tomorrow you die.” Similar threats were received recently by Aldo Garosci, a Jewish journalist, and Gianfranco Tedeschi, president of the Rome Jewish community. Mr. Levi said the threats followed at least 16 incidents in 20 months of anti-Semitic literature being distributed and anti-Jewish slogans being painted on walls in 12 Italian cities.

He said that vandalizing of Jewish cemeteries in three Italian towns last year and swastika daubings on synagogue walls were ominously similar to incidents in West Germany. Holland, France and Belgium. While the telephone threats appeared to come from right-wingers, slogans such as “Jew equals SS” appear to be the work of leftist extremists, he said.

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