ROME (Jun. 15)
Giorgio Almirante, whose neo-Fascist Italian Social Movement scored the Italian right wing’s largest electoral victory since World War II in yesterday’s local elections, declared yesterday that he and his party were in complete solidarity with Israel’s struggle against Soviet expansionism. “We are in the same camp,” said the 55-year-old former aid to Mussolini, stressing his party’s anti-Communist stand and Israel’s achievements. The presence of the Soviet fleet in the Mediterranean an area of vital interest to Italy, gives encouragement to the Arab countries and impeded peace, Almirante added to newsmen. The rightist leader said of the ISM’s attitude toward Jews that Mussolini had promulgated the 1938 racial laws under pressure from Hitler. He himself, Almirante said, had participated in Jew-baiting as a young journalist, but only because he had believed what he had been told about Jews by anti-Semites.
Mussolini’s anti-Jewish program was a great blunder, Almirante concluded, adding that he regretted his own part in it. The ISM chieftain said that Italian Jewry’s repeated rejection of neo-Fascism since the war would not change his party’s attitude towards Jews or towards other nations. Neither, he said, would Arab rejection of the Soviets, because the basic issue was Israel’s right to existence, which he said he firmly supports. Almirante contended that his party’s political gains constituted “punishment” of Premier Emilio Colombo’s Christian Democrats for their alleged tolerance of Communism. The Christian Democrats gained 27.2 percent of the votes in Rome, compared with 36.9 percent last year, while the ISM increased its vote percentage from 10.7 to 15.6. The results in other areas–a fifth of the country held elections yesterday–were similar. The ISM slogan is “With us, new order.”