Head of Italy’s Jewish Community Warns of New Anti-jewish Attitudes

The head of Italy’s Jewish community said that new anti-Jewish attitudes stemming from the Middle East conflict now posed greater dangers for European Jewry than older and more familiar forms of anti-Semitism.

Tullia Zevi, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, said also that “classic” anti-Semitism was diminishing in Western Europe but, she stressed, “continued vigilance against known neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic forces” was still necessary. Mrs. Zevi, the first woman to serve as Italian Jewry’s president, made her remarks at a session of the American Jewish Committee 77th annual meeting, which yesterday concluded its five-day agenda at the New York Hilton Hotel here.

Declaring that “dealing with anti-Semitism is now more complex than it was just a few years ago,” Mrs. Zevi said that anti-Israel feelings that arose in many Western European countries after the Lebanon war had “spilled over” onto local Jewish communities, causing a “tense and at times dangerous atmosphere.”

Contributing to the tense climate, continued Mrs. Zevi, were the efforts of “Libyan and other Arab sources” to “purchase favorable opinion, for example, by giving job training to unemployed youths, who are then marshalled for rallies demonstrating support for the Arab cause.”

Mrs. Zevi reported also that European Jewish communities viewed recent terrorist attacks “not as a sign of growing European anti-Semitism, but as an attempt by Arab forces to bring the Middle East conflict to Europe, and thus frighten Europeans away from pro-Israel activities.”

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