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Soccer Fans Sport Anti-semitic Banners

The president of Rome’s Jewish community said local Jews must react to an outbreak of anti-Semitism that occurred at a soccer game here last weekend.

Sandro Di Castro made the comments after a match between arch-rival teams Roma and Lazio, during which fans displayed banners deriding the other team’s fans with anti-Semitic slogans.

“Auschwitz Is Your Homeland, the Ovens Are Your Homes,” read a banner unfurled in the stands by Lazio fans.

Roma fans in turn displayed an anti-Semitic sign that used Nazi and Holocaust imagery.

“We’ve been fighting against this for years, but we don’t get anywhere. It’s high time to put an end to it,” said Vittorio Pavoncello, the Rome Jewish community board member in charge of sports activities.

During the past decade, soccer fans in several European countries have occasionally used racist and anti-Semitic slogans to denigrate their opponents.

Italy’s Jews have protested formally to soccer officials in the past.

“It’s a very serious matter that can’t pass unobserved,” said Di Castro. “Maybe it is just the work of a handful of idiots, but nonetheless the enormity of the question is clear.”

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