ROME (JTA) — Italian Jewish leaders have called on Italy’s education minister to take action against a Milan high school teacher accused of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.
A statement by the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, Renzo Gattegna, and the president of the Milan Jewish community, Roberto Jarach, said the teacher in question, Barbara Albertoni, had "spread historical falsehoods, also on the Internet, which insult the memory of the millions of innocent victims of barbarism and savagery of the Nazis and fascists, and also illicitly carries out an action aimed at distilling prejudice, racism and hatred."
Controversy over Albertoni erupted after an article in the La Repubblica newspaper described her as a Holocaust denier and anti-Semite. The newspaper based its description on her posts on her anarchist and pro-Palestinian blog that made "repeated attacks on Jews and Israel," and pictures and cartoons showing the Israeli flag with a swastika. It quoted her in one post as calling the Holocaust "the founding myth of Zionism."
Albertoni rejected the accusations. Some of her words were taken out of context, she said, but she added that the "Zionist lobby" was behind efforts "to cut off the voices of dissent, above all on the Palestinian question."