ROME (JTA) – Italian police arrested right-wing extremists in several cities on charges of inciting anti-Semitic and anti-foreign hatred and violence.
About 10 people, all between the ages of 21 and 33, were arrested on Jan. 24 in dawn raids in Naples, Salerno and Latina, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.
They were charged with crimes including possession of illegal arms and explosives, subversive association, taking part in political street brawls in Naples in 2011 and violent attacks on leftwing activists using knives and firebombs.
According to the Italian media, surveillance tapes of meetings captured “anti-semitic phrases and speeches full of racist hatred.”
One recording caught a speaker proposing “to beat and rape a student whose only ‘guilt’ is to be Jewish,” stated the news site leggo.it.
"They were systematically indoctrinating young militants to hate foreigners and Jews at meetings in which, among other things, they discussed Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf," the site quoted Naples Assistant Prosecutor Rosario Cantelmo as saying.
Some suspects were placed under house arrest. Central to the investigation are the activities of three extreme rightwing groups, including Casa Pound, whose members around the country have been linked to violent clashes with leftists.
Casa Pound – which takes its name from the American poet Ezra Pound, who sympathized with Fascism and admired World War II dictator Benito Mussolini — is fielding candidates in general elections scheduled for next month.
“For a long time we have been signaling a dangerous advance in Italy of groups from the neo-fascist extreme right,” leftwing MP Emanuele Fiano, who is Jewish, wrote on his Facebook page.
“The news from Naples about extremely serious anti-Semitic activity by Casapound activists intent on planning to set Jewish shops on fire, and theorizing about violence against a Jewish university student, are unnerving,” he said.