ROME (JTA) – Italian President Giorgio Napolitano warned against “new and persistent perils” of Holocaust denial and revisionism, including those spread on the Internet.
Speaking Tuesday at a ceremony at the Quirnale, or presidential palace, to mark International Holocaust Memorial Day, Napolitano said it was necessary “to keep up our guard, to be vigilant and to react against” these dangers.
Napolitano specifically mentioned the appearance of anti-Semitic extremist groups, such as those targeted last week in a sweep by police in Naples and other cities, and racism among militant soccer fans.
“Miserable ideological junk that is openly neo-Nazi” is circulating among young people, he warned, and “anti-Semitism as a dimension of Islamic fundamentalism” risked being “undervalued.”
The Italian leader issued a “total and intransigent rejection” of anti-Semitism in all forms, including that “ideologically disguised as anti-Zionism.”
Napolitano expressed Italy’s firm support for Israel, as well as a commitment to work toward “the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of cooperation between the two peoples and two states.”
At the ceremony, which was attended by Jewish and political leaders and students, Napolitano presented medals of honor to several Holocaust survivors.