ROME (Dec. 16)
Italian and Socialist leaders today exchanged charges and counter-charges of anti-Semitism, the Socialists advising the Communists to examine the Communist “record in this respect”–obviously referring to anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union.
The fracas started when Pietro Nenni, leader of the left-wing Socialists here and now Vice Premier, used the word “ghetto” in a speech in Parliament, saying that, by joining the coalition government, the Socialists had at last emerged “from the ghetto.”
Palmiero Togliatti, leader of the Communists, then accused Mr. Nenni of “a lapse into anti-Semitism, offensive to Jews and workers.” Whereupon Avanti, the Socialist Party’s organ, stressing that the use of the word by Mr. Nenni was intended in a general sense, challenged the Communists on their attitude toward anti-Semitism, saying: “We Socialists, who have never been anti-Semitic, will continue to fight to pull down the walls of all ghettoes into which human beings are enclosed.”
Mr. Nenni himself added in a statement in Avanti: “I know that, from the ghettoes imposed upon Jews for centuries have come manifestations of moral and intellectual courage and heroism.” The Communists here have never acknowledged the difficult situation in which Soviet Jews find themselves.