ROME (JTA) – Italian Jewish leaders warned against a neo-fascist rally planned for Saturday in Milan.
In a joint statement, the president of the umbrella Union of Italian Jewish Communities, Noemi Di Segni, and the leaders of the Milan Jewish community called the planned rally by the far-right Forza Nuova movement “a dangerous initiative, promoted by a movement that openly challenges the values of our democracy.”
The statement came after Milan police ruled Wednesday that the downtown rally could move ahead despite efforts to forestall it by anti-fascist, Jewish and leftist organizations, as well as Milan’s mayor.
Like other nationalist movements in Europe, Forza Nuova is strongly anti-immigrant and xenophobic. It has yet to win a seat in the Italian parliament.
The Jewish leaders’ statement noted that Jan. 27 is marked in Italy and other countries as Holocaust Memorial Day.
“We cannot allow those who trample the significance of memory and advocate racist and xenophobic theses to have a public place, and one in the center of Milan, in which to assert their ideologies of hate,” the statement read.
A counter-demonstration is also expected to take place at a separate location.