ROME (JTA) – Rome’s Jewish community said it will boycott official ceremonies marking Italy’s Liberation Day because of the inclusion of pro-Palestinian groups that intend to protest against Israel.
The April 25 holiday marks Italy’s liberation from the Nazis in 1945. Marches and commemorative rallies are scheduled to be held in many cities on Wednesday.
A statement issued Tuesday said the Rome Jewish Community would hold its own separate observances to which the public also would be invited. It said that despite agreements signed earlier this month by the National Association of Italian Partisans, or ANPI, Rome’s mayor and the head of the Jewish community, “ANPI failed to take an official and definitive position against the organized participation of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian associations that carry symbols alien to the spirit of April 25.”
The statement added: “It is unacceptable and inconsistent with history to maintain an attitude of impartiality between symbols of those who fought with the Nazis and those of the Jewish Brigade.”
The Jewish Brigade, or Jewish Infantry Brigade Group, was part of the British Army formed by about 5,000 Jewish volunteers from British Mandatory Palestine. It fought against the Germans in Northern Italy in March and April 1945. The brigade fought under a flag similar to today’s Israeli flag.
Pro-Palestinian groups have taken part in the marches for decades, but in recent years open tensions and sometimes violent confrontations have erupted.