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Italy Proposes Jewish State Outside Palestine; Denies Planning Anti-semitic Policy

February 17, 1938
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Italian Government denied today any intention to inaugurate an anti-Semitic policy and proposed establishment of a Jewish State somewhere outside Palestine as a solution of “the international Jewish problem.”

The official Informazione Diplomatica issued a statement, generally attributed to Premier Mussolini, which denied reports that the Government planned anti-Jewish restrictions, but reserved the right to act against Jews hostile to the regime — it held the international anti-Fascist movement directed by “Jewish elements” — and to watch recent Jewish immigrants.

The statement made a deep impression here. It was reported that a suggestion was made to the Italian press to check anti-Semitic attacks. The second issue if Il Giornalissimo, new anti-Semitic weekly, failed to appear today. Jewish circles found comfort in assurances that no changes are planned in the law governing Jewish communities, and expressed the opinion the declaration would greatly help to alleviate the internal crisis in the communities.


The statement follows:

“Recent journalistic polemics might have aroused in certain circles the impression that the Fascist Government was about to inaugurate an anti-Semitic policy. It is stated in responsible Rome circles that this impression is completely erroneous, and the polemics are considered as aroused by the fact that the currents of international anti-Fascism are regularly directed by Jewish elements.

“Responsible Rome circles are of the opinion that the international Jewish problem can be resolved only in one way — through the creation, in whatever part of the world except Palestine, of a Jewish State, a state in the full significance of the word, capable of representing and protecting through normal diplomatic and consular channels the Jewish masses dispersed in various countries.

“Because there are Jews also in Italy, it does not mean necessarily that a specific Jewish problem has to exist. In other countries there are millions of Jews; in Italy, however, in a population of nearly 44,000,000, the number of Jews varies between fifty and sixty thousand.

“The Fascist Government never thought, nor thinks now to adopt political, economic or moral measures directed against the Jews as such, except, naturally, in cases of actions hostile to the regime.

“The Fascist Government firmly opposes the use of threats or pressure, directly or indirectly, to force religious conversions or artificial assimilation. The Jewish communities law, which rules and controls the life of the Jewish communities, is good proof of this, and will remain unaltered.

“The Fascist Government reserves the right to watch the activities of Jews who recently arrived in our country, and does so that the role of the Jews in the entire life of the nation should not be out of proportion to the intrinsic merits of the single individuals and the quantitative importance of the community.”

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