Rome Investigating List of Influential Jews Posted on Extremist Website

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Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, says the vibrant Jewish cultural offerings in Italy offset its declining numbers. Credit: Ben Sales

Rome prosecutors on Wednesday opened an investigation into a list of people identified as prominent Italian Jews posted on the website Radio Islam.

Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, called the move “an important step.” Such lists, he said, recall a time “not so long ago when to be indicated as a Jew signified exclusion for the world of school and work.”

The list of “influential Jews in Italy,” as they are described, was posted on the Italian section of Radio Islam, an international anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist website founded in Sweden in the 1990s. It included scores of journalists, businesspeople, politicians, university professors, cultural figures and Jewish community activists, some whom are not actually Jewish.

Postal police are carrying out the investigation launched last week, according to the local media. The investigation is looking into pressing possible charges of threats and defamation, aggravated by racial hatred.

Six years ago, a virtually identical list was posted on the white supremacist website Stormfront, drawing condemnation from politicians and Jewish leaders.

The Radio Islam list “is the same list that has been going around for years,” a Jewish community spokesman told JTA. “It identifies some people as occupying positions that they don’t hold anymore.”

As of Wednesday, the list was still on Radio Islam’s Italian language pages.

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