Anti-Jewish graffiti in Rome has little to do with Israel and Gaza, and everything to do with Europe’s ugly history of anti-Semitism.
Someone tried to scrub the October 16 plaque clean, but over the past few nights across Rome more than 70 disturbing hate messages were scrawled with black and red paint on Jewish businesses and throughout the so-called Jewish Ghetto around the city’s main synagogue. Phrases like “Anne Frank Was A Liar,” “Dirty Jews,” “Jews your end is near,” and “Israel executioner” were written in spray paint alongside Celtic crosses and rows and rows of swastikas.
“It’s like 1933,” Riccardo Pacifici, the head of Rome’s Jewish community, told reporters. “This morning Rome woke up in the worst possible way. Its walls have been defaced by dozens of graffiti praising neo-Nazi hatred towards Jews.”
Rome’s streets are the latest in Europe to become bulletin boards for anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic sentiment. But unlike hate events in France, which have become violent and often involve the children of immigrants with Muslim backgrounds who claim Palestinian sympathies, Italian anti-Semitism is being blamed on Italians of European descent. Italy’s counterterrorism law enforcement agency DIGOS (Divisione Investigazioni Generali e Operazioni Speciali) says that the extreme right and extreme left wings of the Italian political spectrum have joined forces to spread the hate, issuing an alert warning, “There is new solidarity between the opposite extremists.”