Photo: Reuters
Auschwitz sign
Photo: Reuters
Photo: AP
Communist Party leader Fausto Bertinotti
Photo: AP
Italy apologizes for Holocaust cartoon
Israeli, Jewish pressures cause Italian Lower Chamber speaker to apologize for caricature published by Communist Party, which showed separation fence with welcome sign paraphrasing Auschwitz's 'Work Liberates'

ROME - Israeli and Jewish pressures have led the Italian Lower Chamber Speaker Fausto Bertinotti, leader of the Communist party, to apologize Monday evening for the publication of a cartoon perceived as anti-Semitic printed in the communist newspaper Liberazione.


The official apology noted, “In these hard times, satyr which can harm the Jewish community should be avoided.”


Yasha Reibman, spokesman of Milan's Jewish community, told Yedioth Ahronoth that “the parliament chairman should settle the score with the members of his party who don’t know the difference between showing support for the Palestinians – and anti-Semitism.”


The cartoon which appeared Friday in the journal of the Italian Communist Party (Rifondazione Comunista), which is set to be part of the coalition that will form the Italian government, stirred a row among Italian Jews, the Israeli Embassy and parliament members.


The caricature depicted the separation fence with a gate bearing the sign "Hunger Liberates," similar to the welcome sign at the entrance to the Auschwitz extermination camp, which read "Work Liberates."


Reibman called the cartoon publication a very severe act and demanded that the newspaper editor be dismissed immediately in a bid to prove that the stances presented by the journal do not represent the stances of the party it represents.


Israeli Ambassador to Rome Ehud Gol said in response that the anti-Semitic cartoon was shameful and humiliating and that he plans to respond to it harshly.


Story first published by Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth


פרסום ראשון: 05.16.06, 19:57
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