Italian police are investigating an anti-Semitic blog listing the names of more than 150 "Jewish university professors", which was removed from the Internet after protests from politicians and Jewish leaders.
"The Internet has become the main tool for spreading anti-Semitic hatred," said Alessandro Ruben of the Anti-Defamation League in Italy.
Rome's Mayor Walter Veltroni was among those slamming the blog. "Any attempt to give a platform to anti-Semitism should concern us and draw a response," he was quoted as saying by Italian newspaper la repubblica.
Veltroni added that the "Jewish community was right" to protest the blog's publication, and stressed that the proper response should be "immediate condemnation and struggle."
"The list of Jewish lecturers reminds us of the racist 1938 laws, yet anyone who seeks to retake the anti-Semitic path will encounter the resistance of Italians," he said. "This act is particularly grave because it took place in the world of academia and research, where the rejection of discrimination and hatred should be even stronger."
Police investigation orderedThe blog, by an anonymous author, listed the names and workplaces of university professors who it accused of "publicly and politically" supporting Israel.
It was taken down in the early afternoon on Friday, said Emanuele Fini, one of the heads of blogsite www.Ilcannocchiale.It, where the blog was first posted on January 16.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Giuliano Amato ordered police to investigate the case.
Education Minister Giuseppe Fioroni called the blog a shameful "kind of Ku Klux Klan of the digital age". The blog had links to far-right websites and themes like Holocaust revisionism, appeals to boycott Israel and war-time fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Some professors listed on the blog are not Jewish but had signed pro-Israel petitions.