A member of the city council of an Italian town listed “antisemitic” as his religious views on Facebook, Italian media reported on Sunday.
Stefano Altinier, 35, was elected in the city council of Gorizia, North East of the Italian peninsula, in 2017. He belongs to the right-wing party League, whose leader Matteo Salvini recently triggered a political crisis, pulling the plug from League’s coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.
According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Altinier deleted the entry on Friday after being alerted that someone had spotted his profile. However, screenshots of his Facebook page started to circulate online.
“The opposition is trying to discredit me in a boorish way. I have always thought that social media do not reflect reality. Some people claim to exercise a certain profession or to be married, and it happens not to be true. I have never been antisemitic, I have even attended a Hanukkah celebration once, and I’m fascinated by the history and tradition of this people,” Altinier said.
Altinier also claimed that he was “a teenager” when he compiled his Facebook profile identifying his religious views as antisemitic, “ten or fifteen years ago.”
“The word was meant as a joke,” he further said. “I apologize if I hurt someone’s sensitivity. Today there is no more trace of what I wrote.”
The head of Lithuania’s Jewish community has strongly condemned a government-sponsored publicity stunt that showed hundreds of chairs marked with fake 1,000-euro notes lined up outside a state-of-the-art convention center that is being constructed on top of a Jewish cemetery.
Simon Gurevich — chair of the Jewish community in the capital Vilnius — told local broadcaster LRT that the display staged by tourism agencies was “immoral,” as the chairs had been stacked “over the heads and bodies of the people who created the ‘Jerusalem of the North,’” invoking a term that was often used to describe Vilnius, then known as Vilna, before the Nazi Holocaust.
Jewish activists and human rights groups have spent the past three years opposing the government’s construction of the convention center on the site of the Old Šnipiškės Jewish Cemetery, where thousands of graves are buried beneath the surface.
Last Friday’s display at the site was organized by Lithuanian tourism chiefs as a mocking response to the continued delays in the construction of the convention center, with the fake cash intended to symbolize the amount of money allegedly being lost because of the continued protests of Jewish organizations and others.
According to Defending History — a specialist website that monitors and analyzes the official depiction in contemporary Lithuania of the country’s Jewish past — Friday’s widely-reported display may have been the result of a photoshopping exercise, rather than an actual event.
One of the site’s reporters asked a contact at the Vilnius municipality “about whether the city’s permission had been given. The employee, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Of course it was virtual, photoshopped, but reported in the press release as being on the ground, in order to wind up the Jews so they will go crazy about their so-called cemetery.’”
Commented Defending History: “Whether on the ground or the web, this is one of the most disturbing manifestations of ‘elite antisemitism’ in Eastern Europe in recent times. Besides the humiliation of thousands of buried from the minority annihilated in the Holocaust, there is the classic antisemitic trope associating ‘Jews and banknotes,’ alongside the insinuation that only a convention center at this location can bring back the tourist industry after Covid-19.”
Local officials insist that there is no other appropriate site for the convention center, which is being presented as a major boon for the tourism and hospitality industry.
“We have been waiting for the Congress Center to be located in this place for many years, but in the face of the crisis, it is becoming critical for our sector,” Evalda Šiškauskienė, president of the Lithuanian Hotel and Restaurant Association, told local news outlets over the weekend.
The Article was published in the Algemeiner
The Czech Interior Ministry has cancelled a storage space rental contract with the Naše vojsko publishing house
Prague, May 26 (CTK) – The Czech Interior Ministry has abrogated its storage space rent contract with the Naše vojsko publishing house that issued a calendar with portraits of the Third Reich protagonists, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček told CTK after meeting Israeli ambassador Daniel Meron today.
Such items have no place in Czech shops, he said.
The publisher faces a criminal complaint by Michal Klima, the head of the Holocaust Victims Foundation, and another one is being prepared by the Czech Jewish Communities’ Federation (FZO).
FZO chairman Petr Papoušek said the FZO considers not only the calendar’s appearance but also its graphic design a step promoting Nazism and adoring its leaders who were Nazi war criminals.
Petříček (Social Democrats, CSSD) said that Meron showed interest in the case at their talks today.
“I told him that a criminal complaint has already been filed and that the Interior Ministry has terminated its contract for renting storage premises to the publisher. Such items have nothing to do among the Czech shops’ offer. They downplay the horrors of the Nazi regime and especially for Israel it must be sad to see them,” Petříček wrote to CTK.
Apart from Meron, the calendar was previously also criticized by the German ambassador to the Czech Republic.
The Denik N daily recently found out that the Interior Ministry has rented storage premises to the publisher via its subordinate organisation. It has abrogated the contract as of June 30, Denik N wrote this morning, citing Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (CSSD).
A contract with Naše vojsko has also been terminated by the Prague City Hall, which rented shopping space to it.
The city abrogated the contract by end-April, and the publisher has six months to leave the premises.
“We do not want our premises to host entrepreneurs whose business is definitely beyond the limit in terms of ethic,” Prague Councillor Jan Chabr (TOP 09) wrote to CTK.
Naše vojsko director Emerich Drtina said at the time that as a publisher he does not offer the items for sale with the aim of propaganda but in order to make profit.
The article was posted on the expatsCZ