Rome Jews to sue leftist union
Boycott of Israeli goods seen as instigating racial hatred
(ANSA) - Rome - The Rome Jewish Community announced on Friday that it intended to sue a far left trade union over its call for a boycott of Israeli goods.
The president of the capital's Jewish community, Renzo Pacifici,
said the Flaica CUB union would be cited for violation of the
so-called Mancino Law against instigation of racial hatred.
Pacifici made his announcement after a meeting with Piero Marrazzo,
president of the region of Lazio of which Rome is capital;
the head of the union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI),
Renzo Gattegna; and Rome's chief rabbi Riccardo Di Segni.
Marrazzo, a member of the center-left Democratic party,
agreed that action should be taken against the union while Gattegna
branded the boycott initiative as ''a mad attempt at discrimination''
and stressed that even Italy's leading trade unions
- CGIL, CISL and UIL - had condemned the move.
The leftist union, which represents workers in Rome's retail services
and food sector, has denied that it called for a boycott of Jewish retailers and claims that it's initiative was only aimed at products made in Israel.
The union justified the boycott by saying it was a means to deny
Israel funds to buy more weapons to be used against the Palestinians.
According to the union, it has become the target
of a media lynching campaign in order to draw attention
away from the plight of Palestinians in Gaza.
The boycott has also been criticised by the daily of the
Italian Bishops Conference (CEI), Avvenire, which wrote on Friday
that ''while one can be critical of a military action, one cannot penalise someone just because they adhere to a certain faith or community''.
Defining the boycott as a protest against Israel, the bishops' daily observed, ''reflects a grave prejudice which is the basis of all anti-Semitic actions''.
The proposed consumer boycott for the beginning sparked outrage
among politicians on both the right and left in the Italian capital
who saw it as targeting the city's Jewish community.
The boycott proposal has already been firmly condemned
by Rome's right-wing Mayor Gianni Alemanno who said that
''the people who came up with this horrible idea are not new to such
initiatives, which are a throwback to similar ones in the mid-1930s
which set the stage for (Fascist) Italy's (anti-Jewish) racial laws''.
Alemanno underscored his backing for the Jewish community on Thursday
when went with Pacifici to shop at Jewish stores in central Rome.
The mayor's support of the city's Jewish community sparked protests
by elements on the far right which on Friday hung several
makeshift banners in Rome which called the one-time
Neo-Fascist youth leader as a ''Zionist Butcher''.
The banners also attacked Pacifici and called for ''victory for Hamas,'' the Islamist movement Israel has mounted an offensive
against in the Gaza Strip, which has now entered its third week.
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