An Italian far-right politician is being criticised for insulting a Holocaust survivor and insisting that “Jesus was not a Jew”.
Driving the news
Fabio Tuiach, 39, a heavyweight boxer and former League, Forza Nuova and now independent councillor in the northeastern city of Trieste, was speaking during a Trieste Council motion to make 89-year-old Holocaust survivor and life senator Lilian Segre an honorary citizen of the city.
Segre has said she receives hundreds of online hate messages a day – including death threats – because her Jewish identity.
The anti-Semitism Segre suffers has only intensified since she called for the creation of a parliamentary committee to combat racism and hate speech, to the point that she has now been given police protection.
“I would gladly have this nice little grandma over for tea, I have great respect for her”, Tuiach said at the mid-November Trieste council meeting.
“But as someone who is deeply Catholic, I was confused and offended because she said Jesus was a Jew — while for me he was the Son of God”.
Speaking by phone to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, councillor Tuiach restated his criticisms of Segre and even compared himself to her.
Segre was one of only 35 Italian children to survive Auschwitz out of the 776 minors aged 14 or less deported to the concentration camp.
“I too am persecuted [like her] because of my faith”, Tuiach said.
“When I opposed the Pride Parade, which offends my religion, I was showered with insults”, the politician explained.
For the record
Tuiach admitted he was surprised by the reaction his particular theology has garnered, which included a headline in the La Repubblica newspaper which read: “Dear Tuiach, Jesus was a Jew: it’s not Segre who says so but the Bible”.
“People are forgetting what Christianity really is”, the politician said.
“The Middle Ages were the golden age of Christianity, when our saints were Catholic extremists who defended their religion with the sword”.
Tuiach admitted in one final comment that he couldn’t see the error in his theological views.
“Jesus was born to a virgin, he is the Son of God. This should be obvious to anyone defending our true faith: How can he be a Jew?”, he asked.