Hounding a Holocaust survivor
Corriere della Sera
It is to Italy’s “infinite shame” that a Holocaust survivor and national treasure now needs a police escort, said Pierluigi Battista. Liliana Segre, 89, is so respected for her teachings about the horrors of Auschwitz that last year she was made senator for life—an honor accorded only to former presidents and the highest-achieving citizens. But ever since Parliament last month approved a proposal by Segre to create a commission to combat anti-Semitism and racism, she has been bombarded with up to 200 death threats and hate messages a day. Some “anti-Semitic rogues” even posted on social media that she belongs in an incinerator. Two police officers now accompany the senator for life everywhere. Yet physical protection is not enough. “All of Italy must defend Liliana Segre.” Members of the League and other right-wing, xenophobic parties that abstained from the vote on the anti-racism commission should step up now and say that, despite their political differences, they support Segre as a Jewish Italian. Instead, League leader Matteo Salvini has downplayed the threats against her, saying he, too, gets death threats. Is he too obtuse to see the difference? His critics hate his politics, while Segre’s hate her for who she is: a Jew. “The battle against anti-Semitism is a nonnegotiable value.” Anyone who disagrees is not fit to lead Italy.