Auschwitz survivor Liliana Segre, 89, is a senator-for-life in Italy. She has pushed for a parliamentary committee to combat hate and anti-Semitism in the country, known as the Segre commission.

Segre now has to have constant police protection due to receiving over 200 anti-Semitic abuse and threats.

The Italian president gives the title senator-for-life “to former heads of state or accomplished artists or scientists.” These people have “the full power and authority of an elected lawmaker, as well as some legal immunity.”

Segre’s motion passed even though far-right groups abstained from voting.

But since the passing of the commission, Segre has faced hundreds of threats a day. From CNN:

She has recently become the target of about 200 “particularly aggressive” social media attacks each day, the Milan-based Foundation Jewish Contemporary Documentation Center told CNN.

“Every time prominent Jews are at the center of media attention in Italy, they get subjected to online anti-Semitic abuse,” Stefano Gatti, from the center, told CNN.

“The anti-Semitic insults come from far-right circles that have a past, and sometimes present, of violence. It’s part of their radical rightwing code, this pugnacious attitude.”

Two paramilitary carabinieri officers now accompany Segre while out in public after “Forza Nuova party members put up a banner in Milan on Tuesday near where Segre was speaking for an event.”

The parties who voted against the commission said they voted against the commission because it makes “a new crime of opinion.”

But Rome’s Jewish Community President Ruth Dureghello called the abstaining votes “disconcerting.” Italy has witnessed a rise in anti-Semitism:

The Foundation Jewish Contemporary Documentation Center has reported a significant rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Italy, particularly online.

“Since the beginning of the year to the end of September, we recorded about 190 anti-Semitic incidents, about 70% online,” Gatti said.

They include vandalism, defamation, insults, and threats. For comparison, the total episodes for the whole of last year were 197 and 130 for 2017.

[Featured image via YouTube]


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