(A7) Two dozen people were charged by the Italian police for the online harassment of Senator for life and Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Segre, 92, holds numerous honours for her work educating against antisemitism, including being one of four Holocaust survivors awarded the first Simon Wiesenthal Prize in 2022 and receiving the French Legion of Honor in 2021.
She filed a report with the police, the Milan Carabinieri, against 24 people for antisemitic attacks, including defamation and death threats, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
The accused were charged by the Carabinieri for defaming Segre. Those charged include Italian celebrity chef Gabriele “Chef Rubio” Rubini and Nicola Barreca, who was the secretary of the Reggio Calabria wing of the League Party of Matteo Salvini. Barreca, who is fighting the charges, has since been suspended from the party.
Chef Rubio reportedly claimed that Segre was guilty of “a deafening silence over the plight of Palestine,” and referred to Israel as “fascist.” He has been charged with antisemitism in the past but each time denied the allegations and insisted he was not an antisemite but an anti-Zionist.
His Twitter bio contains the statement, “Zionism = Mafia, Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing, Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid, Racism, Fascism, Supremacism.”As Segre’s profile has grown in the last few years due to her campaign to educate young people about the Holocaust, she has been subjected to multiple instances of antisemitism from the left and the right in Italy. She is now forced to travel only with bodyguards.
In Apri 2021, a mural dedicated to her in the Italian city of Ariano Irpino was defaced with pro-Mussolini graffiti and a crude attempt at drawing a swastika.
Ariano Irpino Mayor Enrico Franza denounced the vandalism of the monument, writing: “If we think about it, the author, with this gesture, in his profound ignorance and in a completely unconscious way, allows us to reflect on how priceless is the moral value of Liliana Segre’s warning not to remain indifferent and to firmly condemn acts of violence like these.”