Italian Higher Education Minister Denounces Blog on 'Jewish Lobby' in Academe

February 09, 2008

Rome — Invoking memories of Fascism and the Nazi genocide, Italy’s higher-education minister, Fabio Mussi, on Friday denounced an online blog purporting to expose a “Jewish lobby” at Italian universities.

Listing the names of 162 “Jewish instructors” whom it accused of lobbying in favor of “Zionists” within Italian academe, the blog appeared last week and was taken down by its host site on Friday. (Readers can see a two-page snapshot of the posting.)

In a statement, Mr. Mussi called the list’s anonymous author the “legitimate heir of Eichmann,” and recalled the Mussolini regime’s 1938 Racial Laws, which banned Jews from teaching at schools and universities, as “one of the hardest blows to Italian science and learning.”

The blog identified the professors on the list, most of whom teach at the University of Rome La Sapienza, as signatories last year to a petition protesting a proposed boycott of Israel by British academe. Not all of those named are in fact Jewish.

“The attribution of Jewishness as an infamous accusation can only induce me to declare myself a ‘Jew by adoption,’” wrote one of those named, Chiara Saraceno, a professor of sociology at the University of Turin, in the newspaper La Stampa on Saturday.

Italy’s interior minister, Giuliano Amato, has ordered an investigation by the nation’s postal police. —Francis X. Rocca