Remarks of Italian Protest Leader Show “Deep-Seated Anti-Semitic Hatred”

New York, NY, December 13, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned the remarks of a spokesman for the populist Pitchfork Movement, which is leading the current anti-government protests in Italy, as showing “deep-seated anti-Semitic hatred.”

The protest leader, Andrea Zunino, said in an interview with the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, “We want the government to resign.  We want the sovereignty of Italy, which is the slave of bankers like the Rothschilds.  It’s curious that five or six of the richest people in the world are Jewish.”

Zunino also said that Hitler “who probably was crazy, used anti-Semitism to avenge the about-face of his initial American financial backers.”

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

These appalling comments display a deep-seated anti-Semitic hatred which never belongs in politics or anywhere in Italian society.  Whatever grievances the Italian protest movement may have, anti-Semitism is simply unacceptable.

Responsible protest leaders should denounce Zunino’s comments to make clear that bigotry is not condoned in their movement.

A 2012 ADL poll of anti-Semitic attitudes in Italy showed 43 percent of Italians responded “probably true” when asked if Jews have too much power in international financial markets.  Thirty-five percent of Italians also responded “probably true” to at least three out of the four anti-Semitic stereotypes tested.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.