ROME Italian police are investigating an
anti-Semitic blog listing the names of more than 150 "Jewish
university professors," which was removed from the Internet
after protests from politicians and Jewish leaders.
The blog, by an anonymous author, listed the names and
workplaces of university professors which it accused of
"publicly and politically" supporting Israel.
It was taken down in the early afternoon on Friday, said
Emanuele Fini, one of the heads of blog site
www.ilcannocchiale.it, where the blog was first posted on
Interior Minister Giuliano Amato ordered police to
investigate the case.
"The Internet has become the main tool for spreading
anti-Semitic hatred," said Alessandro Ruben of the
Anti-Defamation League in Italy.
Education Minister Giuseppe Fioroni called the blog a
shameful "kind of Ku Klux Klan of the digital age."
The blog had links to far-right websites and themes like
Holocaust revisionism, appeals to boycott Israel and war-time
fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Some professors listed on
the blog are not Jewish but had signed pro-Israel petitions.
There was a heated debate earlier this month on whether
Italy's biggest book fair had a right to invite top Israeli
writers as special guests.
The Turin annual fair, which this year will run from May
8-12, invited Amos Oz, David Grossman and Abraham Yehousha to
mark Israel's 60th anniversary. The decision sparked protests
by some leftists, who felt the fair was taking a political
stance and called for a boycott of its stands.
(Reporting by Massimiliano Di Giorgio, writing by Silvia
Aloisi; editing by Robert Woodward)