'I get threats too': Italy's Salvini denies 'minimising' threats to Holocaust survivor

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'I get threats too': Italy's Salvini denies 'minimising' threats to Holocaust survivor
League party leader Matteo Salvini asked why threats against him weren't taken as seriously. AFP: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Rightwing opposition leader Matteo Salvini, who says he too receives threats every day, asked why threats against 89-year-old Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre were given more attention.


After 89-year-old Holocaust survivor and senator for life Liliana Segre was given police protection this week after receiving death threats, Salvini was widely criticised for seemingly equating his own experiences with hers.

Matteo Salvini (R) said he wasn't 'minimising' death threats made against Liliana Segre (L). Photos: AFP

Auschwitz survivor Segre, born in Milan in 1930, was on Thursday given a police escort after receiving over 200 hate messages and anti-Semitic threats a day on social media.

"Being anti-Semitic in 2019 is the stuff of the mentally ill. I do not minimise anything," Salvini told journalists in Florence, the day after he said, "I get threats too, every day."

READ ALSO: As racist attacks increase, is there a 'climate of hatred' in Italy?

Salvini, a divisive and high-profile public figure in Italy who frequently highlights threats made against him on social media, asked why threats against Segre were given more attention.

Social media users in Italy were quick to respond, widely criticising Salvini's comments and pointing out that the League party leader is not an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor.

The Italian Senate last month voted to set up a commission to fight "intolerance, racism, anti-Semitism and hatred" after Segre called for such an enquiry.

But Salvini's anti-migrant League party and other right-wing parties abstained from the vote, prompting criticism from anti-racism groups.

"Still today numerous far-right groups continue to celebrate the (1922) fascist march on Rome, to recall enthusiastically the stages of fascism, sometimes with the more or less explicit support of certain groups in parliament, without anyone declaring them illegal," Segre told Friday's Corriere della Sera.

READ ALSO: Amnesty to monitor Italian politicians' social media for hate speech

Corriere editorialist Pierluigi Battista wrote that "it is impossible to overcome the feeling of disgust at the news that Liliana Segre is forced to have protection because of threats from a group of anti-Semitic hooligans."

"We are all the police escort," read the headline in Italian newspaper Repubblica.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Jerusalem tweeted that "this is what the world has come to: Holocaust survivor in Italy needs police protection to protect from threats."

On Friday, Italian President Sergio Mattarella stated that  "Solidarity, coexistence, a sense of responsibility must counter intolerance, hatred, opposition."

He added: "When a woman like Liliana Segre he needs an escort, we understand that these are not abstract or rhetorical questions."


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Anonymous 2019/11/23 13:17
Anti-Semitic threats are disgusting. The police need to concentrate on finding those responsible. However there will always be some weirdos and political extremists and it's right of Salvini to point out that he has received death threats too. The overwhelmingly left wing media in Italy paints Salvini as "far right". It is not far right to try to protect your country and population against the problems of illegal immigration - and the vast majority of these are economic migrants, not refugees. Has Salvini ever said that legal migrants should not be able to come to Italy? All western European countries need to put a full stop to illegal migration - it isn't fair to those migrants who apply to come through a legal method, and it isn't fair to citizens who may be quite poor but paying taxes where they have to then pay for people who are illegally in the country.
Anonymous 2019/11/11 21:08
I don't agree with Salvini's response on this. Frankly, I don't understand anti-semitism. I was raised a Catholic and as far as I'm concerned, my undersanding of the Christian Saviour is ... He was a Jew! I love and admire the Jews. They have above-average intelligence (maybe that's what bugs some people), they've enriched our world so much with their musical, literary, artistic gifts. They do not spread hate or terrorism, yet .... they are the ones being persecuted in Europe. I don't understand? Come on Matteo, you can do better.
Anonymous 2019/11/09 22:37
Salvini is pure evil... and so are his supporters. Shows that many Italians haven't learned anything from history. Let's hope PD and M5S stay in power.
Anonymous 2019/11/09 15:02
Oh here we go its all Salvini,s fault!

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