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February 28, 2013 2:15 pm

Italy’s New Political Star Has Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic History

avatar by Zach Pontz

Beppe Grillo. Photo: Wikipedia

Italian elections were held earlier this week and Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement Party garnered a quarter of all votes, making it the largest party in the country.

But the comedian turned politician’s rise isn’t good news for all, especially Israel. Grillo is a conspiracy theorist and provacateur who said of Israel during its 2009 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza: “The killer of children is an assassin that must be put on trial for crimes against humanity.”

According to an article on the Israel National News website written by Italian journalist Giulio Meotti, Grillo has a history of launching incendiary rhetoric towards Israel and Jews. In the past he has said “all that in Europe we know about Israel and Palestine is filtered by an international agency called MEMRI. And behind MEMRI, there is a former Mossad agent. I have the evidence: Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, has used Arabic texts with independent translations and he discovered a completely different reality.” Then, according to Meotti, Grillo alluded specifically to a “Jewish conspiracy” and the need to “check” all information on the Middle East.

The list of insults continues. During one of his shows, Grillo once declared: “There is a saying that ‘where Attila has passed through, no grass will grow.’ We can say ‘where the Israelis have passed, no Palestinian will grow.'”

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According to Meotti, the chairman of Milan’s synagogue, Davide Romano, went so far as to recently pronounce that “Grillo has a problem with the Jews.”

Grillo’s Facebook page and weblog is full of anti-Jewish attacks from Grillo’s readers, fans and supporters: “Israel is like Nazi Germany”, “I hope that someone will use any means to stop this killer state”, “The Jews are God’s cursed people”, “Zyklon B for you, peace and justice in Palestine”, “the Israeli leaders are monsters”, “Hamas is much better than all the Zionist governments.”

When not launching insults at Israel and Jews, Grillo tends to defend those who do. Of Mel Gibson he has said: “Israel is scary, her behavior is irresponsible.I said it. And I’m not drunk. I’m just scared for my children. Israel is behind the United States or the United States is behind Israel, which is the cause and which the effect?”

Of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Grillo said that his Iranian father-in-law explained to him that “the translations were not accurate …,” referring to Ahmadinejad’s constant calls for the destruction of Israel.

In general Grillo is an apologist for the Iranian regime, saying that the one described by the Western media is inaccurate: “Those who escape, are opposed to it. But those who remained do not have the same concerns that we have abroad. The economy there is okay, people work. It’s like South America: before it was much worse. I have a cousin who builds highways in Iran.”

Grillo has referred to the “Holocaust industry” and, Meotti concludes, has shown in his TV shows “a primitive hatred for Israel and  Western values.”

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