Ronald Lauder calls Italian ruling on anti-Semitic cartoon "travesty"

24 January 2012

The president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Ronald S. Lauder, has expressed outrage at the conviction of Italian journalist and politician Giuseppe (“Peppino”) Caldarola who had written an article criticizing a cartoon entitled ‘Fiamma Frankenstein’. It depicts fellow parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein, who is Jewish, with a hooked nose, the symbol of fascist Italy and the Star of David. The caricature of Vauro (pictured below), which was published in 2008 by the newspaper 'Il Manifesto', was not considered by the judge as being anti-Semitic. Vauro had sued Caldarola for writing that he was an anti-Semite. Lauder called the ruling “a travesty and an insult.”

"While the man who defends a Jewish woman is fined, the author of this blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon gets a free ride from the court to continue injecting venom into the political debate in Italy,” the WJC president declared in reaction. ”Nirenstein is an excellent lawmaker who does not shy away from doing political battle. Although one is entitled to disagree with her views, nobody is entitled to hold against her   the fact that she is Jewish and dedicated to the wellbeing of Israel. Anti-Semitic or racist caricatures have nothing to do with satire, far from it; they are simply despicable.”

Lauder called it “very worrying” that the judge had upheld the right to insult a Jew through by using age-old anti-Semitic imagery but denied the right of a journalist to accuse the cartoonist of being an anti-Semite.

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