If you think nasty Third Reich anti-Semitism in Europe died when American troops liberated Germany’s* concentration camps, think again. Outside of the Arab world, Europe ranks among the most Jew-hating regions on the globe.
And it shows.
On Monday, Italian soccer fans put their hands up in a Nazi salute during the Italian national anthem just as Israel was set to play Italy at the 2018 World Cup qualifier match in Haifa, Israel of all places. The Italian fans also loudly booed during Israel’s national anthem. Some fans even assaulted religious Jews at the match, spitting at them and taunting them as if they were enemy combatants.
Police ultimately removed the threatening fans from the stadium. There were no arrests, however.
This vile behavior has forced the Israel Football Association to issue a formal complaint to the Italian Football Federation. “The Israeli Football Association will send the photos to the Italian federation with which we have a warm and brave relationship so that it can find and prosecute the sickening minority that wanted to tarnish the visiting fans, their team and their country,” said the IFA in a statement.
For the most part, Italian authorities have signaled support for Israel’s claim against the anti-Semitic fans.
In a call to the Israeli ambassador to Italy, Italian Football Federation President denounced the incident. “The relevant authorities can determine as soon as possible what happened and identify those responsible,” he said.
This comes just weeks after Israeli Olympic athletes were forced to confront a slew of indignities directed at them by Egyptian and Jordanian competitors at the games in Rio.
*Correction: The original article stated that American troops liberated concentration camps in Poland. Soviet troops were primarily responsible for liberating Eastern Europe. American and British troops liberated camps in Germany, including Dachau.