The leader of Italy’s Jewish community announced a new measure to deal with a recent rise in anti-Semitic incidents: a hotline. The Anti-Semitism Antenna will be accessible by phone and online, explained Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, and is intended for use both by Jewish victims of anti-Semitic acts as well as Italian witnesses or bystanders, Haaretz reports.
“The goal of the initiative is to nullify any threat of hatred and discrimination. It is a concrete effort for the benefit of the entire community especially now that old biases are back even in the most advanced and democratic societies,” Gattegna said in a statement.
Callers will be able to report any anti-Semitic incident by calling the number or filling out a form online. Each warning will be verified, conserved and used to analyze anti-Semitic hostilities.
It’s an interesting indicator of the current climate in Europe that this community is no longer focusing on trying to stop these incidents outright, but instead figuring out ways to make it easier for individuals to report them and get help if targeted. It’s a rather bleak portrait of the situation facing Italian Jews—especially considering that the bulk of the anti-Semitic incidents we’ve been reporting since the summer, when these types of acts began to surge in response to the Israeli operation in Gaza, occurred in other countries. It’s a sad reality that European Jews in 2014 are better off finding more efficient ways to report anti-Semitic violence than trying to stop it in its tracks.
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Why Europe Has Trouble Fighting Anti-Semitism
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.