Anti-Semitic Catholic painting in Italy


This video from the USA says about itself:

The Blood Libel Then and Now: The Enduring Impact of an Imaginary Event

October 9, 2017

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research | Co-sponsored by American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Center for Jewish History, Leo Baeck Institute, and Yeshiva University Museum

By Ben Cohen in the USA:

March 27, 2020 2:08 pm

Protests Greet ‘Repulsive’ Painting by Italian Catholic Artist Depicting Antisemitic Blood Libel

A new painting by an Italian Catholic artist that promotes the antisemitic blood libel of medieval times met with outrage on Friday, as Jewish and Catholic commentators condemned the work and called on the Vatican to do the same.

As reported by The Algemeiner on Thursday, the painting — titled “The Martyrdom of St. Simon of Trento in Accordance With Jewish Ritual Murder” — was revealed by its artist, Giovanni Gasparro, on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

The work shows an infant boy surrounded by a crowd of sinister Jewish men, variously wearing side-curls and religious items, who strangulate him, cut him open and drain his blood.

It is based on one of the worst episodes in the history of the “blood libel”, which falsely accused Jews of using the blood of Christians in their religious rituals — the March 1475 disappearance and death of a 2-year-old boy named Simon in the Italian town of Trento, whose fate was blamed on the local Jewish community.

Regarded as a “martyr” by the Catholic Church for centuries, Simon of Trento’s status was removed by Pope Paul VI in 1965 — the year that the Second Vatican Council issued its historic “Nostra Aetate” Declaration disavowing antisemitism.

The legacy of “Nostra Aetate” was cited by many of those who expressed disgust at the antisemitic imagery that dominates Gasparro’s painting.

“It’s repulsive to see so many classic antisemitic stereotypes stuffed into a single painting,” Sohrab Ahmari — the oped editor of the New York Post who converted to the Catholic faith — told The Algemeiner after seeing the photographs Gasparro’s canvas.

“It’s also a reminder of the wisdom and necessity of the Vatican Council’s ‘Nostra Aestate declaration,” Ahmari continued. “That clarified once and for all the Church’s opposition to antisemitism.”

Abraham Foxman — the former national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) who has actively promoted Jewish-Catholic dialogue — remarked that the appearance of the painting in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic was itself instructive.

“Crisis times bring out the best and the worst,” Foxman told The Algemeiner on Friday. “So while we continue to be shocked by the classic antisemitism that’s surfaced during the coronavirus crisis, we shouldn’t be surprised.”

Foxman observed that the “blood libel is one of the oldest antisemitic conspiracy themes to have resurfaced in recent weeks.” He further noted that it was “sad that it should surface in Italy of all places,” given the terrible toll wreaked by the coronavirus in that country.

“One new virus fuels the ancient virus of antisemitism,” Foxman said.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), pointed out that the painting’s appearance also coincided with the holidays of Passover and Easter.

“Now, on the eve of the Passover and Easter holidays, this Italian artist decides to promote the original, vicious, lurid, and long-debunked blood libel against the Jewish people through his art?” Cooper stated. “We have contacted Facebook to demand that they not provide their powerful social media platform for a screed that has led to the killing and maiming of Jews for hundreds of years.”

Cooper added that the SWC was urging the Catholic Church to condemn the painting. “This isn’t art, its hate,” he said.

Emails sent by The Algemeiner to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic Archbishop of New York, seeking his comment had not been answered by press time.

On social media, the painting attracted a mix of shock and fury, with many users asking how an old and discredited libel could reappear in the 21st century.

Origins of fascism in Britain


A 1919 newspaper cutting of the Union of Italian ex-soldiers, London Section

By Alfeo Bernabei:

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The first seed of fascism planted outside Italy was in London

Through their leadership of the Italian diaspora and a newspaper, a small group of embittered war veterans laid the foundations of fascism in Britain 100 years ago this month, writes ALFIO BERNABEI

ON November 4 1919, a group of London-based Italian world war veterans set up an association called Unione Reduci Militari Italiani — Sezione di Londra — (URMI). The name stood for Union of Italian ex-soldiers, London Section.

This association claimed to represent hundreds of Italian immigrants in Britain who had been called to serve with the Italian army when Italy entered the war in 1915. When the war ended, they were free to return and resume their occupations.

The leaders of the newly born URMI association in London stated: “We intend to solemnly declare before everyone that our sacrifice [in the war] has made us conscious not only of our duty but also of our rights” and elected themselves as the driving moral force in the Italian community in Britain, which was then made up of approximately 20,000 migrants.

The first president of URMI was Giacomo Luigi Novelli, a London-based travel agent who described himself as “one who prefers action to words”. Among its most prominent members was Antonio Cippico, a lecturer at University College London. Another member was Achille Bettini, who later was to describe himself as a fascist “of the first hour.”

Given that the Fascio di combattimento, or Fascio of combat, had been set up in March 1919 at a meeting in Milan presided over by Benito Mussolini, it seems fair to describe the London association set up a mere eight months later as born in its shadow — the first seed of fascism planted outside Italian territory.

Eight months later, on June 5 1920, URMI launched a four-page weekly newspaper in Italian called La Cronaca. It had an address in Little Howland Street, central London, with ex-Captain Giovanni Savani as editor, later described among the founders of the London Fascio.

The first editorial of La Cronaca was unsigned — URMI claimed to be free of ties from political parties, yet one of the first articles was signed “ARDITO”, “the bold one,” a definition that by that time was acquiring strong associations with the fascist movement and the Blackshirts.

It was at the end of December 1920 that La Cronaca described fascism as a largely justifiable “insurrection of men and sticks against red violence.” Three months later it splashed across the front page a title that proclaimed “L’ora del Fascismo” (the hour of fascism).

Formally, the “Fascio Italiano di Combattimento a Londra” (The Italian fighting fascio in London) was established on June 12 1921.

On December 17 of the same year, the first notice appeared in La Cronaca headed Partito Nazionale Fascista, Sezione di Londra (Italian National Fascist Party, London Section) and on January 7 1922, the newspaper announced the first general assembly of the London branch of the party.

It wasn’t long before the Italian fascists found sympathisers among some British admirers of Mussolini. The seed that had been planted in 1919 was taking root.

Alfeo Bernabei is an Italian journalist and historian.

Ötzi the Iceman and prehistoric plants


This 2017 video is called Ötzi The Iceman. Film documentary.

From PLOS:

Alongside Ötzi the Iceman: A bounty of ancient mosses and liverworts

Frozen flora holds clues to the ancient Alps ecosystem and to the Iceman’s final journey

October 30, 2019

Buried alongside the famous Ötzi the Iceman are at least 75 species of bryophytes — mosses and liverworts — which hold clues to Ötzi’s surroundings, according to a study released October 30, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by James Dickson of the University of Glasgow, UK and colleagues at the University of Innsbruck.

Ötzi the Iceman is a remarkable 5,300-year-old human specimen found frozen in ice approximately 3,200 meters above sea level in the Italian Alps. He was frozen alongside his clothing and gear as well as an abundant assemblage of plants and fungi. In this study, Dickson and colleagues aimed to identify the mosses and liverworts preserved alongside the Iceman.

Today, 23 bryophyte species live the area near where Ötzi was found, but inside the ice, the researchers identified thousands of preserved bryophyte fragments representing at least 75 species. It is the only site of such high altitude with bryophytes preserved over thousands of years. Notably, the assemblage includes a variety of mosses ranging from low-elevation to high-elevation species, as well as 10 species of liverworts, which are very rarely preserved in archaeological sites. Only 30% of the identified bryophytes appear to have been local species, with the rest having been transported to the spot in Ötzi’s gut or clothing or by large mammalian herbivores whose droppings ended up frozen alongside the Iceman.

From these remains, the researchers infer that the bryophyte community in the Alps around 5,000 years ago was generally similar to that of today. Furthermore, the non-local species help to confirm the path Ötzi took to his final resting place. Several of the identified moss species thrive today in the lower Schnalstal valley, suggesting that Ötzi traveled along the valley during his ascent. This conclusion is corroborated by previous pollen research, which also pinpointed Schnalstal as the Iceman’s likely route of ascent.

Dickson adds, “Most members of the public are unlikely to be knowledgeable about bryophytes (mosses and liverworts). However, no fewer than 75 species of these important investigative clues were found when the Iceman (aka Ötzi) was removed from the ice. They were recovered as mostly small scraps from the ice around him, from his clothes and gear, and even from his alimentary tract. Those findings prompted the questions: Where did the fragments come from? How precisely did they get there? How do they help our understanding of the Iceman?”