At the Italian office of Europe's Parliament in Rome, Via Quattro November, near the seat of Italy's President of the Republic, Marwan Barghouti has been hailed as a liberator.
Several Italian politicians and members of Europe's Parliament took part in a rally asking for the freeing of the Palestinian Arab mastermind of the Second Intifada there. Also present were Sabri Atieh, the "Palestinian ambassador" in Rome, and Qassam Barghouti, son of the terrorist.
Among the participants were also Vincenzo Vita and Lapo Pistelli, two MP's from the Democratic Party, Italy's leftist party, winners of the last election and charged with forming the next government.
"For justice, peace and dignity - Freedom for Marwan Barghouti" is the title of the Rome pro Barghouti eveny, which now has the backing of Italy's political mainstream.
Arutz Sheva asked Meotti for his comments on the event and a survey of current Italian anti-Semitism:
"Can you imagine Italian senators and members of the Parliament calling for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's release from Guantanamo? On September 12th, when Israeli flags were lowered to half mast, Barghouti celebrated the US national misfortune with other Fatah leaders.
"Barghouti has been proven responsible for shootings and suicide bomb attacks on Israeli civilians and was - until his capture, trial and imprisonment - one of the world’s most wanted criminals.
"Is this why Italian politicians are asking for his release, because he is sitting in an Israeli jail for the shooting that killed Sharon and Yaniv Ben-Shalom, for the murder of Meir Weisbein in northern Jerusalem, for the killing of Yoela Cohen near northern Jerusalem suburb Givat Ze’ev, for mortar attacks on Psagot, for shootings at the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem and for having recruited the terrorist who killed three people at the Sea Food Market restaurant in Tel Aviv. And the list doesn’t stop here.
"Why did the European Union grant a permit to celebrate a terrorist in its own building? And why didn't the Democratic Party expel the MKs who approved this obscene manifestation of anti-Semitism?
"Holocaust denial, anti-Jewish contempt and churlish anti-Semitism have gone mainstream in Italy's dolce vita. From the street insult to the online publication to physical aggression to incitement to terrorism like in Barghouti's case, anti-Semitic episodes doubled last year in Italy against 2011.
"And anti-Semitism is rife in Italy's academic world.
"An incident in the Caravillani School of the Arts, a Rome high school, has received wide publicity in the last few days. A Jewish student in the school with a headache who was having trouble concentrating in math class was reprimanded by the teacher, who said, "If you were in Auschwitz, you would probably be paying more attention." The girl, named Yael, burst into tears.
Another case involved Pietro Melis, a professor at the University of Cagliari, who wrote that "the gas chambers should be used again for the orthodox Jews" and that "it should not be a crime to kill a religious Jew".
Recently, a teacher from the northern city of Torino, Renato Pallavidini, posted a message on his Facebook page threatening to commit a massacre in a local synagogue: "I will go to the synagogue next to my house, with my pistol, and gun down some parasite Jews."
A professor of law at La Sapienza University, Rome's largest faculty, Antonio Caracciolo, defined the Holocaust "a legend", while at the Manzoni's school in Milan, a professor of philosophy named Barbara Albertoni wrote that the Holocaust is "the founding myth of Zionism".
In Italian publications there is an alarming increase of hatred.
La Repubblica's website, Italy's most popular daily, just hosted (and then cancelled) an opinion piece by Piergiorgio Odifreddi, Italy's most famous atheist: "One of the most heinous crimes of the Nazi occupation in Italy was the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine. On 24 May 1944, the Germans 'executed' 335 Italians in retaliation for the attack carried out by the partisan resistance (...) These days what is taking place in Israel is the replica of the Nazi logic of the Fosse Ardeatine. Under the guise of countering 'terrorist acts' by the Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupiers, the Netanyahu government is bombing the Gaza Strip and is preparing to invade it with tens of thousands of troops". According to Odifreddi, Israel is committing a massacre "ten times larger than that of the Nazis".
A recent speech by the left-leaning Israeli author David Grossman in Milan was interrupted by pro-Arab militants who shouted "Jews assassins" and "Jews Nazis". The intimidation continued outside the theater, where people shouted that "Jews should have all been killed in the concentration camps". It happened in the middle of Italy's most important financial city.
Jewish politicians, journalists, jurists or friends of the Jewish people have been named on a hit-list as “slaves of the Jewish mafia” by a website Holywar.org, illustrated by pictures of handcuffs made in the shape of a Magen David. The author of this article is also listed in that black list.
Seventy years after the Second World War, the word “Jew” has become again an accepted insult in the Italian square.
I stand ashamed that my country's senators are now publicly defending a mass murder like Marwan Barghouti, a man who planned and celebrated the maiming, burning and murder of Jewish men, women and children in schools, buses and restaurants.