Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo has joined the alarming tide of anti-Israel hate-speech in Europe on Wednesday, saying he wanted to set up a fund to help Hamas "buy better weapons", and saying that he would personally like "to shoot those bastard Zionists."
Vattimo insisted that Hamas is “fighting with toy rockets that don’t really kill anyone.” When asked whether he would like to see more Israelis killed, Vattimo - who edited a book entitled Deconstructing Zionism: A Critique of Political Metaphysics - told Radio 24 broadcasters, “Of course! But unfortunately, I can’t really shoot."
The leading Italian philosopher had previously claimed that he was a "peaceful person" at the start of the interview.
He added that the European Union (EU) should fight alongside Hamas, comparing it to the use of foreign fighters to fight fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War.
Renzo Gattegna, the leader of Italy’s Union of Jewish communities, called Vattimo’s words “unacceptable” and “a mixture of the most heinous allegations” against Israel.
And Stefano Jesurum, the Jewish community's representative to the Milan city council, said he was shocked by the statements.
"Either Vattimo is completely nuts, or he was speaking in bad faith. I refuse to believe that a well-educated European, a scholar, can see any parallel between Israel and Spain under Franco’s regime," Jesurun said.
Vattimo's statements surface just hours after the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France and Italy condemned a shocking spike in anti-Semitism during violent anti-Israel protests in both countries, as well as throughout Europe, since the start of the IDF's operation to stop rocket fire from Gaza.
“Anti-Semitic rhetoric, hostility directed at Jews, and attacks against Jews in synagogues have no place within our society," the joint statement said.
A recent poll by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) showed that 20% of Italians hold anti-Semitic views.