Beppe Grillo, the comedian turned politician, has just become the leader of Italy's largest party, the "Five Star Movement" in an upset victory.
This populist Europhobe got one fourth of the popular votes. He is the idol of Italy's youth. He is the anti-corruption crusader. He is the guru of the Internet.
But Beppe Grillo is also a demagogue with a virulent hatred for Israel and the United States. And his popularity, despite his despicable remarks, shows that the word "Jew" has become an accepted insult once again in Europe's public square.
Mr. Grillo does not hesitate to say that “talk of Israel is a taboo, as is talk of the euro. Just touch it, they will tell you that you are racist and anti-Zionist”.
He declared that “all that in Europe we know about Israel and Palestine, is filtered by an international agency called Memri. And behind Memri, there is a former Mossad agent. I have the evidence: Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, has used Arabic texts with independent translations and he discovered a completely different reality". Then he goes on, alluding specifically to a 'Jewish conspiracy' and the need to "check" all information on the Middle East.
Grillo also said that his Iranian father-in-law explained to him that “the translations were not accurate …”, referring to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s expressed desire to erase Israel from the map.
According to Grillo, Ahmadinejad’s regime is not like the one described by the Western media: "Those who escape, are opposed to it. But those who remained do not have the same concerns that we have abroad. The economy there is okay, people work. It’s like South America: before it was much worse. I have a cousin who builds highways in Iran".
On the executions ordered by Ahmadinejad: "One day I saw a person hanged on a square of Isfahan. I was there. I asked: what is this barbarity? But then I thought of the United States. They too have the death penalty: they put one on a diet, before killing him, because his head is not shrinking. And then: what is more cruel?".
During a show, Mr. Grillo declared: "There is a saying that 'where Attila has passed through, no grass will grow'. We can say 'where the Israelis have passed, no Palestinian will grow''".
The chairman of Milan's synagogue, Davide Romano, recently pronounced that "Grillo has a problem with the Jews".
Grillo's Facebook page and weblog, which is one of the few non-English language platforms that has become wildly popular worldwide, is full of anti-Jewish attacks from Grillo's readers, fans and supporters: "Israel is like Nazi Germany", "I hope that someone will use any means to stop this killer state", "The Jews are God's cursed people", "Zyklon B for you, peace and justice in Palestine", "the Israeli leaders are monsters", "Hamas is much better than all the Zionist governments"...
During the 2009 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Mr. Grillo wrote of Israel: "The killer of children is an assassin that must be put on trial for crimes against humanity".
Mr. Grillo even defended Mel Gibson's rant on the Jews: "Israel is scary, her behavior is irresponsible", the politician said. "I said it. And I'm not drunk. I'm just scared for my children. Israel is behind the United States or the United States is behind Israel, which is the cause and which the effect?".
Mr. Grillo has attacked "the Holocaust industry". During a show in Rome, Grillo invited Iraq's Saddam Hussein to point his rockets on a precise point on the map which was then Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's house near Milan.
Grillo has called George W. Bush "the greatest serial killer in US history". Last week, the politician tweeted: "Al Qaeda should bomb Rome".
People laugh all the time at Grillo's shows and speeches. His obscene sneer, which conquered the most popular spot in Italy's elections, shows a primitive hatred for Israel and Western values.
Behind this orgy of Judeophobic vulgarities you find Europe's old anti-Semitic hatred resurrected by a clownish trifle.
The writer, an internationally known Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He is at work on a book about the Vatican and Israel.