Berlusconi's praise for Mussolini on Holocaust Day demands condemnation


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The Independent Online

Berlusconi's not done yet, with politics or bigotry. There has been bribery. Bunga-bunga with allegedly underage girls. And now - as the former Italian Premier bids to return to parliament - he's affirmed his well-known sympathies for fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, speaking on the day chosen to commemorate the Holocaust.

Mussloni's "racial laws" were a fault, admitted Berlusconi, but in so many other ways Il Duce "did good". His alliance with Adolf Hitler was mere pragmatism, and the Italians were "partly unwitting" to the scale of the Holocaust and therefore not so responsible

A Washington Post editorial today slams Berlusconi's speech for the dangerous claptrap it is. The media mogul was taking a political gamble, "attempting to appeal to far-right voters who wallow in nostalgia for Italy’s fascist era."

Worse is the confirmation praising fascism gives to Italian youth groups, in which Neo-Nazi ideology and "anti-Jewish" hatred has been gaining currency, according to President Giorgio Napolitano.

In the UK, Berlusconi is sometimes seen as a figure of fun. This should put paid once and for all to any sense of the former Premier's harmlessness.