- The Washington Times - Friday, November 8, 2019

An 89-year-old Italian senator and Holocaust survivor is under police protection after she proposed creating a coalition to combat racism and intolerance.

Liliana Segre — who was liberated from a concentration camp as a teenager — has been assigned two police officers to protect her around the clock after she was targeted with anti-Semitic death threats.

Ms. Segre’s proposal was passed by the Senate Oct. 31, but 98 senators representing conservative parties chose not to vote and failed to applaud Ms. Segre with the rest of the Senate.

Historian Anna Foa told NBC News she’s not “surprised anonymous people are attacking Mrs. Segre” online.

“What really surprised me and worries me is the stand by right-wing politicians against an old woman who survived the Holocaust as a child,” she said.

Ms. Segre said she has received 200 hate-filled messages a day via social media, prompting her to get a security team.

Ms. Foa told NBC News she sees this type of hatred as a worrying trend that began “two years ago” when Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini — part of the opposition League Party — “came into power.”

“This is a turning point in a process of institutionalization of racism and anti-Semitism,” she said. “The fact that he has been able to use freely racist remarks, without condemnation nor regret, has led to people and political parties to speak out openly and violently about things they wouldn’t dare say in the past.”

Mr. Salvini has been criticized as racist because of his stance on immigration in Italy. Despite this, his League Party has topped polls as the country’s favorite political faction.

When asked about Ms. Segre, Mr. Salvini said, “I also receive threats. Threats, whether they are against Segre or Salvini, are unacceptable.”

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