Rivaling Italian politicians on the left and the right can agree on one thing: They are outraged by a recent call to boycott Jewish-owned shops in response to Israel's actions in Gaza. A trade union tied to retail and food businesses handed out flyers calling for a boycott of "shops in central Rome linked to the Israelite community" and apparently listed streets populated with Jewish shops as "sales dirtied by blood." Now Italian political leaders have called the boycott "criminal," and the Italian Jewish community plans to sue the union under antiracism laws.
The trade union defends the boycott. To see why,
. Union officials point to Israel's "military force against unarmed civilians" as reason to protest Italian businesses tied to the Middle Eastern country. Today, far from Italy, both Israel and Hamas rejected a UN call for a ceasefire as the war continued.
It's not uncommon for activists to call on consumers to stop supporting countries they believe violate human rights, such as China. But given Italy's history of anti-Semitism and the nature of the flyers, do you think this boycott amounts to criminal racism?