Hundreds of Italians have signed an online petition slamming Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip as a “slow genocide” of the Palestinians and demanding a “Nuremberg trial” for Israel over the “destruction” of Palestine.

The petition was signed by 525 Italians, mainly academics, Haaretz reported. The signees say they are dismayed by the events in Gaza and accuse Israel of pursuing colonial policies and “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians.

The document calls for Israel to face an international tribunal, a Nuremberg-like trial, for its war crimes and the “slow genocide” of the Palestinian people. Italian activists believe that not only the Israeli military and the government, but also the entire state of Israel and “its accomplices” should be brought to trial over current events, as well as those in the past and “the foreseeable future.”

The online document also blames the US for supporting Israel, and the EU for “active or passive complicity” in Israel’s actions against the Palestinian people. The petition signees also accuse the United Nations of its failure to stop Israel. The Western media, according to activists, paints the events in the wrong light, justifying the Israeli offensive in Gaza as a self-defense operation.

Called ‘Noi Accusiamo’ (We Accuse), the petition was initially published on an academic website, Historia Magistra, but has gone viral after being re-posted on the website of left-wing newspaper Il Manifesto.

People hold up pictures during a demonstration in central Rome to protest against Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. (AFP Photo / Tiziana Fabi)

However, the paper’s co-editor-in-chief, Tommaso Di Francesco, told Haaretz that Il Manifesto had “nothing to do” with the document and that it appeared on their website thanks to a blogger. He added that the petition did not appear in the printed version of the newspaper since he believes the Nazi comparison to be “repulsive and historically incorrect.” The series of trials known as the Nuremberg Trials were held by the Allied Forces after WWII to bring Nazi criminals to justice.

The document has already triggered strong reactions for drawing a parallel between Israel and Nazi Germany and for suggesting that an entire nation should face trial.

According to Haaretz, the petition was drafted by Angelo d’Orsi, a professor of history at the University of Turin and a contributor to a number of left-wing publications.

The author of the document said he was perfectly aware that the “Nazi analogy is a strained comparison.” D’Orsi said he referred to Nuremberg “to shock the Italian Jewish community,” which in his words is “a mouthpiece for the Israeli government.”

The publication comes amid growing international criticism over Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip. The four-week offensive has already claimed over 1,800 Palestinian lives – most of whom were civilians, according to rights groups.

On Tuesday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki said that Israel must be prosecuted at The Hague for war crimes it committed during the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Bill van Esweld of Human Rights Watch also told RT that the Israeli military must be held criminally accountable for the operation.

There has been a surge in anti-Israel – as well as anti-Semitic – sentiments in Europe, with synagogues and Jewish venues attacked and Jewish nationals receiving death threats.

In Italy, for instance, signs bearing anti-Semitic slogans have surfaced across the country, with more than 70 posters and inscriptions with hate speech and swastikas appearing in the capital of Rome. Those included slogans such as: “Jews, your end is near”; “Dirty Jews”;“Anna Frank was a liar” and “Let’s burn synagogues,” according to Haaretz.

The situation has prompted Jewish communities across the EU to step up security, while almost one-third of Jews are mulling emigration, according to a study by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency.

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