Fabio Tuiach, an avowed Catholic and boxer turned council member in the northeastern city of Trieste, Italy, is coming under fire for claiming “Jesus was not a Jew,” despite biblical evidence of the Savior’s heritage.
Tuiach reportedly made the comment during a Nov. 18 meeting ahead of a council vote on a motion proposing to award 89-year-old Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre the city’s honorary citizenship, The Jerusalem Post reported, citing a video recording from La Repubblica.
Segre, Haaretz reported, is also a senator in the Italian parliament, who has become a target for online abuse ever since she called for the creation of a parliamentary committee to fight racism and online hate speech.
The escalating threats forced the need for police bodyguards. As a show of support, several cities and towns across Italy started naming her an honorary citizen.
Tuiach reportedly called Segre a “nice little granny,” whom he respected for witnessing one of the ugliest pages in history, but said that he was offended as a “devout Catholic” that she would refer to Jesus as a Jew.
“As a devout Catholic, I was confused and also a little offended by the fact that she said that Jesus was Jewish,” Tuiach said. “He was the son of God, he was God for me; therefore I will abstain.”
His comments sparked commotion among his colleagues.
In an open letter in La Repubblica to Tuiach, writer Corrado Augias told the boxer that it wasn’t Segre that decided Jesus was Jewish, but recorded Scripture.
“The Scriptures are clear: Jesus was circumcised eight days after his birth, thus signing his covenant with the Holy Benedict according to the Torah (the Law). In fact, in the old calendars on 1 January the inscription ‘Circumcision of NSGC’ still appeared. Half a century ago, the Jewishness of Jesus was recognized by the Second Vatican Council. After centuries of uncovered anti-Semitism, Pope John XXIII opened a path of reconciliation then perfected by Pope John Paul II with a visit to the synagogue of Rome (April 1986) during which he thanked in Hebrew (Todà Rabbà) for the reception received, above all he recognized in the Jews ‘our elder brothers,’” Augias wrote.
In an interview with Haaretz, Tuiach insisted that Jesus was not a Jew and he, too, has been persecuted for his faith.
“I too am persecuted [like her] because of my faith,” he told the publication. “When I opposed the Pride Parade, which offends my religion, I was showered with insults.”
He added: “People are forgetting what Christianity really is,” that “the Middle Ages were the golden age of Christianity, when our saints were Catholic extremists who defended their religion with the sword.
“Jesus was born to a virgin, he is the Son of God. This should be obvious to anyone defending our true faith: How can he be a Jew?”
Tuiach, was elected to Trieste’s city council in 2016 with the support of the League Party led by former Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini. He has since left the party and briefly joined Forza Nuova, an openly neofascist movement, according to Haaretz. He is now an independent.