August 30, 2013

Stop the presses. Call out the National Guard. Order in the tanks. The Simon Wiesenthal Center is mad and is not going to take it anymore. Especially from Vini Lunardelli, the Italian winemaker that labels some of their wine bottles with pictures of Adolf Hitler. The little Italian winemaker has been selling Nazi-themed wines for twenty years, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center has had about enough. “Jewish life in Europe…[is] getting much worse,” wails Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Center’s dean and founder. Claiming that anti-Semitism is on the rise in France, Greece, Hungary, Spain, and Eastern Europe, Hier warns, “This is not a time where we can say we defeated anti-Semitism, we are being marginalized.”

I haven’t noticed Jews being marginalized. Last time I looked, the two largest yachts in the Med were Jewish-owned, the two largest chalets in the Alps were Jewish-owned, and Jewish life in Europe has never been more secure except for the anti-Semitic incidents that were and are caused by Arabs.

“If the History Channel can make zillions out of Hitler and WWII, why shouldn’t a little Italian grape-jumper do the same?”

So why pick on a poor Italian winemaker who calls it a marketing device and says it’s history rather than propaganda? A Jewish friend of mine asked me what I thought, and I told him the rabbi and the Center have cried wolf once too often. The Italian assuaged criticism over the years by developing a range of products that have featured Empress Elisabeth of Austria, Churchill, Napoleon, and Che Guevara. They’ve also reportedly sold wine with labels of the Pope, Stalin, and Mao. Only the Jews have been complaining. The Italian winemaker sells about 20,000 Hitler bottles per annum. Goodies as well as baddies fascinate the public, and if the History Channel can make zillions out of Hitler and WWII, why shouldn’t a little Italian grape-jumper do the same?

Are his wines any good? Not bad, say the experts, some of them Jewish. At $18 dollars a bottle plus shipping and handling, Nazi-labeled wines are mostly sold to Eastern Europe. Draconian laws in Austria and Germany do not allow Nazi labels on any product, but that hasn’t stopped the Simon Wiesenthal Center from screaming bloody murder anyway.

The Italians, after all, were allies with the Germans, if not very reliable ones. They not only protected the Jews from the Nazis, they also switched sides when it mattered most to Hitler and his gang.

But some make money from the Holocaust while others are not allowed. Vini Lunardelli is apolitical and trying to make a buck. The Simon Wiesenthal Center should go after the Arabs and those Gulf-financed people who paint swastikas on walls and hurl firebombs at synagogues. And it should lay off soft targets like Italian grape-jumpers. There!



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