Vatican paper slams Berlusconi over ‘Jewish joke’

Vatican paper slams Berlusconi over ‘Jewish joke’

ROME — The official Vatican newspaper slammed Italy’s prime minister for a joke that played on Jewish stereotypes and made fun of the Holocaust.

Silvio Berlusconi told “offensive” and “deplorable” jokes, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano said in an editorial published Sunday

Berlusconi was filmed telling the “Jewish joke” to well-wishers Oct. 2; the video clip was posted online by the anti-Berlusconi newspaper La Repubblica.

In the clip the prime minister recounts how a Jew charged another Jew about $4,000 a day for hiding him during World War II. The punchline of the joke states, “The Jew says, the question now is whether we should tell him Hitler is dead and the war is over.”

Berlusconi has been filmed or quoted in recent years making a number of other jokes that include content seen as sexist or offensive.

In its editorial the L’Osservatore Romano said, “The head of the government’s jokes appear more deplorable” and “offend indiscriminately the feeling of the faithful and the sacred memory of the six million victims” of the Holocaust.