(JNi.media) Stefan Grech, 45, a Maltese EU administrator who is being investigated for an anti-Semitic assault on a woman, told Brussels police he had been drinking for five hours before the incident. He assured the cops his attack had nothing to do anti-Semitism, the Times of Malta reported.
Grech allegedly struck an Italian woman on the head with a metal plate that bore a commemoration of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, and grabbed her neck between his hands in an attempt to strangle her. The woman complained that Grech also called her “a dirty Jew” and later opined that “Hitler should have finished off the Jews.”
“He was talking about Nazis and Jews,” a friend of the victim told police, “They were racist comments, that was very clear.”
“I was out celebrating 10 years working with the European Commission and had been drinking mojitos from 7 PM till about midnight when all this happened,” Grech said. Then he said that despite his five hours of imbibing alcohol, he was not really drunk, just not “100 per cent.”
A Mojito is a traditional Cuban highball, consisting of white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water, and mint. It’s the kind of cocktail that can be consumed in large amounts before the full effect of the alcohol is felt.
Grech admitted he had “tapped” the woman on the head with the steel plate, according to the Times of Malta, which may be socially accepted on his home island, but is frowned on in Belgium—an element of etiquette he might have picked up over his ten-year stay there. Grech insisted the tapping was used only to punctuate his heated argument with the woman, and entirely free from any anti-Semitic sentiments.
“I am not a racist. I have Jewish and black friends and have nothing against them,” Grech said, who did tell the press that he held “firm views on the situation in Palestine.”
In 2002, Grech was found guilty of owning and distributing child pornography and was sentenced to six-months in prison, suspended for two years.
Joel Rubinfeld, president of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism (LBCA), told The Jerusalem Post that the fight started after the Italian woman had expressed surprise at the metal plate that was engraved with Mussolini’s name. She told Grech that, despite his positive sentiments about the man, “Mussolini was still a dictator,” which is when the anti-Semitic insults came flying out. The victim, by the way, is not Jewish, but when he asked, she told him, “I could be a Jew.”