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July 31, 2014 0

Anti-Semitism in Spain

Over the past week, anti-Semitism has come to the fore­front in Spain with three sig­nif­i­cant events.

Anto­nio Gala, a lead­ing colum­nist for El Mundo, a major Span­ish daily news­pa­per, wrote on July 24 that Israel’s mil­i­tary oper­a­tion in Gaza showed why Jews “have been so fre­quently expelled.”  He con­tin­ued, “What is sur­pris­ing is they per­sist.  Either they are not good, or some­one is poi­son­ing them.”

At an anti-Israel rally in Ceuta, Spain, a speaker made bla­tantly anti-Semitic com­ments and threats against Jews.  The demon­stra­tion was held last Fri­day after­noon at 7pm, just 50 yards from the Ceuta syn­a­gogue, which felt com­pelled to can­cel Shab­bat ser­vices.  The speaker said, “The Jews, for decades, for thou­sands of years, have wanted to exter­mi­nate the prophets and every­one on the face of the Earth who is not a Hebrew.  Mus­lim broth­ers, Allah-hu akbar!  In the Torah of the Jews, it says that they are the cho­sen peo­ple, that they are the cho­sen peo­ple.  I swear to G-d that we will put fear into you until Judg­ment Day.  Allah-hu akbar! Allah-hu akbar! Allah-hu akbar!”  Though sev­eral local politi­cians were in atten­dance, none appear to have voiced any condemnation.

The cumu­la­tive effect of inci­dents such as these has caused anguish in the Span­ish Jew­ish community.

The for­mer pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­a­tion of Span­ish Jew­ish Com­mu­ni­ties, Jacobo Israel Gar­zon, wrote about his dis­il­lu­sion­ment with Span­ish soci­ety in a July 29 op-ed in another major news­pa­per, ABC.  In an emo­tional arti­cle, enti­tled, “Dis­ap­point­ment and Sad­ness,” he laments the anti-Semitism he sees in Spain and pon­ders whether Jews in Ger­many felt the same in the 1930s.  He asks him­self how he could have been so blind, hav­ing stud­ied in Spain, mar­ried in Spain, raised chil­dren and wel­comed grand­chil­dren in Spain, worked all his life in Spain, con­sid­ered Span­ish his lan­guage and Spain his coun­try, and yet, after sev­enty years, to not have seen how many of his neigh­bors and coun­try­men judge him – and hate him – for who he is and not for what he does.

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