Saturday, September 26, 2009

Spain sees a rise in anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Spain, with increasing cases of public racism and greater acceptance of violent anti-Jewish attitudes according to a new report.

Polluting the Public Square: Anti Semitic Discourse in Spain highlights examples of purportedly anti-Semitic political cartoons in the mainstream media, anti-Israeli demonstrations, and vandalism of Jewish community centres.

The Spanish newspapers El Pais (who, quite fairly gave coverage to the report)and El Mundo came in for particular attention.

What the report justifiably suggests to me is that too many journalists and cartoonists think that Judaism is the same thing as the state of Israel, or even the Israeli government.

There are plenty of Jews inside and outside Israel who do not support the Israeli government and strongly disagree with the excess force and other discriminatory policies it has undoubtedly imposed on Palestinians. (I would argue that self-defence against terrorists across its border makes moral sense though.)

Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos, has stated that the Spanish government would investigate these allegations and report to the New York-based publishers of the report at a later date.


Czarny Kot said...

Is this a case of anti-Semitism hiding under criticism of Israel, critcism of Israel wrongly being labelled anti-Semitism or just simple, old-fashioned anti-Semitism?

Perhaps all 3?

I can't remember the issue ever coming up when I lived in Spain. How big is the Jewish population?

Brett Hetherington said...

Thanks for your comment, Czarny Kot. I think yes, sometimes it is the above three cases, though it depends on the author of the statements and their motives, which can be hard to discern. For whichever reason, I think it still needs pointing out when it's done. A population figure for Jews in Spain I saw estimated about 30,000.

(When and where did you live in Spain?)

Czarny Kot said...

Just for one year, around the time of the invasion of Iraq (2004?)

I actually lived in Bilbao so whether or not it was actually Spain is a touchy subject.

Brett Hetherington said...

Ah, yes. It's a touchy subject here in Catalonia too. And getting touchier by the day!