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Spanish Jews denounce the resurgence of the Anti-Semetic thought November 25, 2009

Posted by cristobalgomez in Uncategorized.

46% of the population has an unfavorable vision of the Israelis.

It has been more than five centuries since the Catholic Kings expelled the Jews from Spain, but 507 years later the anti-Semitism has not been reduced rather these types of attitudes towards Jews continue.  These opinions come from the prejudice and ignorance towards the Jewish culture.  This was the principal affirmation during the two day conference of the II International Conference about Anti-Semitism, which ended yesterday in Madrid.

The debate about Anti-Semitism is an ancient debate that is extraordinarily complex, as much for its intricate historical disputes as for the rhetorical precision required in the discussion.  “One has to allow criticism of the Israeli government without accepting Anti-Semitism,” said Ana Salomón, ambassador in the special mission for the relations with the Jewish community and organizations.  “It is essential to differentiate between political criticism and anti-Semitic defamation,” said Alejandro Baer, professor of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and coordinator of the conference.

One of the principal topics of discussion was the close relation between anti-Semitism and Islam.  “Today in the Islamic world there is a new brand of Judeophobia, said Jacabo Israel Garzón, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain (FCJE).  Alfonso Merlos, professor of the IE School of Communication, went on the attack: “When one is Muslim, he cannot put the concepts of democracy and liberty on the table.”

The Muslim interpretation remained in limbo, without the representation of a single representative at this discussion, since the invited person could not attend, according to the organization.

Between the dogmas emerges the question: how does this anti-Semitic sentiment exist if the Jews are almost invisible in Spain (only 40,000).  The Confessional Jews who attended the conference admitted that they had not suffered one uncomfortable episode because of being Jewish.  Yet it is discussed in the face of the informational void that surrounds this topic, according to Baer.

“Anti-Semitism exists in Spain, but it´s not worrisome” noted José Juan Toharia, president of Metroscopia.  In the Spanish Penal Code, hatred is considered like an aggravating circumstance, but its application is infrequent.  José María Contreras, Director General of relations with religion said that “There continue to be few incidents of anti-Semitism in the judicial system.”

Various speakers fell back on the 2008 Pew Research Center study, which concluded that disapproval of Jews and Muslims has grown in Europe in the last four years, and in Spain, especially in relation to the Jews.

The study indicates that 46% of Spaniards, 36% of Poles, and 34% of Russians look down upon Jews, while only 25% of Germans and 20% of French people think the same.  “An anti-Semitic society is an unhealthy society…” claimed Masha Gabriel, director of Radio Sefarad.

“Today´s anti-Semitism doesn´t recognize this condition… The Jews have passed from being voluntarily visible to being involuntarily transparent,” said Uriel Macías, an advisor to the conference.



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