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The Jewish community warns of a growing antisemitism in Spain April 4, 2011

Posted by cristobalgomez in Uncategorized.
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  • They ask for a reform of the Penal Code in order to shut down neo-Nazi websites

  • They alert especially concerning xenophobic and racist expressions on the web

  • What is illegal in the press isn’t illegal on the Internet,” they explain

  • A survey reveals that 34.6% have an “unfavorable opinion” about Jews

Olga R. Sanmartín

Madrid

March 30, 2011

The Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain (FCJE) and Movement against Intolerance warned this Wednesday that in recent years there has been an “extraordinary” and “dangerousgrowth of antisemitism in our country.

In a press conference to present the Report on Antisemitism in Spain during 2010, Jacobo Israel, president of the FCJE, and Esteban Ibarra, president of the Movement against Intolerance, warned especially about the racist and xenophobic expressions spread via Internet.

What is illegal in the press is not illegal on the Internet,” Jacobo Israel condemned.

If the defense of hate is a crime, it should also be a crime on the Internet,” he stressed, and he reminded us of two characteristics of the Internet – “anonymity” and “enormous diffusion” – which make it “an ideal medium for the diffusion of hate.”

Jacobo Israel and Esteban Ibarra have explained that is impossible to account in numerical form for the growth of Antisemitic acts and opinions in recent years, as much because many are not reported and because they are enveloped in a general concept of xenophobia and not extracted.

Ibarra has affirmed that each year there are some 4,000 racist incidents in Spain. If one were to extrapolate from what occurs in the rest of Europe, where “10% of this incidents have a clearly Antisemitic character,” it could be said, the president of the NGO has confirmed, that “nearly 400 Antisemitic incidents” take place each year in our country.

Jacobo Israel referred to the survey carried out by Casa Sefarad last year, in which 34.6% of those surveyed by the Institute commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were shown to have an “unfavorable opinion” of Jews.

There is no other similar survey in our country, so we cannot compare the evolution of opinions against Jews.

The influence of the crisis

In that poll, 58.4% of the Spanish population reports that they believe “Jews have a lot of power because they control the economy and the media for communication.”

The economic crisis is encouraging racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, and Islamophobia,” Esteban Ibarra explained.

Are Jews blamed for the crisis, like the groups of immigrants have been? Leaders of the Jewish community have said yes and have related how on Internet forums the economic downturn has been blamed on “the worldwide Jewish lobby” and it has been repeated again and again that “Madoff is a Jew.”

Reform of the Penal Code

Ibarra has said as well that “Spain is not fulfilling its tasks regarded the fight against antisemitism.” He as well as Jacobo Israel has petitioned for a reform of the Penal Code, as mandated by the EU, so that websites with xenophobic content can be shut down.

They have also demanded that there be Public Prosecutors specializing in hate crimes and antisemitism in all the autonomous community (currently they only exist in the provincial courts of Madrid and Barcelona).

In the report on antisemitism, there are 28 documented acts against Jews reported in 2010, as well as 400 websites that incite “hate, racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia.”

 

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