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Go to Times of Israel for an upto date review of ‘Antisemitism in Spain’

The Anti-Defamation League commissioned First International Resources to update attitudes and opinions toward Jews in 19 countries around the world. Fieldwork and data collection for this public opinion project were conducted and coordinated by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research. All interviews were conducted between March 5 – April 8, 2015.  Details of the methodology used can be found at   ADLGLOBAL 100

The expected margin of sampling error for the countries surveyed with n=1000 interviews  is +3.2%.  

All interviews were conducted in Spain between March 5 – April 8, 2015.

Adult population   37,966,037   
Total number of individuals harboring Anti-Semitic attitudes    11,000,000

29% of the adult population had anti_Semitic tendencies  

See   ADL GLOBAL 100  


Jews in Islamic-occupied Spain, Al-Andalus, were second-class citizens  (dhimmis) who were targeted in pogroms such as the 1066 Granada massacre.

In 1492, via the Alhambra Decree, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ordered the expulsion of an estimated 800,000 Jews from the country, and thus put an end to the largest and most distinguished Jewish community in Europe. The coercive baptisms eventually produced the phenomenon of the conversos (Marranos), the Inquisition, and statutes of “blood purity” five centuries before the race laws in Nazi Germany. From the end of the nineteenth century, Jews have been perceived as conspirators, alongside the notion of a universal Jewish conspiracy to control the world. Following the Soviet revolution and the founding of the Spanish Communist Party in 1920, such “anti-Spanish forces” were primarily identified with the “destructive communist virus,” often considered to be guided by the Jews.

During the Spanish Civil War, the alliance between Franco’s faction and Nazi Germany opened the way for the emergence of antisemitism in the Spanish Right. It was during the 1960s that the first Spanish neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups appeared, such as CEDADE. Later on, the Spanish neo-Nazis attempted to use antisemitic discourse to explain the political transition to democracy (1976–1982) following the death of General Franco. It drew on the same ideas that had been expressed in 1931 when the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed — that political turning points could be explained as the result of various “intrigues”. From 1948 until 1986, Israel was not recognized by Spain, and Israel and Spain had no diplomatic ties. In 1978, Jews were recognized as full citizens in Spain, and today the Jewish population numbers about 40,000 - 1 percent of Spain's population, 20,000 of whom are registered in the Jewish communities. The majority live in the larger cities of Spain on the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa or the islands. Nevertheless, many of the prejudices cultivated during the Franco years persist in the twenty-first century. Derived from the fact that almost all Spaniards are Catholic, and Spain remains to this day one of the most homogeneous Western countries, Spanish Judeophobia reflects a national obsession with religious and ethnic unity which is based on the conception of an imaginary “internal enemy” plotting the downfall of the Catholic religion and the traditional social order.

Haaretz  Margarita Gokun Silver, Nov 02, 2015

My daughter's Spanish classmates are well-versed in the anti-Semitic classics: They glorify fascism, tell her to 'go to the gas chambers' and believe all Jews are damned.

On October 1 the law that offers Spanish citizenship to the descendants of the Sephardic Jews went into effect in Spain. It seeks to rectify an event that happened more than 500 years ago: the expulsion of all Jews by the Catholic Monarchs, Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II, from the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon and its territories.

Just a few days earlier, on September 28, my daughter told me about an interaction she had in her Madrid school.

“Go to the gas chambers,” a classmate told her during a study hour, “or to a concentration camp.” He then added: “Where are your striped pajamas?”

My daughter is fifteen. For the past two years she’s been studying in a Spanish, bilingual school that made the top ten on the El Mundo 2015 best schools in Spain list. We moved her there after a year in the American school where we felt she was learning no Spanish and had no exposure to the local culture.

But this wasn’t the kind of exposure we had in mind.

My daughter tells me that in her class’s WhatsApp group students routinely use “Heil Hitler” as a greeting. They say that they’ve been taught - through their religion and communities -that Jews have been and will always be damned. And they cite historical examples, including those of Hitler and Franco.

For me, my daughter’s experience is a flashback I never thought I’d have in a 21st century Western society.

My own encounter with bigotry and Jew-specific hatred began when I was nine. The only Jewish kid in my class, my ethnicity recorded front and center in the teacher’s journal, I bore the brunt of the renowned Russian anti-Semitism almost every day from the moment my classmates were old enough to sneak into the journal to check on test results. There, among the sea of ‘Russian’, the word ‘Jewess’ stood out between my name and my grades like an ugly, burned stump of a tree among an otherwise green field. From then on ‘Zhidovka’, the go-to-slur for a Jewish female, followed me everywhere.

During the next seven years of school and three years of university I made every effort to hide my origins. Those who didn’t see the teacher’s journal or my passport with its glaring ‘fifth line’, a special section listing everyone’s ethnic origin, had no way of knowing I was a Jew. For the average Soviet citizen with eagle vision for Jews, I didn’t look it, the crass stereotypical signs of a large Semitic nose and eyes that bulged a little missing from my face.

My last name didn’t sound Jewish. And my first name reminded people of Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita”, a Russian classic if there was ever one. In the country where being a Jew was worse than being a drunkard and a traitor to the Motherland combined, I avoided telling people about my background at all costs. When at twenty I left the USSR for the United States, I did so because I knew there would be no future for me in a society that teaches Jew-hatred from a very young age.

Much like I was more than thirty years ago, today my daughter is the only Jew in her class. In fact, she is the only Jew in her school of almost 1300 kids. Buoyed by both her upbringing and her ability to speak up where I failed when I was her age, she doesn’t hang her head in shame. She stands up against the bigotry. But she is in the minority. While the Jewish community has been steadily growing in Spain, its numbers are nowhere near what they were five hundred years ago. Yet anti-Semitism, codified with the expulsion and nurtured by anti-Jewish pulpit propaganda and Franco-inspired fascism, continues to permeate the society. “If I was raised as a fascist, I am not going to stop being a fascist,” my daughter’s classmate states, unabashed, in a class WhatsApp group.

And I wonder why, new law non-withstanding, would Jews want to move to a country where the young generation is still taught the hatred those Jews’ ancestors escaped centuries ago?

Jerusalem Post,  Hugh Ash  03/06/2016

IT should come as no surprise to those familiar with the odious publication that the Spanish magazine El Jueves – ‘Thursday’ in local lingo – is facing the threat of legal action from Madrid’s Jewish community.

The Barcelona-based weekly, which styles itself an Iberian version of France’s anarchic Charlie Hebdo, long ago abused the right to be considered satirical. Often as puerile as it is gratuitously offensive, far-Left El Jueves plays by no known journalistic rules, with nothing and nobody off-limits.

Spain's monarchy is a regular target. But, in 2007, the royals had the publication sequestered and its editors fined €6,000 for publishing a cartoon depicting (the then) Prince Felipe (now King Felipe VI) having sex with his wife, Letizia, insinuating that if a pregnancy resulted he could claim a parenthood grant of €2,500, the first gainful employment in his life.

Then, in 2014, El Jueves' owners pulled a cartoon depicting King Juan Carlos abdicating in favor of his son by passing on a crown of steaming excrement, causing 14 of its staff to quit in a hissy fit.

Fortunately for the monarchy it is protected by law from being so outrageously lampooned, a privilege that doesn’t extend to Spain’s few Jews.

Which is why the capital’s Jewish community is considering legal recourse against El Jueves, following its recent printing of a comic-strip which could have been lifted straight from Nazi spinmeister, Joseph Goebbels’ manual of anti-Semitic vitriol.

The repulsive artwork – featuring a hook-nosed Jew abusing Jesus, an Israeli soldier urinating on an Arab and an accusation that Jerusalem’s Israel Museum keeps a Torah wrapped in scrotum skin – is not the first time El Jueves has indulged in unadulterated, Jew-baiting bilge.

Yet it’s hardly alone, because the Spanish media across the political spectrum has, at times, been similarly culpable. Even mainstream dailies – notably centre-Right El Mundo – have published unambiguous, anti-Semitic dross. And Spanish TV coverage of various Israel-Palestinian conflicts rarely bothers airing the Jewish state’s side of the story.

Even by sorry European standards, no other country seems as obsessed as Spain in vilifying Israel/Jews with such brazen contempt. Which is why it has also been seized upon by gobby, Left-leaning celebs.

This was exemplified in 2014, when Spain’s premier luvvies, Javier Bardem and his wife, Penelope Cruz, penned an open letter supporting racist writer, Antonio Gala’s tirade in El Mundo, proposing Spain’s 50,000 Jews be kicked out, since ‘it is though they were not made to co-exist’.

Renowned for fiery radicalism, Bardem damned the last Israel-Hamas clash as ‘genocide’ and ‘a war of occupation and extermination against a people without means, confined to a minimum of land, without water and where hospitals, ambulances and children are targets and presumed to be terrorists.’

But, after the missive provoked worldwide rage – non-Jewish star, Jon Voigt, accused them of promoting anti-Semitism– the pair hastily backtracked, issuing a cringe of mea culpas, Cruz pleading, ‘I’m not an expert on the [complex] situation’, Bardem parroting his ‘great respect for the people of Israel and deep compassion for their losses.’

Quite what Jewish film-makers, Woody Allen and the Coen Brothers – whose genius gifted the hypocritical duo ‘Best Supporting’ Oscars – made of that contrition isn’t known, but it must have comes as some relief to their agent and bank manager.

To most outsiders, then, Spanish hostility towards Jews is hardly news.

After all, it dates back to 1492 when their Catholic majesties, Ferdinand and Isabella, conquered the last remaining Muslim stronghold, Granada, changed the Arabic name of El Andalus to Andalusia and banished the 300,000 indigenous Jews.

Some who remained were forcibly converted to Catholicism. But, as ‘conversos’ they were regularly subject to terror from the Inquisition, after jealous neighbors and business rivals claimed they practiced the old faith on the sly.

And Franco’s brutal fascist regime, strongly influenced by the Catholic Church, cranked up the anti-Semitic rhetoric, despite Spain being ‘Judenrein’ for five centuries.

Even after 1975 and the dictator’s death, when democracy crashed through the granite barrier of the Pyrenees and Spain’s age of repressive isolation ended, Jew-hatred lingered like a nasty rash.

This was underlined by a 2008 Pew survey, which reported 46% of Spaniards harbored negative views of Jews – then the highest percentage per head of population in Europe – while a report by Spain’s Education Ministry revealed over 50% of students said they’d refuse to sit next to a Jew in class.

The flames of Spanish anti-Semitism were further fanned by Jose Luis Zapatero, when the Left-wing, pro-Arab ideologue was Prime Minister (2004-2008). Sporting an Arafat-style scarf, he regularly attacked Israel at pro-Palestinian demos that usually descend into vitriolic Jew-bashing.

The Mr. Bean lookalike – said to be a descendent of conversos, like 20% of Spaniards – was also reported to have once remarked, ‘It is understandable that someone might justify the Holocaust.’

However, in stark contrast to its ignominious past, Spain is discovering and lauding its Jewish heritage, as increasingly more of its medieval cities are showcasing their ancient Judaic sites and artifacts.

Skeptics say this is just Spain cashing in on a new revenue stream from tourists. Yet there is a growing body of opinion – including voices within the Jewish community, which constitutes 0.05% of the country’s 46.5-million populace – that insists anti-Semitism in today’s Spain is ‘mainly borne out of ignorance’ since so few Spaniards have met a Jew, wouldn’t recognise one or been exposed to pro-Jewish/Israel opinion.

They also point to the fact the Spanish government is now granting foreign Jews of provable Sephardi origin the ‘right of return’ and citizenship – it’s estimated that over 4,300 have applied – as yet another sign of changing times and softening attitudes.

Meanwhile, Spain’s lawmakers have voted to make Holocaust awareness education mandatory in schools.

All these maybe baby steps towards some kind of atonement for the country’s hideous transgressions against Jews, but at least they are positives.

How far – and how fast – Spain will go towards further redemption is anyone’s guess.

What is a given, though, is Jew-bashing offenders like El Jueves are finally being named and shamed on the international stage, which strikes a blow at thin-skinned Spanish sensibilities.

A call to flee Spain for Israel inflates the terror threat and underplays the city's rich Jewish life
The Times of Israel Victor Sorenssen, August 22 2017

Victor Sorenssen is director of AEPJ, the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage and is the spokesperson of the Jewish Community of Barcelona.

BARCELONA, Spain (JTA) — In the wake of the horrendous recent terrorist attack in my city, our chief rabbi declared that the Jewish community here is “doomed” and encouraged us to buy property in Israel. With all due respect to the rabbi, he is wrong.

I am 34 years old and have lived in Barcelona since I was 4. I attended the Jewish day school, the public high school and Barcelona University. During the past three years, I have been privileged to serve as director of the Jewish community of Barcelona.

I know this historic community and its people quite well. Next year we will celebrate the centenary of our community’s re-establishment following the expulsion of 1492. In these past hundred years, Jews from all over the world have been attracted to play an active role in the life of our community: Turkish and Greek Jews who arrived in the First World War; activists who participated in the Spanish Civil War; Jews fleeing European anti-Semitism; Moroccan Jews who arrived after the independence of their native country; Latin American Jews; and large numbers of Israelis who have fallen in love with our city.

Barcelona is a dynamic Jewish melting pot. We are religiously pluralistic, blessed with four synagogues each embracing a different approach to Judaism. As Jews everywhere, we relish arguing among ourselves. Yet one of the things that unites us is our relationship with and love of the city.

And not without reason. Barcelona is synonymous with solidarity, welcome, peace and cultural diversity. A trendy city for tourists, a place of opportunity for businesspeople, it is a mecca for those interested in history, art, architecture, soccer and postcard landscapes. We proudly show our city to friends from abroad. We love listening to Hebrew in the city center. We revel in and are active participants in its rich culture. Barcelona is truly an international city; it is no coincidence that those killed and injured in the terrorist attack came from 34 different countries.

Since 1977, with the arrival of democracy in our country, the Jewish community has played an active role in the social, cultural and religious life of the wider society, and we have developed close relations with government institutions at all levels — Barcelonan, Catalonian and Spanish. Public activities have been organized in the Barcelona synagogue. We have celebrated Hanukkah in the streets. We annually commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Catalan Parliament. Every year, hundreds of schools bring their students to the synagogue, where we educate them about Judaism and the important history of our community. We are longstanding participants in interreligious dialogue. In fact, this year our Talmud Torah teacher is president of the official interreligious group of Catalonia.

We are experiencing a revival of Jewish culture. For example, local Jewish authors have published academic books and novels. Last year we organized the first Jewish Literature Festival. This year marks the 19th anniversary of the Jewish Film Festival of Barcelona.The Jewish Museum and Study Center of Girona, not far from Barcelona, is a place to discover Catalan’s Jewish medieval history, which includes the great Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman, the Ramban. Many municipalities participate in the European Day of Jewish Culture.

Catalonia hosts brilliant Hebraists, disciples of the Hebrew Department of the University of Barcelona — the oldest chair at the university — as well as renowned writers and historians who have great expertise on Judaism and the history of Catalan Jews. This trend is also reflected in the growing interest of the general Catalan population in Jewish matters, interest that we see translating into spiritual, historical and intellectual curiosity. In short, there is a vibrancy to Jewish life in Barcelona.

The scourge of terrorism has brought great shock and sadness to Barcelona, as it has done in other European cities. These are difficult days for us, no doubt, and we cry and pray for the victims. We are fully coordinating our security with the authorities, who have always been responsive, and our non-Jewish neighbors consistently demonstrate solidarity with us.

The goal of the terrorists is to make us afraid. Barcelona is not afraid. The Jewish community here is not afraid. This cowardly act of violence will only make us stronger in our resolve to stay and grow the Jewish community of this amazing city. We Jews of Barcelona have been proudly living in our revived community for 100 years. We aren’t leaving.





in Spain

Jews Should Rethink Spanish Citizenship

Is Spain
Truly Atoning
for its
Age-old Antisemitism?

Jewish community
is not doomed