Anti-Semitism in Spain is on the rise, according to a recent report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). A statement released by the Jewish watchdog group on Tuesday cited an increase in public expressions of anti-Semitism, and a “greater acceptance of virulent anti-Jewish attitudes.”
The report noted “viciously anti-Semitic” cartoons published in major Spanish newspapers such as El Pais and El Mundo, as well as opinion pieces which equate Israel with the Nazi regime. The ADL took care to note that the European Union’s racism watchdog defines such statements as anti-Semitic.
Also cited in the report was a 2009 ADL poll, which found that 75 percent of all Spaniards believe Jews possess “too much power” in financial markets, and more than half think Jews have “too much power in business,” echoing classic anti-Semitic sentiments.
The report detailed the occurrence of anti-Semitic placards at anti-Israel demonstrations in Spain, as well as the “all too common” incidence of Israeli flag burning.
In terms of anti-Semitic acts, the report noted three incidents so far this year: “The vandalism of a Chabad House in Barcelona on January 11; a violet attack against an employee of a synagogue in Barcelona on January 30; and the harassment of Israel’s ambassador to Spain, who was verbally assaulted on the street on May 5 by three men who shouted ‘dirty Jew,’ ‘Jew bastard’ and ‘Jewish dog.’”
ADL National Director Abe Foxman said in the report that the organization was “deeply concerned about the mainstreaming of anti-Semitism in Spain, with more public expressions and greater public acceptance of classic stereotypes.”
“Among the major European countries, only in Spain have we seen viciously anti-Semitic cartoons in the mainstream media, and street protests where Israel is accused of genocide and Jews are vilified and compared to Nazis,” he added.
Foxman noted that while attacks on the Spanish Jewish community were rare, “history tells us that incitement by some and indifference by many can create an atmosphere conducive to violence against Jews.”
“Spain is not immune to this phenomenon,” he stressed.
Tuesday’s ADL statement added that the report, entitled “Polluting the Public Square: Anti-Semitic Discourse in Spain,” was presented to Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos on Monday.
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