Friday, March 12, 2010

Does anti-Semitism exist in Spain?

In October, 2009, the President of the Government of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, was visiting the State of Israel and the Palestinian territories. Asked by Maariv (an Israeli newspaper) about an Anti-Defamation League's report on the increase of anti-Semitic attitudes in Spain, the P.S.O.E.'s (Partido Socialista Obrero Español, Spanish Socialist Workers' Party) leader declared, as explained by Spanish newspaper El Mundo:

"I must declare in a clear way, there is no anti-Semitism in Spain in any of its expressions. Not all comment, publication or photography must be considered anti-Semitic. The best proof is that today there are no anti-Semitic acts in Spain. Anti-Semitism was Franco's dictatorship".

But the report issued by the Anti-Defamation League tells us another story, according to the same article by El Mundo:

"Creators of opinion in Spain are crossing the line which separates legitimate criticism of Israeli actions from anti-Semitism. (...) In our 2009 survey, three fourth parts of the Spaniards believe that the Jews have 'too much power' in the international financial markets; almost two thirds believe that Jews 'are not loyal towards Spain'".

The report can be found here, it's divided into several parts (Introduction, Anti-Semitism in The Media, Anti-Semitism in Anti-Israel Rallies, Anti-Semitic Incidents in 2009, Anti-Semitic Attitudes, Government Response and Recommendations), and it has been posted on Monday, September 21, 2009, under the title "Polluting the Public Square: Anti-Semitic Discourse In Spain".


  1. Interesting. We see the same all over Scandinavia. Anti-Semitism is understood to be an act of overt racism, and subtler forms of discrimination blends in with "legitimate criticism of Israel".

    Great to see an English-speaking blog devoted to these issues! Am looking forward to read this blog on a regular basis.

  2. I read an article in the Tundra Tabloids regarding Finnish attitudes towards Israel and the Jews, which are much more positive than those of Spain, Norway and Sweden. I also read that Denmark is also less critical towards Israel. Is that true?

  3. Thank you for taking up this important subject!

    Christian above will probably be more qualified to answer your question, but my impression is that you are correct about Denmark, it is a far friendlier place towards Israel than Sweden or Norway. It would be really interesting to understand why that happened.

  4. My impression is that Denmark has a larger Jewish community than Norway at least. Also Denmark managed to save the Danish Jews during WWII, they simply shipped them over to Sweden and said "hey, they've all left. Sorry!". Norwegian Jews received help too, but not to anything resembling the same extent. Denmark has more violence in general, though. Difficult issue:) I will read up on things...