Thursday, March 25, 2010

Anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic attitudes in Galicia.

Spain is divided into seventeen Autonomous Communities, two Autonomous Cities and the so-called places of sovereignty. One of those Autonomous Communities is Galicia, my home, in northwestern Spain. It has its own language, Galician, which is co-official along with Spanish, the language of the Kingdom of Spain. Galicia is divided into 4 provinces: Pontevedra, A Coruña, Ourense and Lugo. Each province's capital has the same name as the province itself. Galicia's capital is Santiago de Compostela, in the province of A Coruña.
Ignacio Ramonet, a writer and journalist, was born in Redondela, a municipality in the province of Pontevedra, on May 5, 1943. He was the editor in chief of Le Monde diplomatique from 1991 until March 2008. Already in 2007, he warned El País' readers about anti-Semitism in Galicia (translation between quotation marks, as accurate as possible):

"I was with Ramón Chao in Redondela, my home, a few days ago, invited by the International Press Club, which is being efficiently directed by Carmen Carballo. At the A Xunqueira Multipurpose Auditorium, provided by mayor Xaime Rei, we gave a speech about War and peace today; geopolitics of contemporary conflicts, which was intended to close the series about The beats of the world. We were far from imagining that, in that context, we were about to be witnesses of hateful anti-Semitic manifestations in today's Galicia.

Our purpose was to propose answers to some of the following questions: how to understand contemporary world? ¿What are the main clashes (military, political, economic and ecological ones) of today's world? Is in any case the so-called 'war against international terrorism' the adequate response to the great contemporary disturbances?"

So, that was the purpose of the conference. After that, as Ramonet writes, a discussion about the issue began, with the audience's involvement. Please pay attention to Ramonet's explanations about what was heard there:

"The first person who talked, very excited, began to curse against a sort of 'plot of the Jews' which, according to this person, consists of, 'through their economic and mediatic power', 'permanently blackmailing the international public opinion by constantly evoking the genocide and victimizing themselves'. This, according to that speecher, 'allows them to commit a genocide against the Palestinians'.

After that stream of anti-Semitic topics, expressed by crying them out, what was more surprising to us was that part of the audience applauded as if they were approving such a lamentable speech. I declared that I condemn in the most explicit way such words and that I find unusual that at this stage somebody can yield, under the pretext of the defense of the Palestinian cause, to the crassest anti-Semitism. If it's obvious that some actions by the Israeli army must be criticized (as the Palestinian attacks against Israeli innocent civilians), that mustn't in any case make us take part in the dreadful pseudo-arguments of the oldest and most criminal anti-Semitism. The majority of those in the audience approved this position through applauses.

But, cleverly distributed all over the room, something which demostrates that the group was up to no good, the friends of the speecher replied calling me 'traitor' and 'ignorant', arguing that 'anti-Semitism doesn't exist because the Arabs are Semites, too'. It was like if a lexical criticism could deny the reality of the tragic and old anti-Judaism all over Europe, including Galicia."

And this happens in Galicia, my home. As explained by Ramonet:

"This incident not only tarnished my joy when giving a conference in my home, Redondela, for the first time, but, above all, it also shows worrying, deep-rooted and sickening anti-Semitic theses within a Galician extreme left which went astray. Which dishonours our land. The sleep of reason generates monsters. And the lack of some people's ability to think has led them to the worst of the monstrosities. It is time to rectify."

1 comment:

  1. Another galician likes this post. Antisemitism strikes back again. Sad but true. When people behaves like sheep with no backed arguments it ends up in totalitarism. Research and teaching in schools about the history of the Jews in Galicia and in Spain should be mandatory. Galicians would be amazed about the great amount of Jews surnames. Jewish blood running inside all of us.