Spain: widespread anti-Semitism, with 0.2% Jewish population

02 December, 14:08

(ANSAmed) - MADRID, DECEMBER 2 - Spain is one of the EU's five most anti-Semitic countries. The Jewish population in the country represents less than 0.2%, and the phenomenon is ignored by the media, according to the chairman of the Jewish Community in Spain, Isaac Querub. Querub made his remarks during the fourth international congress on anti-Semitism, held yesterday and today in Madrid at the Caja Navarra Foundation, where anti-Semitic texts were found on the walls yesterday morning. Experts have studied the rise of new anti-Jewish sentiments based on stereotypes. These feelings question the legitimacy of the State of Israel and have become stronger during the crisis, according to Israel's ambassador to Spain, Alon Bar, and the director of the Foundation for Pluralism and Cohabitation, José Manuel Lopez. ''Insults and slogans against Jews are considered to be normal in Spain, when they reflect an underlying and invisible anti-Semitism,'' said sociology professor at the University of Monaco, Alejandro Baer. Baer added that ''negative stereotypes are widespread and they are a symptom of a social pathology." According to polls quoted by writer and historian Jon Juaristi, former general director of the Cervantes Institute, 58% of adults in Spain think that Jews have too much power, and that they are all rich. On the other hand, 52% of students would not like to have a Jewish boy as schoolmate. Juaristi pointed out that during the 40 years of the Francoist period, Jews were indicated at the people that killed the Christian founder of the Church, Jesus. During every Catholic mass, prayers were held for the conversion or punishment of the ''wicked Jews'', until the Vatican Council ended this tradition in 1965. Franco himself, the historian underlined, ''died in 1975 against the background of a 'Jewish-Masonic conspiracy' as the main national enemy, as he used to say in every speech." The event, organised by the FCJE, joins European efforts to eliminate this worrying phenomenon. ''The goal is to expose the invisibility and denial of the problem in Spain, focusing on cultural, legal and educational aspects,'' Querub concluded. (ANSAmed)
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