Anti-Semitism in Spain

The World

The Spanish study focused on high school teenagers and 56% of respondents said given the choice they would not work alongside a Jew. At this Barcelona high school, it doesn’t take a long to stumble across this attitude. One young man, when asked about anti-Semitism, says Jews have all the power in the world and he personally doesn’t like them. A second student laughs and calls that boy a Nazi. When asked, these students say they don’t know any Jews and that’s because there are only about 40,000 remaining in Spain. But for 500 years there were virtually none and that recent absence partly explains for today’s rise in anti-Semitism. In the 13th century and for a long time before, Jews lived peacefully amongst Christians and Muslims, but then in 1391 this synagogue here was drastically shut down. A century later, the Jews were expelled from Spain all together and the Jews of today’s Spain are all recent emigrants from North Africa and South America. This Jew from Morocco thinks Spain’s high rate of prejudice can be blamed on history as well as the current politics of the Middle East. He and other Jews here stress Spanish anti-Semitism is about attitudes and now hostile acts. Violence and vandalism is virtually unheard of here. This politician scientist says so many Spanish youths look unfavorably on Jews because the Spanish education system ignores Jewish history. He concedes things are changing slowly and Catalonia now has an annual commemoration of the Holocaust, for example.

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