Antisemitism rate ‘doubled’ in Spain

Islamophobia and antisemitism are both on the rise in Europe, according to a report quoted in the Guardian.

Disturbingly, the scale of ‘unfavourable feelings toward Jews’ in Spain has more than doubled, going from 21% to 46% of the population. That makes Spain the most antisemitic country in Europe. Actually, I happened to see a crappy ‘Jew joke’ on some Spanish blog today, so I guess it’s hardly surprising.

Download the full Pew Global Attitudes report here.

36 thoughts on “Antisemitism rate ‘doubled’ in Spain

  1. Well, I have encountered a difference between being antisemitic and anti Isralean. People tend to confuse both and judge the first according to the latter. The study you show is probably considered to be the Israely survey. I have leived in barcelona for 7 years now and not once have I encountered a jew, not once. This can mean two things,
    1, that there a very few of them
    2, that as ussual, they keep to themselves and have as little contact as possible with the rest becasue their culture differs from our gentile behaviour. Although the Spaniards are a little hard to accept other cultures, in this paricular case I would raise a shadow of a doubt.

  2. Umm… well, I actually know for a fact that you’ve met at least one Jewish person. You may not have realised that they were Jewish, but they don’t all go around in uniform, you know. Neither do they ‘usually’ keep to themselves… I hate to say it, Daniel, but your comment kind of confirms that there is at least a misunderstanding of Jewish people, if not a mistrust.

  3. Even so, it is a strange figure and I’m curious to know how its measured and what the definition of anti semitism is that they have used. I suppose that means I have to go and read the original report.

  4. The number is high but it doesn’t altogether surprise me.

    The definition is ‘an unfavourable opinion of Jews’ (or Muslims, or Christians). Interestingly, Spaniards seem to have the highest proportion who view people of all three faiths ‘unfavourably’. The ‘more than doubled’ bit is in comparison with three years ago.

    OK: surveys, press releases and unclear statistics in general are not my favourite sources either, but even if that number is exaggerated by 10%, it’s worrying.

  5. Indeed you may be right, however how can i be prejudiced to someone I know nothing about. Say you are Jewish and I have no idea, how can I be antisemitic?
    I wasn´t aware of knwing any jew, but I have had jew friends and it was never an issue of any sort
    It is a fact that Israel has indeed facilitated a distrust comming their way what with the chosen race, and their God given heritage, without forgetting the Palestines.

  6. Hi Daniel,
    I’m Jewish(a silver one as one racist likes to remind me), used to work with you, and find your comments a bit offensive.
    This “that as ussual, they keep to themselves and have as little contact as possible with the rest becasue their culture differs from our gentile behaviour.” -is the sort of rubbish that can be heard said by racists not just about Jewish people but many ethnic minorities.
    Also I understand that English is not your native language but using ‘Jew’ instead of ‘Jewish’ has racist connotations.

  7. Hey Adam, as you say, english is not my language and my opologies for using an offensive word. In some cases I make a direct translation. Again I am surprised how this came to be a racist issue when Jewish and arab blood run through my veins. Never in my life have a paid attention to someones race or creed, never. If I am sometimes critical it is due to the people itself, not their heritage or race. And since we are it, I am going to say something that will probably piss a lot of people off, but the anglo saxon politically correct speech is not exactly the most honest thing on earth.
    I hope this clears off any doubt and that what we think of each other is not only based on words but also actions.
    Stay cool amigo!!

  8. I do think that the results will be distorted due to people thinking Jewish means Israeli. When else do we hear about Jewish people unless it is linked to Israel? Then the figures make sense…as much of what Israel does is wrong.

  9. Ed, you have just given a good illustration of the origin of left-wing antisemitism.

    I’ve met shed loads of left-wing anti-semites over the years, they tend to be anti-zionists who fall into the trap of thinking “Israel is bad, so Israelis are bad.” That is already racist, but they then compound their racism by thinkng “Israelis are jews, so Jews are bad too.”

    As a radical anti-zionist it really depresses me that so many people who share my ideas are closet yid-burners.

  10. Here is a little story, While in India I traveled with a group of friends, in a small village two guys from Israel joined us. These two guys were the most obnoxious, rude and racists I have ever seen. They treated the locals like servants and demanaded to be served in a special way. Every time any of us pointed this out to them they accused us of being anti semites. Eventually we stopped hanging out with them, not becasue they were israelisor jewish, but because they were idiots. Later we encountered a group of guys who had been with them and the Isrealis had told them we had insulted them and their creed.
    This is more or less what is happening here, I don´t care if you are Jewish, Hindu or Aborigen I will respect you and your creed as long as you respect me and I hope you respect me not because of my race or religion but for who I am and what I do.
    Also, when Aznar took the Azores picture, that was all of us Spaniards in there together with Bush and Blair, and when Israelis torture, kill and lock up Palestines, it all Israel doing it.

  11. NO.

    As far as I know (and I haven’t seen anything which leads me to believe the contrary), the question was something along the lines of “Do you view Jewish people in a favourable way or an unfavourable way?” – and DID NOT MENTION the actions of the state of Israel.

    If respondents to the survey or commenters on thebadrash feel that the two are equal, and therefore equally hateful, that is antisemitism, plain and simple.

    Antisemitism goes back much further than the state of Israel and people have always had plenty of false arguments to support it.

  12. I wrote something once against some local English-language newspaper called ‘Lifestyle’ which only talked about the Brits and their/our wonderful culture here – rather ignoring Spain. Doesn’t matter now… one of those things which bother you at the time. Anyway, I called their paper ‘Lebensraum’ as in ‘make room for our lot’ or something.
    The editor was most upset – not by the criticism as such, but because she was Jewish. Like I’m gonna know that – or indeed care.

  13. Tom, I know Antis-Semitism has existed for years, but anti Israeli sentiment and anti-semitism are clearly linked.

    Arab anti-semitism was much less virulent than its European cousin before the foundation of Israel, it is now far stronger.

    It is really important for critics of Israel to avoid anti-semitism, because it makes it easy to write off there valid criticisms of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians (and theft of their entire country for that matter).

    Spanish people (Catalans, Basques. Whatever included) are really shit at making subtle distinctions like that, so the results of the survey don’t surprise me.

  14. bns – I agree. I think we’re on the same page when it comes to this issue.

    My point was that yes, the creation of the state of Israel has become a major excuse for the expression of antisemitic views but that prior to that, there was hardly a lack of other, equally racist, reasons to condemn Jewish people.

    The speed at which this antisemitism has increased in three years does surprise me. What has happened in three years here for this unfavourable attitude towards Jewish people to double?

  15. “Spanish people (Catalans, Basques. Whatever included) are really shit at making subtle distinctions”

    This, of course, is anything but a racist statement…

    As we all know, English people have always excelled at making all kinds of subtle distinctions, particularly regarding individuals of Irish origin – who still faced “NO IRISH” signs when hunting for accomodation in 1960s swinging London. These days it’s Moslems from the Indian subcontinent who’ve come to appreciate the benefits of the ingrained British penchant for subtlety, understatement and gentlemanly fair-play.

    This said, anti-Semitism unfortunately has very deep roots in Spain. This has got a lot to do with this country having been a fundamentalist, xenophobic Catholic theocracy for more than three centuries spent with its back dogmatically and scornfully turned to the outside world.

  16. Tom
    “Do you view Jewish people in a favourable way or an unfavourable way?” – and DID NOT MENTION the actions of the state of Israel.

    I am not sure the questions needs to make that point, I think my point was people make opinions based on the media they consume…hence people get a very distorted view of the world! And make links that are often incorrect as I think the case might be in a survey such as this. Have you seen Terrors Advocate…interesting.

  17. Hi Ed… well that’s exactly the point, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter who’s to blame (media, government, agents provocateurs) – if you automatically connect the concept of Jewish people with a dislike for the state of Israel, you’re already in the realm of antisemitism. Just like those who sixty years ago automatically associated Jewish people with Bolshevism.

  18. Ignorance and greed are the causes of racism. And Tom I don´t entirely agree with your comments about association of Israelis and Jewish people. Again we come to the point of generalization. I dislike Israel not because of them being Jewish, the same way I dislike Al-quaeda not becasue they are arabs, or ETA being Basque or IRA being Irish, I dislike these groups becasue they are murderers and always have the excuse of being Unique or to know better than everyone else.
    With jewish communities we have been taught to be more careful, becasue they have been prosecuted and mass murdered for who they are, and to an extent I agree with this, but when Israel uses the prerrogative of their suffering past to commit atrocities today the issue becomes a triffel more delicate. Another thing, do not forget the importance of the Jewish community in the US and how they demand their interests being protected under the threat of being acused anti semitist.
    All this, of course, creates certain disdain towards them. And for the un-informed it s a dangerous fall towards association.

  19. No way implying that it is. But understanding the sources of racism are key…how many people understand the problems of the middle east…I for one need educating and do not completely understand the details and I have had the priveldge of a good education.

  20. Good one Ed….good question. Who really understands the issues of middle east? However the big picture is hard to see, the point is that Israel has all the money, weapons and support, while the Palestines have stones to fight and walls to jump. Not much education needed to understand that.

  21. David, it’s not racist to suggest that people from certain cultures share behaviour patterns or common beliefs; for example, an English person saying Israelis are loud is not a racist, because Israelis are louder than English people. A Japanese person would probably say English people are loud.

    I think that Spaniards like to simplify issues into good/bad, for/against, left/right, nationalist/centralist, and this binary treatment of issues leads to simplifications. Also, there is very little history of Anti-Racism in Spain (the main Union in Barcelona has an equal opportunities officer who does not deal with racial discrimination for example), meaning Spainards are often not aware of what constitutes racism.

    As aresult of these factors we get Anti-zionist Spanish lefties quoting the protocols of the elders of zion (something I have heard personally).

    We also gget crazy situations like Catalan Nationalists supporting Irish Republicans, when the cause of Ulster Unionists is more similar to their own.

  22. Describing a culture as rather ‘loud’ as compared to another surely isn’t tantamount to branding an entire people as nitwits unable to make essential distinctions on account of their nationality or ethnicity.

    Incidentally, England can certainly be a very quiet and pleasant place, say Tunbridge Wells on a lazy summer afternoon. However, central Nottingham puts all those loud Israelis to shame any Friday evening, never mind the undiscerning Spaniards.

    Binary thinking goes well beyond the Spanish borders and is now established throughout the world. Carl Schmitt’s ‘Freund und Feind’ view of the nature of human conflict springs to mind here. Neo-con thinkers know a thing or two about this.

    Anti-racism presupposes a modicum of collective instrospection, an overall readiness to plunge one’s head into a barrel full of very unpalatable substances, as it were, and hang in there for as long as it takes. This is the case in places like Germany, where ‘trying to come to terms with the unspeakable past’ has led to the rise of the anti-racist Left, among other developments. This kind of thing’s barely beginning to take shape within Spanish society, where it goes under the name of ‘memoria historica’. Sooner or later Spaniards will have to reassess all those fibs they were taught at school about how the Spanish Conquistadors brought the gifts of christianity, culture and the wonderful Spanish language to the poor Indians, a ploy to justify mass-murder, rape and Vernichtung-durch-Arbeit-like exploitation on an untold scale, the true beginning of modern age in the West.

    I wouldn’t call anyone brandishing the protocols of the Okhranka a “Leftist” by any stretch of the imagination. At best they’re hopelessly misinformed irresponsible morons who should be sent back to primary school by return of post, and at worst rabid anti-Semites craving a fullblown pogrom while posing as Alfred Rosenberg knows what.

    As to Catalan Nationalists having to side with Ulster Unionists in order to better serve their ‘objective interests’, I honestly fail to see the rationale of the argument.

  23. As to Catalan Nationalists having to side with Ulster Unionists in order to better serve their ‘objective interests’, I honestly fail to see the rationale of the argument.

    Yeah, I don’t get that one either. Catalan nationalists are a minority group of left-leaning republicans who want to opt out of a kingdom they consider to be a foreign, occupying entity.

    I suspect that BNS was referring to the war of Spanish succession, or something, though that would only offer the most superficial of similarities with Ulster Unionists.

  24. A definite distinction can and must be made between antisemitism and antizionism. To say that the latter automatically leads to the former is also a recent wash created by the right or apologists for the regime in Israel.

    I have sat with Jewish people in Northern Yemen who were very staunchly antizionist (they had been taken to Isreal during Magic Carpet, but decided to return to Yemen), but could you call them antisemites, simply because they disagree with the policies of Israel? Are they some kind of self-depreciating bunch? What they are against is the inhuman treatment meted out to the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government.

    In Spain, it is possible that people confuse the two terms, but this is probably due to the wording, not sentiment. Spain, like the Arab world, had very little antisemetic feelings directly prior to the creation of Israel. The fact that it has risen since then means that there must be at least some sort of correlating factor in people’s minds, rightly or wrongly.

    Being against the policies of the Israeli government doesn’t automatically mean that someone is a “leftist” “anti” anything, but perhaps simply someone who is “pro” human rights and decency.

  25. I would say that Ulster, a region with separate culture wishing to remain independent of a larger culturally distinct neighbour is very similar to Catalonia. Both Catalonia and Ulster were industrialised capitalist regions when there neighbours were priest ridden rural shit-holes, both had disadvantaged minorities sharing the southern culture (amounting to just short of half the population). Both had their own bourgeoisie, which craved autonomy from the southern oligarchy.

    The difference being that the British state allowed the North its autonomy but Catalonia had no external champion to protect its interests.

    Of course the analogy isn’t exact, but to my mind it has more base in reality than the false republican solidarity that Erquistas espouse.

  26. When the six counties that make up Ulster were split off from the 26 counties of Eire in the 1921 partition Ireland was but another province of the British empire, a nearby backwater exploited for all it was worth with little or no regard for the welfare of its long-suffering people, see Great Irish Potato ‘Famine’, pretty similar to the Ukranian Golodomor IMHO. There was no Irish state to speak of at the time, as opposed to Spain -one of the oldest nation-states cum empire of Europe- with its long-standing feud with the unruly Catalans. I suppose this fact alone should settle the argument, since any further speculation is invalidated by the central issue of state power ie those effectively controlling the monopoly of violence.
    In Ulster’s case this is, to date, the British state, and, likewise, the Spanish state in the case of Catalonia. In other words, despite all the bombings, knee-cappings and booby-traps, if push really came to shove, it’s difficult to imagine Irish Republicans running their own little concentration camp outside Derry like the Bosnian Serbs used to do during the last Bosnian War, or ethnically cleansing the Shankill in Belfast with their own militias while the British army stands by and lets them get on with their self-styled struggle for national liberation. Similarly, the Catalans might have brought forth a progressive bourgeoisie with interests historically contraposed to those of the reactionary Spanish oligarchy, the coercive power of the Spanish state, though, remains firmly in the grip of the Madrid administration to all intents and purposes. For this reason, I don’t think we’ll see any Spanish speakers being rounded up by Estat Català militias in off-green shirts and sporting politically-correct barretines and espardenyes any time soon, never mind what El Mundo and Libertad Digital might print about the ‘national-socialist’ coalition currently in office in Catalonia and its efforts to turn the country into a Catalan-only gulag or KZ, alternatively.
    Last time I looked, and it was just a couple of days ago, I saw a huge Spanish flag hovering Madrid’s Plaza de Colón-like in the skies over Barcelona, the Spanish Air Force’s own contribution to the closing of the local week-long festival of La Mercé. At best, this was a spectacular reminder for the Catalans of who really is in charge in their ‘comunidad autónoma’, just in case they got the wrong idea.
    All this recent ado about language rights for Spanish speakers in Catalonia and elsewhere is an exercise in mere window dressing that has duped a lot of fools. It’s a double-pronged fraud. On the one hand, it serves the purpose of whitewashing the deeply nationalistic, xenophobic and authoritarian nature of the Spanish state by casting the dominant caste in the role of the victim. On the other hand, it helps divert votes away from the castiron reservoir of the Spanish nationalist Right towards more mainstream, functional parties advocating ‘equal rights for all’.

  27. I have actually personally experienced a fair amount of anti-semitism amongst the Spanish; often due explicitly to their lack of exposure to the Jewish, and their exposure to Israelis. I have had friends and acquantainces, even dates sit and rattle off a laundry list of percieved notions about ‘Jews’… You know, the typical, loud, rich, shyster carbon copy image that comes straight out of the protocols and the anti-semites hand book. I generally will let them finish and through in a ‘By the way, you know I’m Jewish, right?’. Oft times, just a lack of exposure to Jews, the vacuum being filled by stories and notions going back to the 14th century.

    This type of anti-semtism is really common in most all hispanic countries, though. Not just Spain. You can get into charges of Deicide, blood libel and the ‘classics’ of running the world and screwing people economically really quickly.

    1. Interesting comment, Marcos. I believe that anti-Semitism has been prevalent in Spain for a long time. Elements of the fascist rebellion in 1936 were only too pleased to refer to the Jewish-Bolshevik-Masonic conspiracy and any country that has a ‘National Catholic’ government for 40 years is bound to be somewhat jumpy about Judaism.

  28. the idea that one can’t be anti-Semitic without direct experience of Jews is silly. there was a large jewish presence in poland for centuries. there was a cultural anti-Semitism that developed and is part of the culture.
    an american who lives in a rural area that has never personally met an African-American might be racist.
    I believe that Mr Valls, had he been asked “what comes to your mind specifically when I say the word Jew?” would have a clearer response than had he been asked “what comes to your mind specifically when I say the word Tarahumara?”. There is plenty of Jewish presence in Spanish (and Catalan) folklore, literature, Spanish Catholic practice and attitudes, even in some spanish films.
    And having “jewish and arab blood” means nothing – culture doesn’t come with sperm. One can have “arab blood” in the general spaniard way and feel that non-Catholics don’t love God, or feel that Arabs are primitive or uncultured or inferior to Spaniards.

    I have no problem believing that two young Israelis were provincial and stupid while in India. I don’t believe they were shooting Palestinian children at the time. And the most telling attitude of racism or let’s say bigotry in Mr Valls writing is the lack of a hint of a perception that there is a HUGE range of political thought among Israelis, Jewish, Arab, Druze, Circassian etc. There have been huge demonstrations against government policies in Israel’s history, and a lively sense of disagreement and debate.
    There are many ways in which Israel falls short of its own ideals. I’m sure that’s true for parts of Spain and Catalunya. But until Israel builds a version of a Valle de los Caidos, or enforces one language only policies (as some radical catalans have proposed), she has a long way to go as far as the fascist or ultranationalist road is concerned.

    And yes, one can be rationally anti-israel, and one can also be bigoted about Israel, as with Russia, or China or Spain. And independently, one can have bigoted ideas about Jews, and there might even be some individual jews, even from israel, who don’t know how to behave in India.

  29. mnh i tried to read some of the above comments which some are bull shit!adam(the jew)is uncivilised and a hooligan.theres nothing like natural racism or anything like that.everything has its source.the skrewed jews had no where to live after being killed tortured and despised in everyway,which serves them right i actually enjoy the topic of the nazis(am sorry for the 20% of israelis who are against war on gaza)big up fo Germany you guyz rock at least you knew what type of people these are.too bad the palestinians dont have weapons if they did israel would have been a graveyard by now!!!so they decided to live in the middle east with the palestinians with no respect they started fighting them off and saying its there land.what a bunch of local hooligans on earth!!even if you kill millions and millions of the innocent palestinians let this stick in your mind so long as the history knows the land does not belong to you and you will always remain “HOMELESS”!!

  30. @Fatma – frankly, your views are atrocious. It’s difficult for me to begin to debate something with someone who, as their opening gambit, says that the Nazis ‘rock’. Grow up (and fuck off).

  31. Odio los americanos y los brit3anicos, potencia a la gente española. Los judíos serán siempre judíos, tan los árabes. Realmente los judíos y los árabes son muy racistas.

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