Thursday, July 3, 2008

Spanish anti-Semitism is alive in the Left

by Pilar Rahola
Spain has never fulfilled its responsibility with regards to anti-Semitism - neither in the past, nor in the present . As a result, the powerful accusation by Pat Cox, president of the European Parliament, made in the March 2004 report, is hardly surprising: Spain is considered, today, the main source of incitation against Jews in Europe. The report of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, speaking about media coverage of the Middle East conflict, states: "since the stereotypes found in that coverage are the same waived against the Jews during the 1930s (killing children, controlling the world, related to money, dark intentions…), it is impossible to affirm that the anti-Israeli wave that crosses Spain is independent of an anti-Semitic content in the news". These affirmations are supported by the results Gallup has presented to the Anti-defamation League, in a recent survey: 72% of Spanish people would deport the Jews from Israel; only 12% would accept having Jewish neighbours; 69% believes Jews are too powerful and 55% attribute "dark intentions" to them that cannot be summarized. To my sadness, the study states that Cataluña and the Basque Country both show the highest levels of Jewphobia.

These are recent data published by well-respected institutions. Yet, have they worried anyone? More to the point, have they been believed, read, or were they assumed? Not only have they become wet paper but global Spain maintains stereotypes that have caused alarm in Strasbourg. Convinced of the truth of these data, the accusation I make is the following: today, Spain, is anti-Semitic once again. But this time we are a nation that is Anti-Semitic Polish style, that is to say, in Paul Landvai's words, "anti-Semites without Jews". And I say anti-Semite knowing that most of my colleagues (especially from the Left) not only don't accept the term, but find it offensive, as if anti-Semitism was the extreme right's and fanatical Catholicism’s exclusive patrimony. We know, since Martin Luther King denounced it in his "Letter to my anti-Semitic friend", that many are the camouflages of anti-Semitism, and that anti-zionism and anti-Israelism are much more bearable for some sensitive skins. But they are fed by the same source of intolerance. Of course it is alright to be a critic of Israel, and it is true that every critic cannot be accused of anti-Semitism, but there are so many warning notes that we must analyze them if we do not want to destroy our society.

The first alarm: the systematic and heartless banalization of the tragedy of the Holocaust – a banalization which does not only take place in aberrant Nazi pamphlets of late, but also in articles and declarations written mainly by progressives and prestigious intellectuals. Still echoing are , for the shame of the millions who died, Saramago's scorn of the memory of the Shoa. Not only has the venerable Nobel trivialised the only industry of extermination in human history, but his attitude begins to reflect a collective grammar. Graphic humour with Israeli leaders depicted as Nazis, accusations of genocide and Hitler-like practices when reporting any Israeli action, simple comparisons between the Holocaust and any present violent contingency… Without going further, Lopez Agudín, in this very same newspaper, raised an aberrant parallelism between Auschwitz and the prisons in Iraq. That is to say, his rightful criticism of the tortures of Iraqi prisoners, became an excuse to reduce one incomparable monstrosity -"the death of the human soul", as Claude Lanzmann defined it in his Shoa - with a deplorable chapter on torture. To banalize the Holocaust is a double moral shame: shameful to the tragic memory of Europe, and to our historic responsibility. But nothing arises from nothing. We can banalize the Holocaust today only because educating our society about the Holocaust’s tragic meaning never worried us, to the point that we localised it to a simple German question. Auschwitz was the final stop of tens of centuries of persecution against European Jews, and Spain (Isabel la Católica in hand) was the motor of the anti-Semitic hatred that has always existed in Europe. All the good, in the fields of law, literature, science, medicine, all the good that has happened to us has to do with Jewish Europe. All the bad that has happened to us has to do with anti-Jewish Europe. Nevertheless, we neither learn, nor do we assume the moral responsibility that the tragic memory would demand. From forgetfulness, banalization and oblivion are born. From forgetfulness prejudice is reborn. And through prejudice, intolerance returns.

In perfect synergy with the banalization of the Holocaust, most of our Intelligentsia practices a furious anti-Israelism that goes beyond logical criticism of Israeli actions. Along the way, not only reality is manipulated, and turned into a match between good and bad, but Jewish fault is magnified and Palestinian fault is reduced, to the point of disappearing. The trivialization of Palestinian terrorism, the fundamental enemy to their very own Palestinian cause, is the most outrageous exercise of irresponsibility of Spanish leftist thought. It is as outrageous as the selective solidarity that only cries for Palestinian victims and ignores, to the deepest scorn, Jewish ones. This happens in every aspect of this complex conflict, and propaganda is the result.
In this context of misinformation, distortion, the banalization of the Shoa takes place. If the Holocaust is made comparable to any violent action, Europe rids itself of any blame. From there it is a small step to accuse the Prime Minister of Israel of "genocide" or "Nazism", and each day the accusations go a little further. This is in spite of it being especially immoral to add to the shipwreck of genocide, the accusation of Nazism. But it is an immorality that is used, comfortably, in the fine halls of politically correct leftist thought.

Intellectuals, leftist leaders, opinion makers, I ask you – do we not have a moral responsibility that we are harming? Do we not have the responsibility to teach tolerance, and not feed old demons? Let's remember that anti-Semitism is the original school of intolerance. Do we not have the responsibility to not betray Europe’s tragic memory? We must not forget the extreme evil of the Holocaust and its unique place of horror in its murder of millions. Whenever an intellectual plays frivolously with the memory of the Shoa, no matter how good his intentions are, he is killing the victims again. It is a subtle double death, the physical death, and the forgetting of death. The trivialisation of the Holocaust not only desprives the victims of their place in history, but sends an aberrant message to society that it is not necessary to be act to prevent the long journey of hatred that made the Holocaust possible. And, finally, we abuse the responsibility of analyzing reality in truthful and non emotional terms, giving elements that serve to objectify the problem, and not turning them into doctrinarian excuses. With regard to Israel, we have replaced ideas with slogans, debates with the placards, and thought with propaganda.

The result is an irrational hatred of Israel, an absolute indifference to the implication of terrorism, and exoneration, via martyrdom, of the horrors that Palestinian terrorism perpetrates. The result is not useful even to the Palestinians themselves.

I conclude sharing Pat Cox's alarm: we are creating a new anti-Semitic doctrinarian body. Is it parallel to the classic one? No. The new anti-Semitism is leftist, it is an anti-Semitism of the elite and it is unconscious. But it exists.


Pilar Rahola : Diario El Mundo. Madrid.

Pilar Rahola's website: © 2004 Pilar Rahola Disseny ADES STUDIO [has her articles etc.]

There is a lot more from Pilar Rahola right here at The Jew in Yellow albeit somewhat duplicated and repetitive, but containing manyof her articles dealing with antisemitism at

[added July 3, 2008]

Here's another one of Pilar Rahola's articlles, this time dealing with Antisemite and KuKlxer David Duke abd the late, should be unlamented by Jews, "Che" Guevara.

Articles : Anti-semitism Che and a nazi, in the mirror

Two protagonists at the extremes: Ché Guevara and David Duke. Since the former appears even on designer g-strings, he needs no introduction. The latter has just landed in Spain, with his dreadful Klu Klux Klan backpack, to introduce a book of anti-semitic hate. It’s all legal in this Spain that puts democratic humorists on trial and, on the other hand, welcomes violent shit-for-brains racists. His sponsor? -- an extreme rightwing party to whom an advertising spot was granted on La Noria, of Channel Five. Gasp! Be that as it may, and as one could have guessed in this Spain that does not consider it a crime to deny the planned murder of six million Jews, we’re going to be visited by all the undesirable Nazis that infest the territory of evil. And meanwhile, a sixteen year-old boy loses his life at the hands of this same violence. To be tolerant with intolerance is an act of violence. Haven’t we learned yet? More rage. I feel a deep revulsion.On the other side of the mirror, the protagonist has a different outline and ideological form, the opposite extreme of the American racist. Nevertheless, his elevation bothers me as well. I know -- every lefty was raised on the myth of Ché Guevara , and his heroic halo has transfixed generations of the young who wish to change the world. My teen years, like those of so many, is a landscape with a Che poster. All the same, the fact that the Badalona Municipal Authority is spending 18,700 euros to put up a statue of Ché in the same neighborhood where for years it has been skimping on efforts that would eliminate the recurrent flooding on Australia Street is a loud embarrassment, an embarrassment that follows from a previous one -- the municipal decision to grant a subsidy to the Casal de Amigos de Cuba. Wonderful! So the democratic administration gives public money to those who defend a left wing dictatorship, and on top of that they set up a monument to a guy who felt that killing people was a legitimate form of struggle. Would they do the same with a right wing dictatorship? I don’t know, but there are some days when it’s better not to get out of bed.Tra. Joe DiFrances.
Pilar Rahola : El Periódico.

Articles : Anti-semitism
Che and a nazi, in the mirror

© 2004 Pilar Rahola Disseny ADES STUDIO

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