Spain has seen the sharpest rise in antisemitism recently following the outbreak of the Israeli-Hamas war, said Isaac Benzaquén, the President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, in a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
In a meeting at the Moncloa Palace, the seat of the Spanish executive, Benzaquén denounced the increase in the last two weeks of “hostile” actions and comments against Israel and pointed in particular to recent comments made by the acting Social Affairs Minister Ione Belarra.
Last week, Belarra denounced the “planned genocide against the Palestinian people” and the “absolute lack of humanity” of Israel, a country with which the minister called for breaking diplomatic relations.
On Sunday, Belarra wrote on X: “Israel has shown an absolute lack of humanity in recent weeks. Asking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to comply with an international law he despises serves no purpose”, she lamented.
“Demonstrations against Israel, the burning of Israeli flags, the proclamations calling Israel a murderer, genocidal and the author of a planned ethical cleansing, as Minister Ione Belarra has reiterated on several occasions, have inflamed the mood against the Spanish Jewish community, as we have seen in Melilla, Barcelona and Madrid, among other cities,” the Federation stressed in a statement.
In Benzaquén’s view, some political, media and social sectors in Spain (referring above all to Unidas Podemos) have generated an “anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish climate” that has caused many people to prefer not to wear Jewish symbols for fear of being attacked.
As a result of demonstrations and “hostile actions” against Jewish and Israeli communities, some synagogues and community centres in Spain have closed, and schools are now protected, Benzaquén denounced.
He, therefore, called on Sánchez to “continue to maintain and strengthen the government’s commitment to the security and protection of Jewish communities”.