Check out this interview with our local gadfly Pilar Rahola, a shining example of decency among the general stink around here on issues involving anti-Semitism and Israel. (Link: Andrew Sullivan.) Ms. Rahola, a fairly extremist Catalanista (she's pro-independence; non-violent, of course) and a moderate leftist, is capable of being a major blowhard at times. She's spent a lot of time recently, now that she's not a politician anymore, as a none-too-serious guest on TV talk shows, including the super-sleazy "Cronicas marcianas" which ambushed your blogger with Javier Nart, a professional lawyer representing one of the Guantanamo prisoners. Her love life was news for a while.
She is a rather attractive mid-fortyish woman and quite down-to-earth. She is known to like to party and it's rumored that she especially likes to party in casinos. I was not impressed with her as a leader of Esquerra Republicana back in the early '90s or the coup she and Angel Colom pulled when they bailed out of Esquerra and set up the disastrous Independence Party, which got less turnout than a normal Friday-night English-teachers' bash. (The rumors about Angel Colom are a lot worse than those about Ms. Rahola's activities, which seem to consist of mere enjoyment of the high life.) However, Franco Aleman informed me a while back that Ms. Rahola is outstanding on this one particular issue, which I had not known before, and he is absolutely right. (I think Franco started this blogmeme from HispaLibertas; he got it into the hands of Roger Simon, which is probably where Sullivan picked it up. Then other blogs picked it up from these two. Some goofball actually made a comment about what an important intellectual Ms. Rahola is. He's never heard of her before in his life, of course.)
Congratulations to Pilar Rahola for her stand. She's somebody Catalonia can be proud of.
Update: This interview is a year old, but if you hit "pilar rahola israel" on google you'll come to plenty of other articles and interviews and the like, mostly in Spanish or Catalan. I noted some of the other websites to comment on this speech called Ms. Rahola an "intellectual", a term she'd reject because she's not one. She's an ex-politician, not a particularly successful one, and polemicist, and is not particularly left-wing. And she'd probably prefer to be called Catalan rather than, or at least in addition to, Spanish.
Update Two: Here's a communication by Pilar Rahola from May 2003 to the American Jewish Council. I'll translate it if you want me to. Also, if you'd like to write to Pilar Rahola, her e-mail is pretty simple: pilarrahola -at- hotmail.com .
Update Three: If you can read Catalan, go to Avui and look through their archives for other pieces by Pilar Rahola, in case you're interested. Also look for opinion pieces by Alfons Quinta, who is so Catalanista he hates France and everything about it--see, France oppresses Catalunya Nord, as we Barcelonese call Rousillon. Quinta regularly destroys France in his pieces, and he hates the French so much he's wildly, bigotedly pro-American. It's fun to read pieces by Americanophiles; they distort the truth as much as any other kind of -phile, to the benefit of their chosen philia, but at least for once their distortions are in favor of the US. Be careful with Jean-Francois Revel; I like his stuff very much but he's even more pro-American than, well, me.