Friday, April 25, 2008

From the Stephen Roth Institute at the University of Tel Aviv:

There is tremendous ignorance in Spanish society about Judaism and the Jews. This pertains not only to their historical presence for 15 centuries but also to the Jewish reality of today. The majority of Spaniards do not even know a Jew. Therefore, their knowledge of Jews is very limited and distorted by anti-Jewish stereotypes and prejudices that have persisted until today...

Reports about Israel occupy a disproportionate amount of international space in the Spanish media. Most coverage of the conflict is superficial and sensationalist, with Israel, and by extension, the Jews, being discredited (and sometimes demonized). While the media’s use of antisemitic stereotypes has been documented throughout Europe, some important elements differentiate the Spanish media from its European counterparts:

Uniformity of opinion across ideological lines. Only a few writers can be counted upon to consistently go beyond stereotypes or denounce manipulation. Unlike elsewhere in Europe, there are almost no Jewish intellectuals or journalists to provide a voice for the community. In most cases, when Jewish writers are published, they often oppose Israeli policy or represent minority views and only serve as justification for existing biases.

Anti-Americanism. While this trend is certainly not unique in Europe, the level of intensity is quite possibly higher in Spain, due to former Prime Minister Aznar´s role in the war in Iraq and anti-Bush and the anti-war policy of the Socialist government. This trend was noted in the November 2003 European Union Monitoring Center ‘Eurobarometer’ report (p. 78), which demonstrate that the majority of Spaniards consider the United States the number one threat to global peace, ahead of Israel.

Intensity. Antisemitic discourse in the Spanish media has a long history and reaches levels of intensity that would be considered unacceptable elsewhere in Europe (banalization of the Holocaust, portrayal of Israel and Judaism as cruel and vindictive, biased editorial/opinion pieces and opinionated news items, distorted notions of Jewish power, double standards vis-à-vis terrorism, etc. – see, for example, “Antisemitismo en el Humor Gráfico: Caricaturas y Viñetas de la Prensa Española sobre el conflicto Israelí-Palestino, 2000–2002,” Guesher, 2003). When confronted with the accusation of antisemitism, journalists, as well as editors and opinion columnists in the press, generally deny it, claiming they are justifiably criticizing the policies of Israel.

Also highly recommended: This long article (PDF) titled "European Anti-Americanism (and Anti-Semitism): Ever Present though Always Denied" by Andrei Markovits, a professor at Michigan, published by Harvard's Center for European Studies.


Dave Barnes said...

Hey! How come I can't vote for ETA as the worst political party in España ?

After all, as Mao said, "Political power comes from the barrel of a gun".

Anthony said...

There is a book called En Defensa de Israel 2004 that has essays from varios Spanish intelectuals and journalist.