Hate on rise in Spain

By Peter Fieldman, December 21, 2012

Economic problems and the Israel-Palestine conflict are contributing towards mounting antisemitism in Spain, according to the Red Civica contra el Antisemitismo, an association that monitors racism and extremism.

Working closely with the Observatorio, a branch of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain(FCJE), Red Civica seeks to promote human rights, tolerance and democratic values.

According to Carolina Eisen, director of the Observatorio: “People deny antisemitism exists, but it is there below the surface.” She is concerned that the government is not taking racism seriously and that the police and security forces are not trained to deal with antisemitism and intolerance, often treating it as a minor issue.

Ricardo Ruiz de la Serna, President of Red Civica, has noticed a growing climate of violence in Spain. “Seventy years after the Holocaust, and despite 30 years of democracy and countless books and films about the Holocaust and Dreyfus, antisemitism has not been eradicated from Spain.”

The FCJE has also been monitoring extreme right-wing party, Plataforma per Catalunya (PPC), which has its roots in Catalonia and is seen as racist and xenophobic. In November’s regional elections, the PPC failed to obtain a single seat in the regional assembly and remains a fringe group with just 67 local councillors.

However, according to Esteban Ibarra, author and President of the Movement against Intolerance: “The PPC… could become a threat in 2014 when the European Elections take place.”

Last updated: 11:45am, December 21 2012