Antisemitic expression on rise in Spain, says report

Websites, blogs, forums and social networks enjoy "complete impunity in Spain" Complaints filed over alleged antisemitism doubled in 2011

Antisemitic and racist content is on the rise on Spanish websites, according to a report by the Antisemitism Observatory, a watchdog created by the activist group Movement against Intolerance and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain. Besides growing in scope with every passing year, antisemitic content disseminated through websites, blogs, forums and social networks "enjoy complete impunity" in Spain, says the document.

"Last year we watched with concern the proliferation of antisemitic websites that encourage hate and banalize the Holocaust," said Isaac Querub, president of the federation. "We're worried about the lack of legal control on this issue and we are working to ensure that this type of content gets no space on platforms that are accessible to everyone, particularly the young, and have a wide audience."

The report admits that even though there has been progress on the legal front, there have also been court decisions in the opposite direction, such as the Supreme Court's overruling of a conviction against the managers of a bookstore in Barcelona for disseminating ideas that justify genocide. The acquittal noted that justifying genocide is only a crime if it incites others to commit it or if it creates a hostile environment.

Abused athletes

The Attorney General has been receiving complaints over cases of public support for Nazism, the distribution of Nazi ideology and the justification of the extermination policy planned and executed by Hitler's regime in Germany.

The complaints filed with the Observatory over alleged antisemitism doubled in 2011 from the previous year. Among the cases verified by the report were instances of personal assault, antisemitic expressions in the media and graffiti in places where the Jewish community held events.

There is a special mention of repeated insults against Israeli athletes - whether or not they play for Spanish teams - on basketball courts and soccer pitches. "We can see that there are still anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli prejudices in Spain, that Judeophobe expressions are still in use, and that the general public barely knows anything about the culture of the Jewish people or the reality of Israel," says Querub. "That is why we are also working with the regional governments so that the history of the Jewish people and of Jews in Spain is present in the school curriculum."

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