Luciano Mondino

Palestinian antisemitic activism and prophets of hate in Spain

Vandalized synagogue in Barcelona, Spain. (Twitter Jewish Community of Barcelona)
Vandalized synagogue in Barcelona, Spain. (Twitter Jewish Community of Barcelona)

Palestinian activism and illegal immigration are creating a recycled message of anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli hatred in Europe, quickly infiltrating national universities and political parties.

The façade of the Maimonides synagogue of the Israelite Community of Barcelona was vandalized with a pro-Palestinian message: “Free Palestine from the river to the sea”, the classic slogan by which European-based Palestinian activism also shines the now manifest intention to expel Jews and the yearning to turn back the clock to 1948 when the Arab armies of the time sought to annihilate the then reborn state of Israel. The synagogue was marked on 17 April 2023, days before Israelis celebrated Yom Haatzmaut on their independence day.

Not even two weeks had passed when again the synagogue was marked, but now at the entrance of Chabad Lubavitch. On that day the attackers marked another message at the entrance echoing Palestinian Arab activism: “why do you kill in Palestine?”

It is also in Barcelona that its mayor, Ms. Ada Colau, turned her rejection of Israel into political activism and attempted election campaign input by cutting the twinning bond linking the city to Tel Aviv in February. As if she believed that twinning arrangements are personal dispositions of politicians and not agreements based on shared history, ties and belonging, Ms Colau unilaterally swept away the agreement, which had been in place since 1998.

Spain is in unbridled danger if these groups are not pursued and neutralized

It is highly repudiatory that in 2023, after a countless amount of historical truth, a mayor of one of Europe’s most globally recognized cities should play politics with antisemitism.

If we were to base ourselves solely on a political, utilitarian analysis of Colau’s decision: why, in addition to her anti-Israeli stance, did Colau feel it was in her interest to publicly highlight her intention to discriminate against and single out the Jewish community? Because in her electoral mathematics there is a part of the population that is extremely happy with this decision and is happy to see Colau breaking relations with Tel Aviv while doing nothing to combat the crime committed by North Africans and Latin gangs at the very door of the Sagrada Familia.

Nor is Barcelona a generalization towards the whole of Spanish society in which there are political parties and organizations that have understood that Zionism is not an apartheid regime or a human rights-violating machine against the Palestinian population, but rather the project of self-determination and national liberation that the Jewish people have for their land and national home that they have been building since 1948.

The serious political incident has to do with the fact that one of the political parties that is deeply antisemitic, the Podemos faction led by Pablo Iglesias, is part of the government led by Pedro Sánchez, and is giving a blow to the country’s institutionality. From the European Parliament to the party’s grassroots, inflammatory speeches against Israel can never go down well in a country that is beginning to perpetuate a very serious problem with illegal immigration from North Africa and Middle Eastern countries.

Samidoun, an organization noted for its links to the Islamic Republic of Iran, was created between 2011 and 2012 in a support network for Palestinian prisoners in Israel. The organization, like so many others, omits that there are no prisoners in Israel because they are Palestinians or Arabs, a population that represents more than 20% of the total, but rather because they are terrorists attacking the Israeli civilian population. Since May 2020, Samidoun has begun to operate in Spain, organizing discussion forums, political activism and mobilizations in different cities of the country.

In a report by ACOM, Action and Communication for the Middle East, the international coordination of Samidoun can be seen in a Canadian citizen named Charlote Kates, her husband Khaled Barakat, Mohammed Khatib, who serves as coordinator in Europe, Joe Catron, Maram Saadi, Mustapha Awad, Thomas Gerhard Hofland and Jaldia Abubakra Aueda, who is co-founder of Samidoun in Spain.

Organizations like Samidoun, like the terrorist Leila Khaled for a long time, circulate freely in Spanish academic thought, professing radicalization and intolerance against Israel and breaking down the very diffuse walls that separate antisemitism from anti-Zionism in order to deploy a very offensive discursive artillery that leads to actions such as the synagogue attacks.

Spain is in unbridled danger if these groups are not pursued and neutralized, starting with national universities whose professorships devoted to the study of Middle East politics may be adulterated with such irrational posturing.

At the academic level, scientific output, like journalistic coverage in many of Europe’s media, is based on Palestinian sources that are entirely misrepresented. Today in many national universities in Spain, which are the academic centers that are training the world’s leaders of the coming decades, persecution is being normalized.

Groups that long ago would have been called marginal in Spain’s social and political life are today finding a dangerous amplification of their message, positioning themselves as prophets of hatred and with the sole aim of repeating the history that ended the physical and spiritual lives of millions of people in the 20th century. A worrying action, but one that can still be reversed.

About the Author
Master's Degree in International Politics from the Complutense University of Madrid. Interested in transnational terrorism, organized crime, radicalism and the fight against anti-Semitism.
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