Yesterday I was interviewed by Vanity Fair, one of my favorite magazines along with The Economist and Wired, as their Spanish edition is about to be launched. When they asked me what my favorite sport was I replied biking, so they decided to take pictures of me while cycling on the roof of my house.

The pictures I’ve published where taken while I was being photographed.

Vanity Fair Bike Shoot

And here is the video:

Now something I didn’t like. While Vanity Fair was interviewing me I googled it to find out when the newspaper was going to launch in Spain and I found this article from El País, with a comment saying something like “in the world there are few publishers capable of investing more then 12M euros to launch a magazine for a general audience of 40M inhabitants. One of these is Advance Publications of the Jewish brothers Samuel Irving and Donald Newhouse, comparable to the Sulzbergers, the New York Times publishers…“. What’s the purpose of saying they are Jewish? What if the New York Times wrote about Telefonica and its catholic CEO César Alierta, or Santander Bank managed by the Catholic family Botín? Ridiculous and unnecessary.

There is still a latent antisemitism in Spain. When somebody is rich they call them Jewish now I still have to see El País called Einstein, for example, the famous Jewish scientist. And who am I, the cyclist on the roof?

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Davide Tesoro-Tess on June 21, 2008  · 

Well said. Same thought came to my mind a couple of days back with a similar interview on an Italian newspaper (yes, one of the main national ones)…

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Paul RODTS on June 21, 2008  · 

Martin Varsavsky from the shtetl of Madrid ?
What do you guys speak over there, Hebrew, Jiddisch or Ladino ? 😉
Ke es kon ti, no saves avlar Ladino in Espanga ?

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maresdelsur on June 22, 2008  · 

Well said Martin, and congratulations on your interview. It was not necessary for El Pais to say that someone is Jewish or not, but arguably these days other groups in Europe are far more discriminated than the Jews (e.g. Roma ). I read your link, and to be honest I did not find any trace of discrimination against the Jews. Having said this, I agree that the use of language is extremely important (Jew= rich or more notably in the southern seas “tight”) which came from a stupid stereotype, also the black community can genuinely complain about “negro de mierda” for instance. Hopefully, there will be one day in which we all understand, that after all, we are all human beings.

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dema on June 23, 2008  · 

My comment won’t be about the antisemitsm you are feeling in spanish society .
I would rather comment the dangerous rooftop cycling as there’s a scary gap between tracks and if someone looses control can fall into it.
Watch out Martin , be carefull

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Emmanuel Chriqui on June 24, 2008  · 

Probably true outside Spain, too.
In Europe some will say “He is rich.. but he is jewish”.
In the US they will say “He is jewish.. but he is rich”.

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Manuel on June 24, 2008  · 


The antisemitism of El País is well known and documented. You even have mentioned it in other entries of your blog, so I guess the comment above was really not that surprising to you.

I stopped consuming media by the PRISA group (El País, Cuatro TV, Canal Satélite Digital, Cadena SER, etc.) years ago and I recommend the same to you or anybody that wants to be informed.

It’s funny but I don’t miss a thing from PRISA. On the contrary, I have friends that only read El País and they are not informed about several things, specially about the scandals affecting the socialist party, who El País has always defended or covered up.

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