I am sorry that I don’t have time to translate this article in my Spanish blog about how hard it can be to be Jewish in Spain. Most of those who know me know I love Spain but one thing I can’t stand about Spaniards is how antisemitic they are. Not only is Spanish press especially El Pais extremely anti Israel (I have also been very critical of the policies of the State of Israel but not of its right to exist of course), but now estaría poco o nada dispuesto“>El Pais published a study that showed that 56% of Spanish school children said that they would not share school work with a Jew. This is in a country that before 1492 had 10% of Jewish people but now Jews make 1 person in 3000 so most Spaniards have never met a Jew. If you can understand the comments you will see of course that the other half, the half that is not antisemitic is very supportive and understanding of how hard it is to be Jewish in Spain but if you live in the UK, or USA and happen to understand Spanish you will be shocked about some of the comments both in my blog and in my blog in the leading online publication in Spain, El Mundo.

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Julian on July 27, 2008  · 

I’m very sorry about this situation. Just need to know any Jewish people and get close to them and understand the real thing. I’m hoping to visit Israel at the end of the year to learn more from my own experience. There are a lot on injustices around the world, the Jewish discrimination and persecution is one of them.

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killy_de_Chine on July 27, 2008  · 

I am against racism or antisemitism. I even use lot of my time fighting against before…. But now I am a bit tired:
–I am tired to defending American people when their gov (Bush elected twice!!) spend time since 8 years making everything possible to make themselves dislike.
–I am tired of defending Muslim when we see so many Muslim countries are quite crazy and extremist.
–I am tired of defending Jewish (and try to explain Jewish and Israelite is different) when we see the colonization that Israel continue to do.
So, I live my life, and let them hate each others.

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Raphael on July 27, 2008  · 

The problem with that statement Martin assumes that people ignore how predatory Israel has become over the last 30 years towards their Arab neighbors like the Palestinians, many times in clear violation of treaties they themselves signed.

Please don’t stick up for war mongers. Spain has it right. Israel needs to go back to being homeless so they don’t continue to instigate trouble.

People in the US don’t like Bush & Cheney and recently they’re seeing the light on how aggressive Israel has become. Try this article, Are you ready for the facts about Israel?.

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Yani on July 27, 2008  · 


maybe not directly to do with your article, but …
what is the reason for you to live in Spain since you don’t seem to have a special tie to Spain ? Is it because your mother tonge is Spanish and you want to live in Europe and not in South America or the US ?

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Paul RODTS on July 27, 2008  · 

With the approval of the new Spanish Constitution of 1978,
Spain became a young democracy.
We have to give this teenager a little bit more time, to allow it, to start a critical reflection on her own history…
Lots of things are still hidden away :
Alhambra Edict of Expulsion of the Jews,
Hernando de Talavera’s forcing of the Muslims into Christianity,
Moriscos and Conversos deportations to Africa,
the brutal force used by Conquistadores that ravaged local Amerindian populations,
Spanish Civil War and Franco,
the treatment of the former republicains after Franco,

Spain is still a little bit in a state of denial…
Give her more time to grow up to adultery…

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john on July 28, 2008  · 

“Antisemitism”, properly and narrowly speaking, doesn’t mean hatred of semites; that is to confuse etymology with definition. It means hatred of Jews. But here, immediately, we come up against the venerable shell-game of Jewish identity: “Look! We’re a religion! No! a race! No! a cultural entity! Sorry–a religion!” When we tire of this game, we get suckered into another: “anti-Zionism is antisemitism! ” quickly alternates with: “Don’t confuse Zionism with Judaism! How dare you, you antisemite!”

That’s without talking that many Jews, first they are Jewish and then Spaniards, French or Americans and within Republicans or Democrats and so for. But that does not explain your quandary.

Martin I find out that you pretend to be candid regarding the issue of antisemitism. Several readers have respond to you in the past making a clear distinction, pertaining to the subject, but you refuse to acknowledge, killing it with your silence. In stead you go into the wailing and lamentations.

There is not simple answer that I know to explain the Anti-semitism problem in Spanin. But have you look at the problem and possible solutions with respect to your people and other no chosen people like the Palestinians?

So may be the first step is to look what really means Antisemitism. As Michael Neumann point out in his What is Antisemitism?

Jewish people trough out history have venerated knowledge and the Bat Mitzvah initiation is one of the finest examples of how from early childhood force feed religious knowledge come to be a second nature.

So while there is no secret hand sakes there is a mutual understanding, a tremendous zealous desire to get anyone who criticized Zionism and because probably Zionism is the prevalent ideology in Israel. This happens, in spite of some ignorant and other very smart people often confusing and sometime conflating in purpose Judaism with Zionism.

Now, not all but most Jews by not speaking up have approve Zionism, which is a form of fascism have condone mass murder and wars like in Iraq. Jews who prefer not to talk about are enablers or allies of Zionist they pretend to ignore.

Off course that does not explain the over representation of Jews in top places as you point out, but look at the economic benefits Zionists have been trickling down from sweet deals to Israel for settlers who do not work or pay taxes in the mountains of Sinai, while Hispanics, Blacks and other minorities in the USA are in most urgent need so that they also could be represent in the elitist positions you mention. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf

How to explain the tremendous success of AIPAC? Do you know the revolving doors of funding that US politician have? Have you thought why Irving Lewis “Scooter” Libby (Leibowitz) was recently pardoned? Or what Jack Abramoff was doing with politicians in government?

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Artem on July 28, 2008  · 

These are all prejudices. I also have them and constantly try to get rid of it. It is the media that basically makes people’s opinion. I didn’t want to deal with black people because I thought they were stupid, drug-addicts and criminals, the same with Jews, arabs and other nationalities. This is all wrong because media reports only about 1-2% of the people because it needs to report something in order to sell the information and make profit. And this 1-2% is usually not the good ones. But if you have some friends among Jews, Africans, arabs, everything changes. The same was to me.
Some of my friends say that Jews try to counquer the world, the same about black people, all arabs are terrorist, I am prohibited to interact with them. But I do have friends that are Jews, that are black/white, no matter. And I love them and don’t care about the nationality.
As Seth Godin said: “The goal is to sell newspapers, not to report the news”.

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Martin Varsavsky on July 28, 2008  · 


Well, other for a few issues that I am trying to change in Spain, such as prejudice against those perceived different and lack of entrepreneurship, Spain is a great country to live in.

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Martin Varsavsky on July 28, 2008  · 


Israel foreign policy is not the issue in the schools. The kids in Spanish schools who said they would not share work with Jews actually hate Moroccans to an even greater percentage than Jews.

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Martin Varsavsky on July 28, 2008  · 


Jesse Helms used to say, I can’t define pornography, but I reconginze it when I see it. In you John, I recognize antisemitism, a general dislike of Jewish people.

I am Jewish, my girlfriend Nina is German protestant. Antisemites feel a dislike for me regardless of how I define myself. Antisemites don’t care if I am a secular Jew. Indeed, many times antisemites make us Jewish.

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John on July 29, 2008  · 

Martin, let me see you cannot define anti-Semitism but you can recognized who is by they say. I guess that your very own opinion put you in company of the hateful racist.
That’s a pitiful Freudian slip and a faux pas for a Jew like you who pretend to be compassionate and politically correct. What a source of inspiration!
In the other hand by not addressing the Zionism issue, but instead changing it and avoid real rational discussion, again you revert to pass it by silence. So in case that you miss the most important fact in my post and you need to define Anti-Semitism here is one more time:
“Anti-Semitism”, properly and narrowly speaking, doesn’t mean hatred of Semites; that is to confuse etymology with definition. It means hatred of Jews. But here, immediately, we come up against the venerable shell-game of Jewish identity: “Look! We’re a religion! No! a race! No! a cultural entity! Sorry–a religion!” When we tire of this game, we get suckered into another: “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism! ” quickly alternates with: “Don’t confuse Zionism with Judaism! How dare you, you anti-Semite!”

I understand that when you don’t allege a nationality you can turn in to be an international citizen, but when above all you claim, not a religion but a race, then, you left the human race contemplation and start to worship your own and that I am afraid it is what constitute racism.

In that sense Jimmy Carter http://tinyurl.com/5rxk24http://tinyurl.com/5rxk24 book on Israel Apartheid is so illustrative.

As far as to why the international community is more and more is going “anti-Semitic read this: http://tinyurl.com/54k4xv

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Joe H. on July 29, 2008  · 

Quite why the designers of the survey decided to investigate attitudes to Jews in Spain among young people I dont know. There are very few jews in Spain to begin with and most that are here have very Spanish names like say Hernandez and Noya (rather than say Varsavsky) so you would have to meet them on a Jewish occasion to know thay were Jewish. I´ve never seen anyone in Spain with a Yarmulke outside an airport.

I would be interested to know if you think being Jewish has helped you in business (apart from the cultural aspect whereby most Jewish parents put a high value on education and the need to be self sufficient). Do you think that when you cold call another businessman with a Jewish surname that it helps? That your friendships with other business men have became closer much faster than usual because you are both Jewish? You could call the article: “OK well I guess sometimes yeah I suppose It can be good to be a Jew”

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Paul RODTS on July 29, 2008  · 

Hi John *11,
I never met the man, I am just a http://www.fon.com believer,
but I am sure that Martin wants an end at the Israeli/Palestinian confict

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john on July 30, 2008  · 

Hi Paul RODTS at #13
So where is Marin indignation for the land grab by Zionist settlers, the Ignominious Wall and the hatred to the Palestinian native?

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Martin Varsavsky on July 30, 2008  · 


It was a joke!

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Martin Varsavsky on July 30, 2008  · 

Joe H,

When I lived in the States I felt I lived in a society that was post prejudice, this will be confirmed by the election of the ultimate mix of backgrounds, Barack Hussein Obama. Spain is a country that already has enormous prejudices among the people who are Spanish namely Catalans, Basques, Madrileños, Gallegos, Andaluces, etc. So if to that difficult mix you add the 10% immigrants that came in the last 9 years alone (Spain has more foreign born people as percentage than USA now) you can see that prejudice is rampant. The study did a scale of the most disliked to the most liked by Spanish high school students. The most disliked were the gypsies, followed by the Moroccans, then the Jews, the most liked were other Europeans but it is interested to know that 25% of Spanish students disliked everyone who was not like them.

So the base is 25%, and from then you go up to 2/3 in the case of Gypsies.

A terrible, unacceptable situation.

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Teresa on July 31, 2008  · 

What a wicked sense of humor you have!

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Martin Varsavsky on August 1, 2008  · 


Just to make it clear, I lived in the States for 18 years. I strongly disliked Jesse Helms and disagreed with his views.

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martiger on August 2, 2008  · 

Maybe Jewish people should start thinking why someone doesnt like them and doesnt accept. Im 31 old. I Lived in Poland for 19 years very close to Oswiecim. Now i’m live in usa. I’m never was racism for ANy nation, only for some people. The reason why Jewish people are not like in my opinion is that thay ALWAYS saying THERES OTHERS FAULT, only they have problems, everyone are antysemitics but they never saying what they do to others. Only they were killed on WWII. Thay always ideal others are bad. They perfect. Whatever they doing and saying are ok.
Maybe Jewish people should start seem way from other side. Have respect for others, others will have respect for you.

( sorry if i made any language mistakes and misunderstuds )

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teresa on August 3, 2008  · 

I am sorry but the joke thing does not pass the muster. That’s a cup-out. In your postings you ever joke about serious matters such as Zionism or Judaism. In other words your answer is a lame high school excuse.

Reading to the entries of this post, you do not answer questions, in particular about Zionism. I think that John raised the interesting question of defining antisemitism. Joking about is absurd and morally wicked.

Mr. Helms was as racist as any Nazi you can conceive as to find him the source of inspiration for a joke. The unconscious sometimes play funny jokes in ourselves.

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Paul RODTS on August 3, 2008  · 

Is Spain still the subject…?
or are we going to fix the problems of the middle east ?
In that case…let’s give peace a chance…
No joke….

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