By Dr. Guy Bechor
Op-ed: Spanish government’s decision to grant nationality to the descendants of expelled Jews is based on the classic anti-Semitic perception that Jews control the global economy.
The Spanish government’s decision, which Portugal appears to be joining too, to grant nationality to the descendants of expelled Jews is infected with anti-Semitism – no less. These countries must shelve it in order to save their honor.
Let me remind you of the background: In an edict issued in 1492 by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, some 700,000 Spanish Jews were faced with a blood-curdling choice: To either convert to Christianity or be expelled. The absolute majority chose to leave Spain, without any property and without a future. The royal couple’s decision had nothing to do with the Jews, but only with Spain, with its interests, its whims.
The same thing is happening now. There is clearly no regret or compensation in the Spanish government’s decision. The Jews are just pawns, people without an identity or a name, under the patronage of Spain.
This is a remnant of the classic anti-Semitic perception that the Jews are strong and control the world, certainly the global economy, and so we should try to get some of them back to save Spain and Portugal’s collapsing economies. But these two countries are forgetting that something has happened since the 15th century: The Jews have their own nationality, and the State of Israel has been established, the Jewish people’s state. They are no longer a herd which can be expelled or returned according to the honorable king’s desires. They are a nation, and they have a homeland, and it’s definitely not Spain, which has failed to confront its anti-Semitic past to this very day.
As many as 10,000 Jews were burnt alive in Spain, under different claims, not to mention the persecution of Jews forced to convert. The “Anusim,” those miserable Jews who were forced to convert, were persecuted for hundreds of years in Spain and Portugal. In order to test them, they were forced to eat pork in front of the Christians, spit on the Holy Scriptures, and we haven’t even mentioned the horrors of the Inquisition regime: The informing, the torture, the mass executions. Nothing is forgotten.
Spain one of biggest funders of anti-Israel activity
A move in favor of the Jews? It’s enough to mention the Spanish government’s financial support of venomous anti-Israel and pro-Arab boycott organizations, which are fighting the existence of the Jewish state. Spain’s government is one of the biggest funders of the battle against Israel, allegedly in the name of “human rights.”
This is the same Spain which has yet to confront its black past with the Jews, and is now preaching human rights. In the height of the economic crisis in the country, they actually have money to fight Israel, and the Spanish public should know what its money is being spent on. The fact that they are ignoring the Jews’ state in the nationality proposal is associated with the disgraceful anti-Israel approach.
And what about the Muslims? The descendants of the Muslims expelled by Spain, the “Moriscos,” who were at first forced to convert to Christianity and were then completely expelled in 1609, rightfully protested the move. Why isn’t their Spanish citizenship being returned? Why only the Jews’, and where is the real equality? It’s enough to mention that the Moriscos’ descendants include at least 10 million Arabs, most of whom live in North Africa today, and they should definitely “return” to Spain and Portugal too.
And finally, does the Spanish government really believe that even one Jew will “return” to Spain? To a crushed and hopeless country with a 30% unemployment rate, with an emigration of half a million residents a year, replaced by half a million Muslims? At the most, there will be those who will claim an EU passport from afar.
Well, dear successors of Ferdinand and Isabella, we are not in 1492 and you have real existential troubles. The days of patronage are over. Leave us alone.
Published: Yedioth Aharonoth, 20.2.14