According to the last surveys of European institutions and other international organizations, Spain is one of the countries with a highest level of anti-Semitism.
The anti-Semitic prejudice is deep-rooted in the Spanish society. Unfortunately, the legacy of a deep rejection towards the Jews endures from generation to generation and continues today. The current context (economic, social and cultural) contributes even more to the contempt and to the incitement of hatred towards the Jewish people and other minorities that suffer discrimination, racism and xenophobia.
In recent years we have detected how old anti-Jew myths live on in new ways (anti-Zionism, Holocaust Denial and the trivialization of the Shoah, or the use of anti-Semitic expressions), and how they are spread through the new media (blogs, facebook, twitter, WebPages).
Obviously, in our country there are also, as in other European countries, minority groups of Nazis and radicals that intimidate and even attack Jews and Jewish communities. These groups are in constant surveillance by the police, and in recent years some of them have been broken up and their members have been taken into custody.
Although the Spanish legal system guarantees and promotes the fight against anti-Semitism, we are still a long way away. We keep asking for an urgent reform of the Penal Code to be passed, coherent with the European Union declaration on racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, that vigorously and unmistakably bans Holocaust Denial and the trivialization of the Shoah, as well as any expression or declaration that might be considered an outrage against someone’s dignity.
There are only a few cases in which the existing court resources have been enforced. For example, the Fiscalía Provincial de Barcelona [Provincial Prosecution of Barcelona] for hatred and discrimination crimes has accused the Europa Bookshop of anti-Semitic aggression, a court case that resulted in a TC [Spanish Constitutional Court] Sentence on Holocaust Denial and prison sentences.
In Spain, the initiatives against anti-Semitism have usually been scarce and uncoordinated: initiatives of a personal nature (people of good will, without resources, involved in Hasbara) or small groups that emerge sporadically because of a specific event, usually connected to the Arab-Israeli conflict, that vanish promptly.
We lack coordinated and planned initiatives: accusations, actions, etc that creates law enforcement dynamic, as it already happens in other European countries and the USA.
Bet Shalom would like to transmit the civil society the need to work every day in the strengthening of liberty, human rights and democratic values, recognising and reporting acts of racism, anti-Semitism or xenophobia in our society with the aim of defeating them with dialogue and reflection, but resorting to legal action through the instruments available in our legal system.
To that goal, we propose educational initiatives (face-to-face and on-line) to provide, from a practical point of view, tools and resources to identify, answer and/or report anti-Semitic practices not only in the everyday life but also in the social networks and the Internet.
The aim of these workshops is the creation of an active and permanent working group to:
- Study and identify the anti-Semitic phenomenon.
- Gather the necessary tools to fight any anti-Semitic action in our society.
- Develop legal actions to act against the different manifestations of anti-Semitism in our society.
If you are interested in taking part, please contact us here
Vigilante ¿Qué hay esta noche?
Tantas víctimas en tantos lugares necesitan ayuda.
Necesitamos, sobre todo, sacudirnos
fuertemente nuestra indiferencia,
la mayor fuente de peligro en el mundo. (…)
Elie Wiesel, in “The six days of destruction”
Jewish survivor of the Shoah,
1986 Winner of Peace Nobel Prize
The Jewish Shoah must be remembered in the historical memory as all humanity Shoah. From the very beginning Bet Shalom actively works to keep the universal meaning of the Shoah by preserving the voice of the victims and the survivors, and keeping their legacy alive from a Jewish and humanistic perspective.
In order to do this, there are three basic items we work on:
Commemorate Iom HaShoah.
Organizing open events for the civil society and collaborating in those promoted by public institutions to commemorate January 27th, “International Holocaust Remembrance Day”.
Offering an historical and documentary perspective on Shoah.
Focusing on the less known aspects of the Shoah.
Recovering and keeping the memory of the facts, and thinking of its legacy in our society.
Organizing public events, exhibitions and other actions open to civil society, as well as collaborating in those promoted by public institutions, Jewish communities and entities, and other non-Jewish associations in order to keep the memory of the Shoah, and thus actively fight against hatred, racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism in our society.
It is fundamental to keep the memory of the Shoah alive in order to strengthen its importance in the history not only of the Jewish people but of all humanity. In doing so, its memory will also strengthen our compromise with the values of liberty, human rights and democracy.