Thursday, July 20, 2006


Israel: Spain relations hurt by PM's accusation IDF uses 'abuses force'
By Reuters
Israel's envoy to Spain said on Thursday the two countries' relations had been damaged after the Spanish prime minister accused Israel of using "abusive force" during an event at which he also wore a Palestinian scarf.Spain's ability to use its influence to help defuse the growing Middle East conflict could suffer following the speech by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to a meeting of young Socialists on Wednesday, Ambassador Victor Harel said.His comments came as European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, himself a Spaniard, was involved in talks aimed at ending fighting between Israel, Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas and Palestinian militants.
"Each declaration which is not balanced has consequences for parties who want to use their influence," Harel told reporters at Madrid's Ritz Hotel where he listened to Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos at a conference.Relations with Spain "are not in their best moment", he said.Zapatero, who took power in a surprise election victory following Islamist train bombings in Madrid in 2004 and immediately pulled Spanish troops out of Iraq, had told the young Socialists: "No one should defend themselves with abusive force which does not protect innocent human beings."Spain wants the United Nations Security Council to agree to deploy international troops to stop fighting which has claimed hundreds of lives since Israel launched bombardments nine days ago to stop Hizbollah attacking it with rockets.Moratinos, who was once the EU's Middle East peace envoy, angrily denied an accusation at the conference by a former Spanish Jewish community leader that Zapatero's remarks were anti-Semitic.During the question-and-answer session at the breakfast, Mauricio Hatchwell, a member of Spain's small Jewish community, accused Zapatero of being antisemitic.Moratinos reacted sternly, saying one could be a loyal ally of Israel and still criticize it without being antisemitic. He addressed Hatchwell personally and told him not to repeat such criticism of the government. "Let this be the last time you publicly denounce and condemn and express yourself saying a Spanish government is antisemitic," Moratinos said.He said he was not worried by the diplomatic effect of photographs in Spanish newspapers on Thursday of a grinning Zapatero wearing a black-and-white Palestinian scarf passed to him by a student at Wednesday's meeting."I imagine that when Prime Minister Zapatero goes to the Wailing Wall, he'll put on a kippah," said Moratinos, referring to a traditional Jewish skull cap and Jerusalem's Western Wall.

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Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero Photo: AP

Zapatero and a friend Photo: AP

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In Spain, anti-Semitism is new leftist trend

Spanish Jews knew there were hard times ahead. Prime Minister Zapatero has not disappointed them Ignacio Russell Cano

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Madrid: Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain and Secretary General of the Socialist Party, arrived to power at a time nobody expected, not even inside the Party.

Keen on populist tirades against the United States "Dickhead Bush" and "Ketchup Queen Kerry", his whole campaign did not bring much attention until the moment Al-Qaeda decided to blow up Madrid trains, killing almost 200 people and bringing to an end Spain's membership of the West.

From that moment on, everybody knew nothing would be the same, and Spanish Jews knew there were hard times ahead. Prime Minister Zapatero has not disappointed them.

'Understand Nazis'

Although many experts had foretold of the imminent disappearing of European Jews, nobody expected such a virulent explosion of anti-Semitism in Spain, not even under a Leftist government.

The first signal came on Monday, 5 December, when during a dinner with the Benarroch family, Zapatero and wife began claiming what Vidal Quadras, member of the European Parliament, described on the radio as "a tirade of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism".

By the moment the Benarroch couple had left the table to express their regrets, Zapatero was explaining his lack of surprise about the Holocaust: according to the people present, Zapatero claimed to understand the Nazis.

What about Hizbullah?

Closing Hizbullah TV was another mission impossible for the man who understands the Nazis. It took more than a year to definitely close the channel connection to the Hispasat satellite, siphoning Latin America with more than a year of hate and Islamist propaganda.

In a country with the most anti-Catholic government in its whole history but with a multicultural obsession for Islam, A-Manar TV was part of the 'freedom of press.'

The recent clashes with Hizbullah, however, have promoted the longest and hardest diatribes against Israel, forcing Zapatero to loose a cover for what it was long known in Spanish politics: His hate towards Israel, Jews and Zionism.
In the third day of such rants, before a gathering of the Socialist Youth Movement and a day before a demonstration against Israel, Zapatero showed at last his true colours: At the closing of the meeting he let the teenagers take pictures of him wearing a Palestinian kaffiyah.

Zapatero wearing the kaffiyah (Photo: AP)
Although according to Zapatero, Hizbullah and Israel are the same thing, he offers no words of condemnation for the Party of Allah, spending 100 percent of the time explaining, in a rather twisted way, that Israel should let Hizbullah kill Israelis.

Much of the theory belongs to controversial Spanish FM Miguel Angel Moratinos. EU envoy to the Middle East before and sinking in rumours of links to Hamas long before he left, Moratinos arrived to the foreign ministry cleaning the Elcano Institute up, firing the most prestigious experts and bringing in a group of friends of the oppression theory.

Since then, amid support for Castro and Chavez and mysterious support to Bolivia in order to bring Evo Morales to power, the Spanish FM has proved he has nothing to envy in terms of anti-Americanism, but nobody ever expected an explosion of anti-Semitism in Spain this big. It seems once more that the Jews are the canary in the mine, and the United States should take note.
Jews pay the price
The commotion caused in the Spanish Jewish community seems to be huge, especially taking in count that after some months of anxiety after his election, some Jews were feeling somewhat safe in Spain. Not anymore.
Some people were trying to alert the international community about what was boiling in Spain, but neither the OSCE nor the EUMC ever listened, preferring contacts with anti-Israeli NGOs based on the idea that anti-Semitism has to do with Arabs. Now the Spanish Jews are to pay the price for the international community's inaction, once more.

If the United States does not want to see the American embassy in Madrid full of Jews fleeing Spain, President Bush will do well in isolating Spain in the international arena while pressing, and asking European members to press, the new Socialist government of Spain. The American Rep's belonging to Moratino's Caucus of Friends of Spain should be reminded its elections time too.
The Sepharad story is clearly over, but nobody expected it would be by accident. If you are thinking about visiting Spain, think it twice. You may not leave easily.


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