Spanish city says Israeli ensembles are unwelcome

Spanish city says Israeli ensembles are unwelcome


norman lebrecht

June 12, 2018

Oviedo has cancelled invitations to the Netanya Chamber Orchestra and a ballet group.

It is reported that Valencia has done the same.

The last time Spain kicked out Jews was 1492.


  • Mike Schachter says:

    Spain has a proud unbroken record of anti-Semitism, now led by the so-called left. Perhaps Jews should reciprocate.

    • José Bergher says:

      Definitely, Jews must reciprocate.

      • Anon says:

        Not to be facetious, but I´m honestly curious as to how Jews can retaliate against Spain. Are there any Spanish ensembles being invited to Israel? What are they going to do exactly, boycott paella?

    • JoBe says:

      Spanish anti-Semitism is rooted in the Catholic church, which has traditionally rather supported the right. But there exists a special brand of leftist, even Marxist, Catholicism, which is just as anti-Semitic: Liberation theology. That is where Podemos comes from (plus getting money from Iran).

  • Carmen says:

    OK. I´m no expert on this situation but I have 3 comments:

    1. This is based on a statement from the leader of one political party in Spain, not the whole country. Pedro Iglesias heads Podemos, Spain´s far left political party. Spain is a multi-party country..Podemos is a new,controversial & very extreme party which has only come into existence during the past couple of yrs Its prides itself on presenting opposing views to the primary conservative parties which are in power. It does not necessarily reflect mainstream politics or opinion in Spain.

    2. Spain has a strong, articulate & well organized community of Jewish residents and citizens (in 2016 Spain began granting citizenship to Sephardic Jews with roots in Spain) who have come forward to protest Iglesias´ statement.

    3. These news reports are all from minor, possibly unreliable & extremist online news sources. Until they appear in a major, proven news source such as El Pais or El Mundo I am reserving judgement. Hopefully this will be forthcoming soon.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      It is clear that this does not represent Spain, though polls show that Spain is one of the most anti-Semitic countries in Europe. However, it is Podemos and similar parties in Catalonia who propagate this, while the horribly reactionary Partido Popular is strongly pro-Jewish and pro-Israel. Look no further then the Jew-hating Jew Marx.

    • MavisP says:

      The first point here sounds as if it is almost in parallel with what was happening in Germany in the mid-1920s.

      • Will Duffay says:

        Although with a huge difference that in the 1920s there wasn’t a Jewish state oppressing and killing an Arab minority on their own land.

        • James says:

          There isn’t now, either.

          • Harold Lewis says:

            Well said, James. More than ever these days we need to be vigilant in combating antisemitic fictions, lies and distortions of the truth.

          • David R Osborne says:

            Harold Lewis, the Israeli army didn’t recently murder in cold blood at least 70 unarmed Palestinian protesters, including people who went to the aid of the wounded? And to suggest that this happened is tantamount to antisemitism? I think we know where the fiction, lies and distortions of the truth are coming from.

          • M2N2K says:

            No, not really.
            Yes, often it is.

    • Novagerio says:

      Pablo Iglesias, sometimes referred to as “Pavo” el chavista….

      • Theodore Rickenbacker says:

        DAVID R OSBORNE “murder in cold blood at least 70 unarmed protesters”. No. Hamas itself admitted at least 50 were its operatives. Islamic Jihad claimed another 3 as its own. Defending your border against incursion by armed insurgents who declared their intention to breach the border and kill indiscriminately is not only legitimate but obligatory. After countless warnings to stay away it’s not murder, it is self-defence. If you uncritically rely on the BBC/guardian passing Hamas propaganda as news, then you will think this. But Col. Richard Kemp, ex UK commander Afghanistan, ex COBRA, was at the border. He tweeted the other day that western journalists at the scene already had their narrative and weren’t interested in the facts or his experienced understanding of the situation. You are not helping the ordinary Arabs by supporting the Hamas victimhood narrative. You are encouraging them to repeat this stunt of pushing other people towards the border from the safety of their hotels in Qatar. Watch Col. Kemp here, unless you don’t like having your existing prejudices challenged. And yes, it’s antisemitic to judge Israel by standards you would not apply to any other state, and any other state in the same situation would have defended its border against incursion.

        Rɪᴄʜᴀʀᴅ Kᴇᴍᴘ

        Jun 5
        Rɪᴄʜᴀʀᴅ Kᴇᴍᴘ Retweeted Marc Boudreaux
        You don’t seem to understand the term “murder”, nor do you seem to understand that actual evidence of such a crime, rather than your uninformed assertion from behind your keyboard, is needed to make it so.

        • David R Osborne says:

          What utter rubbish. Every time this issue is discussed it seems the same organised propaganda wing swings into action, trying to shut the discussion down. And how pathetic that you would on the one hand deny Hamas any legitimacy and on the other use their unsubstantiatable proclamations as somehow supporting your arguments.

          Protesters were murdered in cold blood, and these actions are being justified in near identical language to the way the Nazis sought to justify their reprisals following the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto. The world looks the other way, meanwhile the appalling one sided nature of the death toll, and the suffering of the people of Gaza continues. Shame on you.

          • M2N2K says:

            Based on your comments here, being “shamed” by you is a true badge of honor.

          • David R Osborne says:

            Care to make some sort of argument to back that up Mr M2N2K, or are you just throwing mud?

          • M2N2K says:

            What I am “throwing” here is a much finer stuff than what your comments deserve.

          • David R Osborne says:

            You mean no.

          • David R Osborne says:

            OK M2N2K, you’re a regular here on SD, clearly a fairly knowledgeable and sensible person who cares about music, we have that at least in common. With that in mind, I have a question for you.

            Have you ever seen anything posted here by this person who replied to my originaI post, and in turn I was replying to? No, didn’t think so. I traced back to his facebook profile, no surprises there. Probably a professional troll, no way someone who has any interest in music like you or I.

            Are you aware of this practice? They search key-words then go to work trying shut down opinions that they are employed to supress, using quite often blatant mis-truths.

            You are quite welcome of course to disagree with me, but by not actually making any case of your own, all you’re really doing is cheer-leading and empowering this dangerous and frankly quite despicable practice.

          • Theodore Rickenbacker says:

            Calling Col. Kemp’s 30 year professional opinion ‘rubbish’ says everything about your disgusting [Hamas are ‘legitimate’ etc] opinion. He’s an expert on the military aspects of the situation and he has been to this border repeatedly and has written for the High Level Military Group on the subject. You think it reasonable to defend an organisation like Hamas. I rest my case, you are beyond reason and civilisation.

            Incidentally, I am not affiliated or organised in any way and pro-Hamas comments were the last thing I expected to see when looking thru a site about music. Funny how you assume there is an organised propaganda conspiracy at work (jewish no doubt) when it’s just someone interested in music amazed to see extremist and offensive nonsense who felt compelled to not let it pass unremarked.

          • Theodore Rickenbacker says:

            I’ve just seen your comment re ‘reprisals’ following the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. There were not reprisals after the Ghetto uprising because there were only a handful of survivors (M Edelman is the only one I can think of) as the jews of the Ghetto Uprising were the last jews in Warsaw. You are an absolute fool.

          • David R Osborne says:

            You’re a real piece of work aren’t you mate? I have not once and never would defend Hamas. The soldier you’re advocating for has a long history as one sided apologist for the oft barbaric Israeli Defence Force, and was in Israel at the time on the invitation of a right wing Israeli think tank, and you have the utter temerity to hold his opinion as somehow untainted while in the same breath attacking independent journalists? Lügenpresse perhaps?

            And yes, that is a pathetically fake facebook profile. Norman for pity’s sake if you value the integrity of this site, block this creep. Of course he’ll probably just come back as someone else…

          • M2N2K says:

            No, I do not consider your comments here as valid arguments deserving of a serious response.

    • Carmen says:

      Correction – PABLO Iglesias! Have no idea what possessed me to call him Pedro. I´m always concentrating so hard not to call him Julio or Enrique that the wrong P name popped out!

  • william osborne says:

    It’s interesting that from about 711 to 1031 there was a Golden Age of Jewish culture under the Moors so important that it strongly shaped not only Jewish history, but the history of Europe. It’s an example of tolerance that contrasts the war engendered hatreds on both sides that characterize Jewish and Islamic relations today. We await the day when Jewish/Arab relations in the Middle East will create mutual support and a new Golden Age for both, an ideal that was part of the founding of Israel. This goal was sadly lost, something for which both sides must take responsiblity, and most of all we Americans.

    • David McBay says:

      Interesting to read ‘The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise’ by Darío Fernández-Morera for a more rounded picture of this supposedly idylic period.

      • william osborne says:

        There were definitely problems, but on the whole, it is hard to deny the cultural achievements of this era, especially compared to other Jewish communities in Europe. I also have the uncomfortable feeling that at least some of the questioning of the relative tolerance of this era is politically motivated – a manifestation of how today’s hatreds might be shaping our narratives of the past. Already the term “Paradise” in the title, an obvious exaggeration, hints at the drawing of a straw man in oder to burn it. It is difficult to deconstruct these agnedas, but unfortunately a necessary concern in these troubled times.

        • william osborne says:

          The agenda, of course, being to tarnish any image of Islamic culture as being tolerant. Rather than attack the image, we might want to encourage it…

          • Saxon Broken says:

            Sigh…I don’t think anybody who knows anything much about the history of the lands ruled by Moslems between 650AD and 1800AD would disagree with the notion they practised tolerance of other religious communities (within limits, and certainly they did not allow complete equality in the modern sense). And that the communities ruled by Christians didn’t. However, the positions now are largely reversed.

  • Sharon says:

    How many Jews are in Catalonia? I suspect Podemos accuses Jews with imperialism and colonialsim (of Palestine) just the way they accuse Spain of imperialism and colonialism in Catalonia.

    As I have said in this blog many times cultural boycotts do nothing but backfire.

    • JoBe says:

      Let us hope that it will backfire!

    • Shlomo Lev says:

      Some comments of an American rabbi residing in Barcelona since 2016. Estimates are between 10,000-15,000 Jews. Historically
      The Catalans , unlike the majority of Spaniards , have identified with the Jewish people as a persecuted minority. In the last 15-20 years younger Catalans particularly on the left and far left have become strongly identified with the Palestinians and highly critical of the Israeli government. In a recent survey conducted by the Catalan department of inter religious affairs 90% of those interviewed indicated a desire to learn more about Judaism. The older generation recalls the fact that hundreds of Jewish volunteers cane to fight with Catalans against Franco. In addition, thousands of Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe were welcomed by Catalan villagers and were saved.

      • Sharon says:

        Thank you

      • william osborne says:

        Thank you, Schlomo, for the very interesting and factual observations. One might also note that in Germany and Austria, the right and especially the far right, have developed hateful stances toward Islam. It has become the new form of Germanic anti-Semitism — and very literally since Arabs are also Semites. In the USA, some of the most radically rightwing groups loudly proclaim allegiance to Israel while expressing hatred toward Arabs. They also often proclaim deeply chauvinistic beliefs centered around proselytizing forms of Christian Zionism that veil anti-Semitic beliefs. The ironies, both historical and racial, scream to the heavens. We see that the complexities of the Israel/Palestine conflict are difficult to define in simple terms of political left and right.

  • rita says:

    Golly, from inside Spain (or, rather, Catalunya 😉 ) Pablo Iglesias looks pretty good and not extreme at all. I’ll look throught he Spanish press to see if this exclusion story has any basis.


    Why do we confuse judgments with Israel? it is a political decision about a country not about a religion or race.
    What about that, for example ? or

    the comment on 1492 seems out of place. Spain is not anti-Semitic .Can you really think that what Israel does with Palestine is normal? Not all Jews agree with Israel’s policy , please ! Look at this:

  • Oded Zehavi says:

    While I know of the Netania chamber orchestra ( wonderfully led by Christian Lindberg) I have never heard of any professional dance grou; from this town which makes me wonder about the accuracy of this report

  • Anon says:

    On a side note, as a resident of Spain, I am surprised at the continued references from writers here to Catalunya as though it is some elevated deific nation unto itself. You guys are reading too much Catalan propaganda in the foreign press. This is a very skewed perspective.

    Look, I am long time resident of Spain – not Catalunya – and I can tell you 1st hand that Spain is still very much a united country. There are 17- SEVENTEEN – autonomous communities in Spain. Each one has its own unique history and culture. There are 7 unique languages. Catalunya is just one of them. It is no where near the largest or the most populated region of Spain, it is simply the most vocal and has the most elevated sense of self-importance.

    The Basque region has also been seeking independence for quite a while. It, too, is an autonomous community with its own language, history and culture. Why are readers here not quoting Basque opinions on Judaism?

    Catalunya, like each of the 16 other autonomous communities is governed by the Spanish national constitution. They may be trying to change that but that is the law.

    Maybe to foreigners, who are readers of this blog, what´s going on in Catalunya is some kind of political apocalypse. But here on the front line, as someone who lives in Spain, works alongside Catalans and follows politics, it is business as usual.

    This is not going to change. The new government which came into office last week supports a central Spanish govt. and is anti Catalan independence. Or Basque independence. Or anything else independence.

    So please stop swallowing these distorted news reports and fawning over the Catalans. As self-important as they may deem themselves, they are Spaniards. Just as the residents of Spain´s 16 other autonomous communites are Spaniards.

    Catalan opinions on Judaism reflect the views of residents of that region of Spain. Period. Andalusia, an autonomous community over twice the size of Catalunya geographically and in population, also has strong views on Judaism, I´m sure. Pais Vasco, whose historic struggles for independence far pre-date those of Catalunya also have opinions on Judaism.

    So people, please stop swallowing this “We are Catalan, we are the most important people on the Iberian peninsula, we are justified in defying our national constitution and we can do whatever we please.” crap. This is a minority group with a very big collective mouth.

    I am shocked to see that foreign readers of this blog are giving them so much creedance.