Online Anti-Semitism Doubles in Spain

Online anti-Semitism in Spain doubled in volume last year, according to a Spanish Jewish community monitor.

In a report on anti-Semitism in Spain in 2011, the Observatory on Anti-Semitism in Spain counted more than 1,000 anti-Semitic sites and web pages that the observatory says were created in Spain. In 2010 the observatory counted only 400 such sites. The observatory includes Spanish Facebook pages and groups in its reports.

The document on 2011 is the observatory`s third annual monitor report. The observatory was co-founded by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain.

In addition to the observatory`s research of anti-Semitic websites, the observatory received a total of 57 reports of anti-Semitic incidents in 2011. Of those, the observatory deemed 42 to be anti-Semitic. In 2010, the center received half the number of reports.

“There is growing public awareness of the [observatory] initiative,” a Jewish federation spokesperson said.

A few of the incidents reported involved heckling of Jews in public. On Sept. 17, a group of youths confronted members of a Jewish cultural group at a mall in Saragossa. The youths allegedly told the group that Jews were “fascists, racist murderers” and that “there should be no Jews in the world.”

Spain, a nation of some 47 million people, has approximately 50,000 Jews.

The similarly-sized Dutch Jewish community registered 123 anti-Semitic incidents in 2011 throughout the Netherlands, with a population of 17 million people. During 2011, “there have been notable progresses in the legal field, as well as increased efforts in the fight against anti-Semitism,” the Observatory on Anti-Semitism in Spain’s report said.

The observatory nonetheless called on the political establishment to address “ambiguous wording” in the penal code. This, according to the observatory, leads to “contradictions” in the fight against hate crimes.

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