(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Spanish city councilman tweeted approvingly of Jews burning in an ashtray – a reference to the Nazis’ use of ovens to exterminate European Jewry.
According to a translation of Saturday’s tweet, Guillermo Zapata, a city councilman in Madrid who became in charge of Madrid’s Department of Culture as of Saturday, wrote “how would you fit five million Jews in a Seat 600 (like a Fiat 500)? In the ashtray.”
Zapata is a member of leftwing party Ahora Madrid, the same party as Manuela Carmena, the new mayor of Madrid. The party’s views on Israel are extremist, mirroring the goals of the Boycott, Sanction, Divestment movement targeting the Jewish state.
According to English-language Spanish website The Spain Report, Zapata wrote dehumanizing and anti-Jewish tweets in 2011 and 2012.
The website noted that he apologized in a tweet on Saturday evening and rejected that he was an anti-Semite.
He said politicians should know better and said that he had “always liked black, cruel humor... as a healthy expression to laugh at the horror humans create.” Zapata tweeted in 2012 that Israel is “genocidal posing as an advanced democracy” and resembles Assad’s regime in Syria.
The Spain Report said journalists called for Carmena to fire Zapata. The editor of the El Español website, Pedro J. Ramírez, a former editor of El Mundo, wrote: “In no democratic country would someone with public responsibility be capable of writing a tweet like Zapata’s. The first test for Carmena.”
In a statement issued to The Jerusalem Post, the Jewish community of Madrid said it “expresses its concern” for the anti-Semitic tweets and has requested from the new mayor to dismiss Zapata.
“The Jewish community of Madrid has placed an immediate communique asking for explanations and obviously denouncing these types of comments and we also stated that we will not tolerate any kind of anti-Semitism,” David Hatchwell, the president of the Jewish community of Madrid and vice president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain, said.
Hatchwell also responded to a tweet by MK Ahmed Tibi who asked if Israel would emulate Spain’s move last week in offering the descendants of exiled Jews the right of return by accepting the descendants of Palestinians who fled during the 1948 War of Independence.
“Israel said Spain has done justice to Jews expelled from Spain and gave them citizenship.
There is another state that caused injustice and expelled persons. Does doing justice hold true here?” Tibi asked.
“What I find amazing about Israeli democracy is how a Knesset member has the right to state any type of opinion, including some that would undermine the existence of the whole State of Israel,” Hatchwell said.