Barcelona's Grand Maimonides Synagogue was vandalized on Sunday evening, days before Holocaust Remembrance Day, according to a statement from the local Jewish community.
"Three people have painted a slogan that Arab radicalism has traditionally used to demand that the Jewish people living in Israel be thrown into the sea," the statement said.
The incident was reported to the police along with the security camera footage of the event. Additionally, the graffiti was promptly removed.
The community, per the statement, "is a humanist and pluralist community that defends human rights and coexistence."
"The place of prayer of the Jews of Barcelona [was] attacked because of the events that happen in Israel," explained the community statement. "Blaming Jews, in general, and, in this case, the Jews of Catalonia, for the policies of the government of the State of Israel is an obvious example of antisemitism."
"Blaming Jews, in general, and, in this case, the Jews of Catalonia, for the policies of the government of the State of Israel is an obvious example of antisemitism."Local Jewish community
This event occurred on the same day that Barcelona's Jewish community held an event to honor the memories of those lost in the Holocaust.
The Grand Maimonides Synagogue, which opened in 1952, was the first new synagogue to be built in the Iberian Peninsula since 1492 when the Jews were expelled from Spain.
"It was opened in the capital of Catalonia," the community's statement said, "because until now it has always been a space of tolerance, respect and friendship towards Jews."
Broken ties between Barcelona and Tel Aviv
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, responded to the vandalism by saying that "the irresponsible decision of the mayor of Barcelona to unilaterally sever relations with the State of Israel has put the Jewish community in the city in real danger."
The rabbi was referring to Mayor Ada Colau's February 2023 announcement that Barcelona was severing its twin-city relationship with Tel Aviv, claiming that Israel is guilty of “apartheid,” as well as “flagrant and systematic violation of human rights.”
Barcelona and Tel Aviv entered the relationship in 1998 — when both cities jointly signed a “twin city” agreement with Gaza City. Colau’s decision comes less than a year after Barcelona launched two linked campaigns — “Shalom Barcelona” and “Barcelona Connects Israel” to appeal to Jewish and Israeli tourists interested in exploring their heritage. Last summer, the city opened up the world’s first Michelin-starred kosher restaurant.
The decision also came less than a year after Barcelona suspended a twinning relationship with St. Petersburg in protest of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Zvika Klein and Jackie Hajdenberg (JTA) contributed to this report.