Amparo Rubiales, a Spanish Socialist politician, stepped down from her position on Thursday as the chair of the Andalusia branch of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party following a heated dispute.
The resignation comes after Rubiales made derogatory comments about Elias Bendodo Benasayag, a politician from the center-right Popular Party, calling him a "Nazi Jew."
Rubiales, who served as a congresswoman for the Spanish Socialist Party until 2004, reacted to an interview in which Bendodo stated that "Spain is not strong enough to withstand another five years under Pedro Sanchez."
Jamás debe usarse la religión, origen o etnia de alguien para la crítica política aunque, como en mi caso, la intención fuese señalar una grave incoherencia. Mis disculpas y corrijo:Bendodo es un nazi— Amparo Rubiales (@AmparoRubiales) June 7, 2023
Bendodo, who was born into a Sephardic Jewish family in Malaga, has Moroccan-born Jewish parents and currently serves as a Senator in the Spanish Parliament representing Andalusia.
On Saturday, June 3, Rubiales took to Twitter, stating: "This is really the discourse of a Nazi Jew." After facing criticism for her remarks, she later posted a second tweet, saying, "I have nothing against Jews and everything against Nazis."
Condemning her remarks
The Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, which represents Spanish Jews, strongly condemned Rubiales' statement, labeling it as antisemitic. Thye highlighted that Bendodo's Jewish background was singled out when no other politician was identified by their origin or religion.
The Federation stated that it is intolerable and reprehensible to use an adversary's origin, beliefs, affiliations, or religion for political criticism. They also emphasized that comparing present-day individuals or situations to Nazism trivializes one of the most heinous regimes in history.
In response, Rubiales acknowledged, "Never use someone's religion, origin, or ethnicity for political criticism, even if, as in my case, the intention is to point out a serious inconsistency."
The Andalusia branch deemed Rubiales' remarks "unacceptable" and "objectionable." A spokesperson for the branch clarified that the statements represented her personal opinion and did not reflect the stance of the party.
Rubiales' resignation aims to address the controversy surrounding her comments. The Party has expressed gratitude for her past contributions and labor during her tenure.
Pido sinceras disculpas al Sr. Bendodo en lo q le haya podido molestar. No era esa mi intención. Lo lamento por el daño causado al PSOE de Sevilla, del que era Presidenta. Hoy he renunciado.— Amparo Rubiales (@AmparoRubiales) June 8, 2023
Criticism of Rubiales' remarks has extended beyond her party, with Javier Lamban, the President of Aragon and regional Secretary-General of the Party, stating that he would not hesitate to distance himself from the politician, deeming her words "absolutely unacceptable and reprehensible."
The Popular Party has announced its intention to file a complaint against Amparo Rubiales for a "hate crime" in a Seville court. They assert that such actions cannot be tolerated in Spanish society, which has actively worked to eradicate such attacks. The lawsuit will proceed unless Rubiales issues an apology.