The 2023 Spanish local elections were held on Sunday, 28 May 2023. The decisions of the politicians who are elected will affect multiple communities, among them the local Jewish communities. What will happen in Barcelona, Spain's second-largest city and Catalonia's capital?
After Barcelona broke its institutional relations with the State of Israel last February, it is time to remember the positions of the different parties in these elections. In this matter, there are few differences between the independentist candidates (from the left or right), the separatist extreme left, and the partner of all of them in the national government and parliament, the socialists.
Despite recent approaches to the Jewish community, the four primary candidates seeking leadership roles in Barcelona's city hall, at the very least, have displayed a long history of silence, if not collusion, in the face of discriminatory acts and statements (boycotts, public events with Palestinian terrorists, financial support of antisemitic organizations), making Barcelona a sad model of European antisemitism with institutional backing and the breeding ground for the proliferation of attacks against Jews.
Together with the denunciations in the media and the resources of the rule of law – even the Supreme Court has condemned the institutional boycotts against Israel – there are other formulas to put the antisemites in front of the mirror. Caricature is one of them.
When the totalitarians are portrayed, their reaction is prohibition and censorship. This is what happened with Action and Communication on the Middle East's (ACOM) recent campaign of active sensitization against antisemitism in Barcelona, launched in parallel with the electoral campaigns. We do not ask for people to vote for anyone; we simply denounce the hasty attempt to whitewash some candidacies, both for public opinion and for the Jewish communities. With four graphic stories, we have reflected the chasm between the official discourses and reality. We try to show what the candidates try to hide – that Barcelona has become a city that is hostile towards Jews.
Although Barcelona's streets have briefly seen the posters, thanks to a brave strategy of "guerrilla marketing," the authorities have acted with particular zeal in removing them. And what is worse: we intended to hire independent public engagement specialists (under the control of the Government of Catalonia, in the hands of the separatist left), but in a sorry mixture of authoritarianism and paternalism, the posters were vetoed, and their modification was suggested. Of course, we did not accept any modifications to the truth.
Against antisemitism, no one should step back.
Angel Mas is the President of Action and Communication on the Middle East (ACOM), a group in Spain fighting against antisemitism and in favor of the relationship between Spain and Israel, on the basis of shared values and common interests.
This op-ed is published in partnership with a coalition of organizations that fight antisemitism across the world. Read the previous article by Efriam Inbar.