The most interesting thing I have read in years about anti-Semitism is in the Wall Street Journal today. A poll in Europe indicates that 50% of Spaniards have a somewhat unfavorable, or a very unfavorable impression of Jews. The percentage in Germany is 25, in France it’s 20, in the UK, it’s 10. There are large number so Jews in France and in the UK.
What makes Spanish anti-Antisemitism interesting is that there are no Jews to speak off in Spain. All Spanish Jews were expelled from the country in 1492. The bulk of those who did not die in the expulsion went to the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire were they were welcomed by the Sultan. Others scattered around Muslim North Africa and Italy. Until WWII, many Turkish and Balkans Jews spoke 15th century Spanish. I knew a Spanish-speaking Turkish Jew at Stanford in the sixties myself. His last name was Cardona.
Between 1939 and the 1970s, the Fascist regime of Francisco Franco promoted a brand of Catholicism that was unfriendly to Jews, as “Christ killers.” For most of the intervening period the Inquisition promised to make life miserable enough for Jews that they did not come back.
So, here you go: The ultimate judgment on the rationality of anti-Antisemitism: The less the chance that you ever met a Jew, the more likely you dislike Jews. At least, that’s true in Europe. Continue reading