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April 27, 2023 3:30 pm

Catalan Leaders Condemned for Lack of Solidarity After Second Synagogue in Barcelona Vandalized With ‘Free Palestine’

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The vandalized entrance to the Chabad synagogue in Barcelona. Photo: Courtesy of European Jewish Congress

Jewish groups in the Spanish province of Catalunya have forthrightly condemned local political leaders, among them the mayor of Barcelona, for their silence in the wake of the vandalism of a second synagogue in less than a fortnight.

A joint statement from the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain (FCJE) and the Jewish Community in Barcelona (CIB) noted the lack of solidarity from Ada Colau, the Mayor of Barcelona, as well as Pere Aragonès, the president of the Catalan government, and Alba Vergès, the vice-president of the Catalan parliament. None of the three leaders “have expressed any condemnation against these attacks, nor have they sent us their solidarity,” the statement declared.

A synagogue in the Catalan capital run by the Chabad movement was defaced with pro-Palestinian graffiti on Wednesday. The slogan “Because you kill in Palestine” was sprayed in large black letters on the sidewalk at the entrance to the synagogue.

Earlier this month, Barcelona’s historic Maimonides Synagogue was vandalized with the slogans “Free Palestine from the River to the Sea” and “Solidarity with the Palestinian People” painted in large red letters on the synagogue’s outer wall. The burst of anti-Zionist agitation in the city quickly followed Colau’s announcement in February that Barcelona was suspending ties with Israel in protest at what she termed its “apartheid” policies. In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, she said that the suspension would remain in place “until the Israeli authorities put an end to the system of violations of the Palestinian people and fully comply with the obligations imposed on them by international law and the various United Nations resolutions.”

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“Attacking places of prayer for Jews in Barcelona is a clear case of antisemitism,” the statement issued following Wednesday’s incident asserted. Both Jewish groups stated their “deep concern about the growing antisemitism we detect in Catalunya.”

The Israeli Embassy in Madrid also condemned the vandalism. In a statement, the embassy said that it “joins the indignation of the Jewish community at the worrying proliferation of antisemitic acts of vandalism in Barcelona.”

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