1492 marks the end of the”Reconquista”, with the fall of the last “Moorish” kingdom of Granada. It also marks the end of the historic religious and cultural diversity of the Iberian peninsula, with the unification of Spain by the Catholic Monarchs, who imposed their rule. In 1492 the Jews and the majority of the Muslims were forced to convert or go into exile, and in 1609 the rest of the Muslims suffered the same fate. In addition, 1492 is the date of the so-called”discovery of America,” by which European colonialism would be exported to the New World, with historical consequences of immense proportions.
For Spain itself, the thread of the Inquisition’s “one nation, one religion” was reflected in Francisco Franco’s war against the republic and up until today with the attitude of the central government towards the diversity of peoples and languages present in the Spanish State.
Now, the Popular Party (P.P.) government through the Gallardón intends to grant Spanish nationality to Sephardic Jews, the descendants of those Jews expelled–wherever in the world they are today–as has been done for Filipinos and other people formerly colonized by the Spanish empire.
Is it a gesture of reparation to the Jews who were expelled and dispossessed five centuries ago? Is it the long-awaited recognition of religious, cultural and ethnic diversity of medieval Spain, and its Jewish roots?
If this is the case, then why not extend the same measure to the descendants of those who shared the same fate,the Muslims of Al-Andalus? Some of them converted to Catholicism but others are now scattered from Syria to Mali, retaining some cultural traits, such as the Arab-Andalusian music.
If so, it would signal the birth of a truly pluralistic and open society that has overcome prejudice against religious minorities (the result of five centuries of propaganda of the Catholic Church) and has decided to grant equal rights to all its citizens. It would recognize the diversity of people that make up the Iberian mosaic.
However, we suspect that this action is motivated out of purely economic interests, and through offering repatriation to Sephardic Jews, the government is portraying itself as a”friend of the Jews” in order to garner favors from Israel, because for the Popular Party, Israel and Jews are the same thing.
Indeed, as the citizens of this country know, when the crisis strikes, this government pursues all business opportunities are good, even when they inflict suffering on others, including ones that result in the spilling of human blood, such as the weapons industry.
Moreover, Israel is a country increasingly isolated at an international level that needs to expand the market for their arms and security industry, which could represent up to 20% of their GDP. Israel especially needs to recover its damaged legitimacy, reflected in narrowing trade, academic, scientific and safety links with the European Union,and in particular with the Spanish State, which can serve as a bridge to export to Latin America. This explains the overtures to Israel from both the Spanish central government and the Catalonian government, reflected in the visit of Artur Mas to Israel and the signing of numerous bilateral agreements.
The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) and its members in the Spanish State, some of whom are descendants of the expelled Jews,
– insist that we should not be identified with the State of Israel, a state born of a racist, colonialist and exclusionary ideology: Zionism, which has turned its back on the values of tolerance and humanism that were the values of the Andalusian in the past, in their times of glory.
– urge the Government of Spain to break relations with Israel until it fully recognizes the rights of the Palestinian people according to international law.
– we ask that the rights of the Moorish are equated with those of the Sephardim, to the full recognition of the diversity of the Spanish State, in a gesture of symbolic reparation for damages suffered in the past.
Thus a clear and strong message will be sent to Europe, and to the southern shores of the Mediterranean, to breakdown the walls of discrimination, racism and inequality, making the Spanish State an example worthy of the shining legacy of Al-Andalus.