The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Righting An Historical Wrong Spain to Jews: We Want You Back

Banished from Spain in 1492, Sephardic Jews around the world may finally be seeing some indemnification. A newly proposed bill would make it possible for Jews with Spanish ancestry to acquire a Spanish passport without canceling their current citizenship. Pop the manischewitz! Or the sangria, rather. The Financial Times has the story:

Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, the Spanish justice minister, said the move was an attempt to address the 1492 expulsions, which he described as one of Spain’s “most important historical errors”.

“Now they have an open door to become once again what they should have never stopped being – citizens of Spain,” he added. [...]

Those wishing to obtain Spanish citizenship would be required to prove their status by way of a certificate issued by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain or the rabbinical authority in their home country

Before the 1492 expulsion, an estimated 200,000 Jews made up the Sephardic community in Spain. Today, the 3.5 million who make up the diaspora reside mainly in Israel, with small pockets in Turkey, the United States, Latin America and parts of Europe.

The proposed bill still awaits approval from Spanish parliament before it can come into effect, and even if it does, applicants must apply within two years of its enactment to be eligible for citizenship—a sort of limited-time offer.

Even so, Spain’s decision comes as heartening news. Europe has experienced an alarming amount of anti-semitism in recent years. With bigotry on the rise, it’s good to see the Spanish government making positive moves in the other direction.

Published on February 12, 2014 2:45 pm
  • JordiA

    Sir, I’m afraid Spain has not become a Jew-friendly country from day to night. Spain has been for a very long time the best friend of the Arab world in Europe and they certainly want things to be kept that way. You should see such a move in the current context of Spain. And Catalonia is probably the biggest problem for Madrid right now. Rumours of Israel supporting Catalan independence could be behind this move.

  • Afrayedknot

    Of course they want them back now. Spain’s economy is a mess, unemployment is through the roof and the government has major debts. Why not entice financially successful Jews to come back and share their wealth with the rest of Spain?

    I don’t have Spanish ancestry, but if I did, I’d tell Spain to go pound sand. The Spanish made their bed with their immigrant population, their ridiculous entitlements, and their socialist government. Now let them sleep in it.

    • Freddy Ben-Zeev

      You may be surprised but if you’re Jewish and from any European descent you have a good chance of having some Spanish ancestry (proving it may be tough), as the Spanish Jews spread over the generations to most parts of Europe and got mixed with the other Jews there.

  • TommyTwo

    “Spain to Jews: We Want You Back”

    When I had you to myself, I didn’t want you around
    Oh baby, give me one more chance
    Won’t you please let me back in your heart
    Oh darlin’, I was blind to let you go
    I want you back

    • TommyTwo

      For those interested, a more serious link: From Toledo to
      Jerusalem
      , part history of the (ex-) Sephardic Jews, part
      compilation of their songs.

  • El Gringo

    I suspect the Spanish Inquisition.

    • TommyTwo

      [Fine, I will belatedly take the bait.]

      The Spanish Inquisition? That’s a very odd hypothesis you advance. I feel quite safe in affirming that nobody suspects the Spanish Inquisition.

  • Corlyss

    It’s too late.