We are Jews from Catalonia, Spanish citizens, respectful of the institutions and laws that protect our country, Spain, and that guarantee that we live our lives as Jews in peace and security.
Some of us are descendants of those who never renounced their ancient Sephardic identity (Spanish); others are Ashkenazis, and many of us form families that mix both these great branches of Judaism. Also a part of us are those who stayed in Spain and today return to the Jewish people or those who decide to become one of us out of conviction. And we have many friends who, without being Jewish, sympathise with us and support us.
Some of us are more observant, and others are less. We belong to Orthodox, Conservative and Reform communities, or without being affiliated to them, we are united by the strong Jewish identity, our love of Catalonia and Spain, our deep bond with Israel and our loyalty to the Kingdom of Spain and its Constitutional Monarchy.
Since a century ago we Jews returned to Spain and to Barcelona we have experienced difficulties and good times, and also we have contributed to building our democratic coexistence and our system of rights, liberties and guarantees. Our home is here.
We believe that the majority of Jews in Catalonia share our values, as do the majority of Catalonian citizens. We think that to separate a country is to break up a family. And we feel a deep proximity with the rest of the Jews in Spain, the communities that represent them and the union with the unbreakable historical, emotional and cultural bonds that are part of the legacy of Sepharad and Judaism.
Despite any pressure, nobody can force us to choose between our shared loyalties: neither between Spain and Israel, nor between Spain and Catalonia. We Jews have lived for millennia with polyhedral identities and we reject that they be miniaturised, because not only are they not incompatible or conflicting, but they define and enrich us.
We know that there are “noisy” minorities that pretend to speak for the “Jews of Catalonia”; nothing further from the truth: nobody can speak in the name of all of us. Those who sometimes may have more repercussion are not necessarily the ones that best represent the majority.
On the other hand, we are fully aware that the Jewish State is a loyal ally of Spain, and we firmly reject malicious intoxications from those who want to associate it with any position that violates international law. It is clearly evident that Israel respects the constitutional solidity of Spain, while favouring and promoting stability in Europe and the Mediterranean.
We pro-Israeli Catalonian Jews strongly reject any comparison between Zionism, the millenary aspiration of a people to return to their ancestral land returning from the diaspora and reestablishing their state, and the Catalonian separatist nationalism. We respect the Catalanism ideologies and sentiments, but we are deeply upset that they be promoted by false equivalences.
It is essential to remember that the birth of the State of Israel was approved by the United Nations, with the consensus of the great powers and a qualified majority of countries who paved the way to the creation of a Jewish national home that put an end to the British colonial domination. Israel was not founded on the basis of confronting Jews against Jews, but by a unanimous sentiment and consensus, with no exclusions.
As Jews, it hurts us and worries us to see in this land anti-democratic behaviours that not only go against the rule of law and violate the Constitution, but also despise and harass those who disagree with an excluding gesture.
Catalonia is legally part of Spain and its citizens enjoy full rights and obligations. We the Jews of Catalonia must respect the legal framework of the Spanish Constitution and the Statute of Catalonia. Nobody can decide for a part of Spain without counting on the rest, nor act with impunity against the rules that regulate our coexistence.
We know that by respecting the Constitution of our country we loyally honour the Jewish law and tradition that obliges us to act in accordance with the rules and legitimate authority of the Nation. We are loyal to our legacy and thankful to the country to which we returned, the land that received our ancestors and in which we live and that has allowed us to prosper.
History teaches us that extremisms, civil war processes, anarchy and misgovernment usually end up with the Jews as propitiatory victims. Today, the secessionists have prominently among their numbers groups that combine that lack of moderation and respect with clearly anti-Semite ideologies masked as anti-Israeli positions.
In these moments of unease we offer a reference to the Jews in Catalonia who share our feelings but who have not been offered channels of expression, and at the same time we expose to the public opinion of Catalonia, of Spain and of the world the real voice of the majority of Jews who live here: Jews who are simultaneously and without conflict good Catalonians and loyal Spaniards.