Thursday, 7 March 2013

Sephardim invited back to Spain

Several friends have sent me the BBC report on Sephardim being invited back to Spain. The official regulation was published by Spain's Los Angeles consulate in December.

The BBC article gets our history wrong, but that's forgiveable. It hugely complex and subtle. It gives a couple of plugs for Doreen Carvajal's new book. All fine.

What irritates me is that the article alleges that we are some sort of historic remnant yearning for Spain. Er, no. This is as silly as suggesting that ethnic English people are pining for the German forests. Spain is part of the European Union. So too Britain, Holland, Greece, France and Italy which all have Sephardic populations. Has there been a stampede? Has ANYONE "returned" to Spain out of historic nostalgia? Not that I know of. 

The journalist found someone in Turkey (outside the EU) who has got a Spanish passport. An anonymous British Sephardic Jew is reported as saying: "I'm still Spanish in my soul and in my heart", which is surprising as (if he exists) his family probably came from Portugal via Amsterdam or Brazil via Barbados.

I think it is kind of sweet - in a ridiculous way - that some people in Spain want to apologise to us for what one group of people did to another several hundred years ago. As a once Visigoth state, no doubt they will also apologise for the destruction of the Western Roman Empire.

I suppose the Spanish government feel it is a nice gesture - which it is. I wonder if they realise that up to 17 million Brazilians have been estimated to be of Sephardic origin, and I would guess millions more in Mexico and Spanish America.