Catalan MEP Clara Ponsatí addressed the full session of the European Parliament for the first time on Tuesday. In the context of the parliament's debate on "the fight against anti-semitism, racism and hatred in Europe", she spoke out about what she described as the "history of intolerance in Spain". Her full one-minute address, in English, is below:
The former Catalan education minister warned that one of the most serious crimes against the Jewish people was committed by Spain's "so-called Catholic Kings" in 1492 when they ordered the expulsion of Jews from Sepharad - the Jewish name for the Iberian peninsula. This "state anti-semitism", said Ponsatí, is part of Spain's "tragic record of intolerance", and was an episode which Adolf Hitler "admired and sought to surpass".
Coming up to date, Ponsatí said that today intolerance in Spain is found in "the contempt for the rights of the Catalan minority" through "lawfare" - that is, repression through the courts - and a context of indulgence of fascism. She contrasted how on the the one hand, the Francisco Franco Foundation remains legal, while on the other, hate crime laws have been used to prosecute Catalan teachers who criticized the violence of the Civil Guard during the 2017 Catalan independence referendum.
Her conclusion: that minorities must be protected by laws from hatred, but "without democratic judges to enforce them, they are useless".