Spanish Jews threaten legal action against lawmaker for ‘foreign agent’ comment


(JTA) — Spain’s main Jewish group threatened legal action against a local lawmaker for calling a community leader “a foreign agent.”

Benet Salellas espoused “the most repugnant form of anti-Semitism” and used speech that “is wholly illegitimate in diplomatic discourse,” FCJE said Tuesday in an unusually harshly-worded statement. The group said that unless Salellas apologized and walked back his statements, it would press charges against him for hate speech.

During a May 12 debate in Catalonia’s parliament, Salellas accused Uriel Benguigui, president of the Jewish Community of Barcelona, of being a “foreign agent” and part of a “Zionist lobby,” local media reported.

Salellas — a member of the Popular Unity Candidacy, a left-leaning movement in favor of independence for the Catalonia region — apparently objected to Benguigui’s presence at the meeting of the parliament’s foreign relations committee.

Salellas repeated “the most revolting anti-Semitic clichés that circulated in Europe during its dark days” and “tarnished the parliament’s image,” FCJE said in the statement.

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