Departing Israeli Ambassador Laments “The Hatred and Anti-Semitism of Spanish Society”

Raphael Schultz

Departing Israeli Ambassador Laments “The Hatred and Anti-Semitism of Spanish Society”
Raphael Schutz’s administration in Madrid was dogged by controversies over his defense of the Gaza offensive and the assault on the humanitarian flotilla
El País: El embajador de Israel se despide criticando “el odio y el antisemitismo de la sociedad española”
EFE and El País joint report from Madrid July 16, 2011

El-Israeli Ambassador to Spain Raphael Schutz bid farewell to the post he has occupied the last four years with an address posted on the embassy’s website this Saturday in which he testified that he had experienced “in the flesh the hatred and anti-Semitism that exists in Spanish society.”

Schutz’s administration in Madrid was dogged by controversies, not only for his defense of Israeli operation Cast Lead in Gaza and the construction of a wall between Israel and Palestinian territory but also for his surprising statements, like when he compared the dead in the attack against the flotilla that attempted to run the blockade of the Palestinian coast to victims of a traffic accident. He also had to endure the aggression of right-wing extremists, who in one case insulted him when he attended a football game.

In his farewell message, the diplomat confessed that Israel had passed through some “unpleasant times” during his stay in Spain, to which he arrived in July 2007. He cited the Israeli operation on the border of Gaza in January 2009, which caused about 1300 deaths, the majority Palestinian, and the assault on the Liberty Flotilla at the end of May 2010, in which nine Turkish activists died.

In addition to these two episodes, which provoked the criticism of the Spanish government and protests from citizens’ groups, Schutz lamented the aversion to Israel which he said he had to endure during his years in Spain. “Something else I’m taking with me is the experience of having lived in the flesh some of the hatred and anti-Semitism that exists in Spanish society,” he said.

Schutz added that “despite all this,” he had had “many very positive, warm, and emotional moments” in both his personal and professional life. According to Schutz, there is “potential” in the relationship between the two countries “which is just now lifting off” after 500 years of distancing following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain.

Successor is Bar, a Diplomat Disciplined by Lieberman
Schutz flew to Tel Aviv yesterday after saying farewell to the King, the Prince, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trinidad Jiménez, according to sources in the Israeli embassy in Madrid.

His replacement will be Alón Bar, who is expected to take office August 1. Bar, who already served in the Madrid embassy as numero dos earlier in the last decade, was one of the advisors to ex-Chief of [Israeli] Diplomacy Tzipi Livni between 2006 and 2009 when he served as Director General of the Department of Strategic Affairs.

He was dismissed from his last post by the current chief of foreign affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, after being accused of leaking secrets about Iran to the press, and was subsequently made the foreign office’s Director General of Cultural Relations.

Explore posts in the same categories: Politics, Spain, Translations

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