Jewish groups around the world have raised urgent queries after a Spanish state prosecutor said incitement to hatred against Nazis can be considered a hate crime.
The US-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre was among the organisation to take issue with the prosecutor’s circular, describing it as “a sick joke, a slap in the face of Holocaust survivors, like the claim that the Nazis could never forgive Jews for forcing them to build Auschwitz”.
The Centre’s director for international relations Dr Shimon Samuels wrote to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, as academics asked: “Should we expect the imprisonment of Auschwitz survivors for having incited hatred of the Nazis?”
The circular read: “The origin of the hate crime is related to the protection of vulnerable communities… An aggression against a person of Nazi ideology or incitement to hatred towards such a group can be included in this type of crime.”
Circulars are produced by the State Prosecutor’s Office and are designed to help interpret the law, but this one left Spanish professors asking whether – by the same token – it would be a hate crime to incite against ISIS “or those whose ideology defends the murder of so-called inferior races”.