Because of the tumult over the WikiLeaks revelations showing how the DNC worked to undermine Bernie Sanders’ candidacy in the Democratic primaries, few people have noticed the controversial guest that Sanders has invited to the Democrats’ convention. The Spanish paper ABC Espana reported on July 22nd that it is Paul Bustinduy the Secretary of International Relations of the Spanish far-left and anti-Semitic political party, Podemos. Although the Party came in third place in the June 26nd Spanish national election, it is a political force to be reckoned with in Spain.
Podemos had joined in an alliance with other, mainly leftist groups in a coalition calling itself United We Can, that became the name in which Podemos ran under. The alliance included the United Left, a political left-wing group whose main component are the members of the old Spanish Communist Party, which on its own has virtually little support in Spain.
Composed of old Communists, Trotskyists, independent revolutionaries, Basque and Catalan nationalists, leftist urban intellectuals and former supporters of the Socialist Party annoyed at what they perceive as its continuing compromises, United We Can models itself on the Marxist Greek party Syiriza which brought the Greek economy to near total collapse.
To call Podemos blatantly anti-Semitic would not be a false accusation. In Madrid the Party’s affiliate is called Ahora Madrid. The head of Madrid’s department of culture, Guiller Zapata, who is a member, tweeted: “ ‘How do you fit five million Jews in a SEAT 600?’[a version of the Fiat car of the same name] Answer: ‘In an ashtray.’” In 2012, he tweeted Israel is “genocidal posing as an advanced democracy” and resembles Assad’s regime in Syria.
Not surprisingly, United Left and Podemos support the international BDS campaign, the anti-Israel flotillas that attempted to sail to Gaza in support of Hamas in its war against Israel, as well as virtually all measures the anti-Israel European left-wing has proposed. Podemos is so anti-Israel, that it defends publication of a notorious anti-Semitic Spanish magazine, El Jueves. An English independent socialist internet magazine, Shiraz Socialist, recently had an article about El Jueves written by Yves Coleman, appropriately titled: “Spanish radical left tolerates anti-Semitism.”
Yves Coleman writes on the website that “Following the publication of anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic cartoons in El Jueves on 10 February 2016, Pablo Iglesias (general secretary of Podemos) and David Fernandez, former member of the CUP in the Catalan Parliament, have, along with other personalities of the ‘political and cultural world,’ signed a petition protesting against any possible complaint which could be filed against the anti-Semitic drawings published by El Jueves.” The magazine, Coleman notes, “likes to play with the stereotypes of the Jew as a schemer, swindler and liar.” They regularly run cartoons of Jews wearing “either payots, long beards, a wide-brimmed hat and a black coat or an IDF military uniform.” One such cartoon, from another Spanish left-wing anti-Semitic group, depicts the “Stay out of Spain, Obama” protest. It shows Obama taking money from the Jews. In the Spanish left, Obama is viewed as an imperialist warmonger.
In another issue, they published the cartoon below about Israel, using the symbols of Hitler’s SS to indicate that Israel is composed of Nazis.
Although Spain is a nation in which few Jews live, it is also the European country in which anti-Semitic views are most widespread. Unfortunately, the magazine’s writers and editors, like Podemos, hold the same anti-Semitic views that exist among the French left, and especially exist in Jeremy Corbyn’s British Labor Party. To be a leftist in Spain, France or Britain, means that you support anti-Semites, condemn Israel and feel comfortable comparing it as a nation to the Nazis.
While here, Mr. Bustinduy plans to meet with activists in the Latino community, trade unionists, and leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement, which itself is anti-Israel. A day before the Convention, on July 24th, he will participate in a left-wing conference at the University of Pennsylvania, called Democracy Rising.
His main purpose, however, is to give his support to Bernie Sanders’ movement, and Sanders’ efforts to force the Democratic Party to move much further to the left than it presently is. Undoubtedly, Bustinduy will complain about the Sanders’ group one big failure, to put an anti-Israel position into the Democratic Party platform.
With most of the media concentrating on reaction to the WikiLeak release, the invitation to Podemos will most likely go unnoticed. Is there anyone in the mainstream media who will ask Sanders why he offered this invitation to a leader of a Spanish anti-Semitic and anti-Israel political party?