'[I]n recent years, Spain has focused its efforts primarily in the direction of tourism and commerce, such as encouraging the creation of a network of “Juderias,” or Jewish quarters, throughout the country to appeal to Jewish tourists.
And there is no doubt that an economic rationale also lies behind the new law on citizenship.
Spain has suffered enormously since the global financial crisis hit in 2008. Its current unemployment rate is 25 percent, a growing number of young people are emigrating and the country endured a double-dip recession from which it is only now beginning to emerge.
The prospect of forging anew a link with potentially millions of people of Sephardi ancestry, and the possible windfall that might ensue as a result of increased investment and tourism, was surely not lost on the decision-makers in Madrid when considering the citizenship bill.
And that, of course, is what makes this development so decidedly ironic: the Expulsion happened in part because Spain wanted the Jews’ assets, and now they are welcoming Jews back for the same reason.
Nonetheless, regardless of their motivations, the governments in Madrid and Lisbon are to be commended for the gesture. These are historic moves, signifying that tangible steps are at last being taken to address the injustices that were perpetrated on Iberian Jewry in the 15th century.
Coming at a time of rising anti-Semitism across Europe, it is refreshing to see European states making an effort to welcome Jews so openly.
This sends a strong signal to other countries on the continent, and underlines how Europe’s historical connection with the Jewish people truly does stretch back over the centuries....' [Emphasis added]Portugal, which expelled its Jews in 1497, has a similar law to the one Spain has introduced, and the prospect of acquiring Iberian citizenship is reportedly proving irresistible to many Sephardim, including Israelis and yordim (a fact which has not been lost on anti-Israel fanatics on social media, who envisage a mass exodus of people of such a background out of the Zionist Entity).
It's entirely natural that people whose ancestors left the Iberian peninsula under terrible duress should welcome the posthumous defeat for Ferdinand and Isabella that the legislation provides.
But if such people expect to re-enter a Golden Age for Iberian Jewry such as existed in medieval Spain pre-Expulsion they may be disappointed. For not every Spaniard is a Jose Maria Aznar, that staunch friend of Israel and Jewry, as this report on antisemitism in Spain indicates. (For Portugal see here)
Meanwhile, Spanish Muslim voices, claiming that the new legislation in favour of Jews is discriminatory, are demanding a comparable right of return, and they have their supporters.
'Spanish Muslims are urging their government to grant citizenship to descendants of Muslims who were expelled from Spain, following a bill granting that right to Jews whose ancestors were forced to leave during the Inquisition.
The demand was made this week in a statement by the Association for Historical Legacy of Al-Andalus, the Spanish news agency EFE reported on February 17.
“The Spanish state should grant the same rights to all those who were expelled, otherwise their decision is selective, if not racist,” Bayi Loubaris, the association’s president, told EFE.
The association named several families currently residing in North Africa as candidates for receiving Spanish citizenship.
Several other prominent Muslims and legal experts accused the Spanish government of pursuing a double standard following the approval on February 10 of a bill proposing to naturalize descendants of Sephardic Jews, which the governments said was to atone for the expulsions 500 years ago....
“Recognition of the Sephardic community is symbolic, necessary and just. The same applies to those who have kept their Andalus-Moorish identity in exile,” Manuel Antonio Rodríguez, a professor of law at the University of Cordoba, told the El Confidencial daily on Sunday.
In 2006, the United Left party in the parliament of the autonomous Spanish region of Andalusia submitted a bill which proposed recognizing the rights of descendants of Muslims who were expelled but the bill never made it to a vote.'
'Portuguese lawmakers who drafted the country’s law on Sephardic Jews rejected calls to naturalize the descendants of Muslims who were expelled, citing the fact that the expulsion of the Muslims was part of a war to end the occupation of Spain by North African invaders.
“Persecution of Jews was just that, while what happened with the Arabs was part of a conflict,” Jose Ribeiro e Castro, a Spanish lawmaker who drafted Portugal’s law of return, said. ”There’s no basis for comparison.”As for Spain, read this and meditate ...