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On Catalonia, Jewish umbrella group opposes independence

Independence supporters gather in Barcelona, Oct. 30, 2017. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty)

Independence supporters gather in Barcelona, Oct. 30, 2017. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty)

BARCELONA — Breaking with its policy of neutrality on Catalan independence, the main umbrella group of Spanish Jews blamed separatists for the kingdom’s crisis and declared allegiance to the constitution.

The Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain, or FCJE, did this in a statement on Oct. 27, released hours after Catalan lawmakers voted to declare independence from Spain, as Madrid vowed in turn to “restore legality” and quash the region’s secessionist bid.

Expressing “deep concern over the grave national crisis,” the federation stated this crisis was “caused by the unilateral declaration of independence” of the regional government of Catalonia through its parliament.

The Madrid-based federation’s statement notwithstanding, the Jews of Catalonia, who, according to the European Jewish Congress make up a third of Spain’s total Jewish population of 45,000, are deeply divided on the issue of independence, according to Victor Sorenssen, the leader of the Jewish community of Barcelona, which is the capital of Catalonia.

Jews of Catalonia, an anti-secessionist group, last week lauded the Madrid-based federation for its “important” message, as they called it on Twitter.

But a spokesperson for the pro-independence group “Jews for Independence” told JTA the FCJE does not represents the various opinions of Jews in Catalonia and elsewhere in Spain on this issue.


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