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ain%201492%20Christians%20vs%20Arab%20Muslims%20and%20Jews,%20edited%20by%20Mi
chael%20Santomauro.htm

Instauration Magazine
November 1992
Slightly edited by Michael Santomauro
Editorial Director of RePortersNotebook.com
Excerpt:
Inquisition Hype

The chief purpose of the Spanish Inquisition, established in 1480, was to
ensure that Jews did not create a "state within a state." The Inquisition was a
defense of the monarchy and a defense against treason. Many European states
applauded its creation as a needed step to rein in Jewish power. Whatever the
Inquisition was to become once the Jews had gone, it served its primary purpose
in ridding Spain of a hostile force of infiltrators and subversives at a time
when the church and nation were in grave danger. The ferocity of the Spanish
Inquisition may well stem from the fact that it was in large part staffed by
Jewish converts, who amply demonstrated that they had lost none of their innate
venom by switching religions. Jewish converts who fell all over themselves to
prove their loyalty to their new faith were the driving force behind the grim
and fanatical persecution of other Jews. Tomas de Torquemada, the ferocious
inquisitor General, who sent so many of his brethren to the stake, is said to
have been of Jewish descent. No less an authority than Salvador de madariaga,
one of modern Spain's leading intellectuals, holds to the view that the peculiar
intolerance of the Spanish Inquisition can be traced, in part, to the presence
of Jewish converts in its highest ranks. Madariaga, by the way, made up for
this "anti-Semitic" opinion by stating that Columbus was a converso, but not
necessarily a Marrano (pig in Spanish), a derogatory term for a convert who
practiced Judaism secretly. Several Jewish scholars, including the non-scholars
of Time magazine, have accused King Ferdinand of being "part Jewish," though
they never satisfactorily explain where the Jewish genes came from.
To sum up, Spain's expulsion of the Jews was logical, rational and, for the
times, not overly cruel-far less cruel than what modern Jews have done and
continue to do to the Palestinians. The Spanish have no need to apologize for
their actions in freeing their nation from a harmful internal enemy. The Jews
resented their expulsion, as they have resented other forced exoduses in their
history. The truth is, contemporary Jews should not blame Spain for their
ancestors' misfortunes five centuries ago. They need only to look in the mirror.

Start:
Every schoolboy is or should be familiar with the year 1492, the year of the
(re)discovery of the New world by Christopher Columbus, a Genoese in the
service of the Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella. For Spain, 1492 was to
be the most important year in its history, as well as one of the most important
in world history. It was the year the Spanish nation was consolidated, the year
when the splendorous Spanish State took center stage in the political
evolution of the West. In the beginning of the year, on January 2, after a long
siege, the army of the Spanish monarchs marched into the city of Granada, thus
reconquering the last of the real estate seized by the Arabs and moors seven
centuries earlier. Then, on March 31, the Catholic monarchs signed a royal edict
that ordered all Jews in Spain to convert to Christianity or ship out. Five
months later Columbus sailed out of the Spanish port of Palos hoping to discover a
new route to the Indies. His tiny fleet passed boats loaded with Jews
sorrowfully complying with Ferdinand and Isabella's expulsion order.
In this 500th anniversary of Columbus's epochal voyage, much of the
celebration has been marred by media inspired attacks on Spain for her "cruelty"
and "foolishness" in expelling Jews. No one seemed to care what was done to the
Muslims, who were also given the choice of conversion or expulsion a few years
later, just as no one these days seems to care much about what was done to
non-Jews in WWII German and Soviet concentration camps, where the death toll
of Gentiles was probably ten times greater than the number of Jewish fatalities.
Actually, any Jew who converted to Christianity was perfectly free to stay in
Spain. Those who left could take all their earthly possessions with them, except
gold and silver coins and trinkets.

The current media story line is that the Spanish, in a fit of blind religious
fanaticism, cut off their noses to spite their faces by kicking out the
clever and enterprising Jewish community. Having heard these tearful tales over
and over again, history buffs could be forgiven for thinking that only mass
insanity could have led Spaniards to commit such an enormous gaffe. Jews, today's
spin doctors insist, were the cultural and economic backbone of Spain, the most
educated and verbal segment of the population. Only greed, envy, ignorance
and Christian bigotry could possibly explain this act of pure folly. Once again,
a peaceful, unoffending people were driven out into the cold because of the
heartlessness of their wicked neighbors. But that is not the end of the story!
As is almost always the case, there was a price to be paid for persecuting the
Jews. The price for Spain, according to the Jewish version of history, was
its decline and fall, following the loss of so much Jewish brainpower and the
economic and cultural benefits which Spain's rivals, Portugal and Holland,
received from swarms of Jewish refugees.

Per usual, when it comes to Jews, the story they tell is, shall we say, at
variance with the facts. Fourteen hundred and ninety-two was the year Spanish
civilization took off like a rocket. Within a century or two, Cervantes was
writing Don Quixote; Velasquez was painting his incomparable portraits; Caldern
was writing his brilliant plays. It almost seemed as if the presence of the Jews
had kept Spanish culture under wraps and their forced removal unloosed
tremendous bursts of artistic, literary and economic energy. (Might it be possible
that the same unshackling of cultural forces would produce similar results if
the Jews left the U. S.?) In A History of Medieval Spain, Professor Joseph F.
O'Callaghan provides us with perhaps the most scholarly and precise treatment
of Spanish history in the time between the Arab conquest and the moors'
surrender of Granada. Spain had its origins in the Roman Empire. The Roman
provinces in what is now Spain and Portugal furnished the Empire with some of its
greatest emperors. With the fall of Rome, Spain was transformed into a kingdom
of Visigoths, one of the German tribes which had inherited remnants of the Empire.
The Visigothic kings were Christianized and ruled over a population comprised
partly of Nordics and largely of mediterraneans, with a heavy sprinkling of
Jews. Later, when the Arabs imposed Islam on Spain, the composition of the
population was not greatly changed. The overwhelming majority of Arabs and
Spaniards belonged to the Mediterranean race, though Nordic racial traits, such
as fair complexions and blue eyes (Isabella had them), were discernible in the
ruling circles of both peoples. Some Nordic genes had been implanted by the
Vandals who swept through Spain before the Visigoths and fought their way as far
as Tunis in North Africa. Here, it might also be noted, that the Muslim rulers and
caliphs of Spain were not exactly cultural throwbacks. The Alhambra Palace in
Granada is the most beautiful and most graceful pleasure dome to be found on
any continent. In 675 the Muslims launched their first raid on Spain, which
was repulsed by the Visigothic fleet. By 711, the Arabs had conquered North
Africa and were ready to invade Western Europe. In only 21 years they penetrated
as far north as Tours in France before being defeated and thrown back by the
Franks under Charles Martel.

The reasons for the woefully poor showing of the Visigoths vis--vis the Arab
invaders had to do with treason in high places. As O'Callaghan remarks,
"Certainly the Jews and others who had suffered under Visigothic rule welcomed
the invaders as liberators and collaborated with them." As O'Callaghan also points
out, perhaps to avoid endangering his academic standing, the Jewish renegadism
was justified by the "disorder" of the Visigothic Kingdom. The reconquest of
Spain started in the rugged mountains' of Asturias in northern Spain. There a
Visigothic knight, Pelayo, refused to bow down to the Muslims and won the
first battle in a 700-year-war between Islam and Christianity. The Reconquista,
as it is known, was a glorious era in the history of the West. A proud and
fierce people would be tried and tested in a thousand battles. The Jews, as is
their custom, quickly burrowed into the Arab fabric of Spain. Generally
preferring Muslim to Christian overlords, the People of the Book were allowed to
practice their religion without interference and became key elements in Muslim
society. It need hardly be added that the Christians who had suffered from Jewish
moneymen in Visigothic times, came to loathe them more than ever in Muslim
Spain.

By the 11th century the situation in Spain had become fluid, with the
Christians slowly nibbling back parts of their lost lands, while constantly under
the threat of fierce Muslim counterattacks. It is not surprising that the eternal
"middlemen" should rise to the surface in these troubled times. In both the
Muslim and Christian parts of Spain, Jews engaged in all their age-old
occupational specialties: usury, the slave trade, prostitution, tax "farming"
(contracts to collect taxes for the kings and nobles), the law, medicine,
administration and any other type of employment that required little or no physical
labor. Worst of all from the point of view of the pious Christian population, they
were able to infiltrate the church in large numbers. It was this last activity
that led to their downfall. As Muslim power waned, Jews relied more and more
on the expanding Christian kingdoms of Spain to provide them with their
customary perks. Employed by Spanish monarchs in the most sensitive matters
of state, especially in finance, Jews never had it so good since the good old days
of Solomon. The Chosen, however, could not enter the church without converting.
It was not too long before true Christians realized that the Christianity of
most "New Christians" was only skin deep. That converted Jews mocked the
Christian religion, celebrated Jewish feast days, and were slowly and subtly
introducing Talmudic themes into Christian theology were open secrets. It was no
wonder they came to be viewed as a hostile element, busy weakening the Christian
nation in the very face of the Muslim enemy.

High-Octane Religiosity

In the Middle Ages religion was the fault line of the world. In the same way
that the West fought communism in this century, so the Christian West fought
the power of Islam in those crucial years. Religion was central to all aspects
of life, there being no such thing as a secular state. It is a waste of words
to argue that Christian Spain should have made room for Jews and Muslims.
Such an accommodation was quite out of the question in the Age of Faith. When
Spain expelled the Jews, England, France and other European nations had long
since sent them on their way, for approximately the same reasons. The main
difference was that the number of Jews and their influence and affluence in Spain
were vastly greater than elsewhere in Europe. Ironically the European nations that
would later condemn Spain for expelling Jews were the first to voice suspicion of
Spain's "purity" because it had been "defiled" by the presence of so many Jews
 and Muslims. Queen Isabella agreed up to a point. She knew very well that as long
as Jews remained in her kingdom they would constitute a political, cultural,
philosophical and theological fifth column, not to mention a military liability in the
event of a Muslim attempt to retake what they had lost-a scary scenario that was
always a possibility.

Isabella and her husband, Ferdinand, knew in their hearts that only by building
one undivided and indivisible Spain could they carry out the tremendous task they
had set for themselves. They understood what we seem to have forgotten:
You cannot build a nation out of disparate population groups widely separated
by culture and religion. Either Jews and Muslims would leave or renounce
their faith, or Spain, as a united Christian country, would never endure. Although
Jews are not a race, they act like a race and should be treated as one.
Anthropologically speaking, they are various mixtures of the Nordic, Alpine and
Mediterranean races, with a few distinctive facial traits showing up in many of
them. Isabella's relying on religion to define a Jew may have been adequate in
her day, but it would be wide of the mark in 1992. Today, in the U.S. about
70% of Jews are non-religious.

The Jews in the Christian Spain aborning were not fools. They were quite
aware that popular sentiment was rising against them. Fighting back in any way
they could, they bribed powerful and corrupt nobles and worked their way into
high positions in the government and church. All in vain. In 1391 massive
anti-Jewish pogroms broke out across Spain. In that year, thousands of Jews
were killed in Aragon and Castile. In the words of O'Callaghan:
Hostility towards the Jews had often been manifested in the past, chiefly
because of their involvement in money-lending and tax-farming. Complaints
about Jewish usury and Jewish tax collectors occur again and again in the
records of the Cones [the Spanish parliament or assembly] . . . . Though the
Crown usually promised to attend to these complaints, Jews continued to figure
prominently in the management of royal finances. The riots of 1391 spelled the
beginning of the end for Spanish Jewry, although it would still hold on for another
hundred years. The simple truth was that Spain had outgrown Jews, just as it had
outgrown Muslims. The Jews, as stated previously, had no part to play in
Spain's great years, which, some cynics say, is why Spain had its "great years."
The Encyclopaedia Britannica (1963 edition, vol. 2 1, p. 122) adds: "The tide of
national enthusiasm, religious fanaticism and indignation at Jewish financial
operations reached its high-water mark about three months after the fall of
Granada. . . ." Apparently there were early-bird milkens and Boeskys in the
ranks of Spanish Jewry. Professor Philip W. Powell, in his book, The Tree of Hate
(published in 1985) attributes the expulsion of the Jews to a religious conflict between
Judaism and Christianity. He is not afraid to meet the issue of anti-Semitism head on:
'The very misleading term of 'anti-Semitism' is so carelessly, or malevolently, tossed
about these days that it virtually has no meaning except as a convenient rock to hurl
in anger--but, like a rock, it can hurt."

He goes on to say: The Jews'] impassioned opinions hamper the writing of fair
and unbiased accounts of Spain. Jewish emotion, when aroused by historical
memory of [the] Spanish Inquisition and expulsion, exaggerates and distorts, and
certainly gives little shrift to the Spanish side of the story .... Jewish writers are
aided by a popular opinion, much of it created by themselves, which for centuries
has influenced writing upon these themes.
Powell points out that while it is true that all the 165,000 or so Jews who refused to
give up Judaism were expelled in 1492, many more chose to stay and converted.
Those who only converted superficially underwent various forms of capital
punishment. Jews and other writers of anti-Spanish tendencies, have preferred
to focus attention upon these Spanish crimes as a means of demonstrating
Spanish cruelty and bigotry. The usual groundwork for this is a morality of
later centuries applied to 15th and 16th century historical situations, without
that sense of justice so essential to historical interpretations. Or, sometimes more
simply, it may come from the well-known Jewish propensity for cultural replenishment
out of martyrdom. Professor Powell gets to the nitty-gritty in these words: But the
majority of the Spanish people, witnessing [all the] evidence of Jewish-Converso
 influence . . . . and simply the numbers of Jews daily discernible in the population
would, and did, view the situation with antagonism.

Explaining that this antagonism sometimes led to mob attacks on Jews, Powell
dryly adds, "If there was anything uniquely Spanish in all this, it was not
intolerance or bigotry, but rather a notable forbearance in comparison to the
ways the Jewish problem was handled elsewhere in Europe."

Inquisition Hype

The chief purpose of the Spanish Inquisition, established in 1480, was to
ensure that Jews did not create a "state within a state." The Inquisition was a
defense of the monarchy and a defense against treason. Many European states
applauded its creation as a needed step to rein in Jewish power. Whatever the
Inquisition was to become once the Jews had gone, it served its primary purpose
in ridding Spain of a hostile force of infiltrators and subversives at a time
when the church and nation were in grave danger. The ferocity of the Spanish
Inquisition may well stem from the fact that it was in large part staffed by
Jewish converts, who amply demonstrated that they had lost none of their innate
venom by switching religions. Jewish converts who fell all over themselves to
prove their loyalty to their new faith were the driving force behind the grim
and fanatical persecution of other Jews. Tomas de Torquemada, the ferocious
inquisitor General, who sent so many of his brethren to the stake, is said to
have been of Jewish descent. No less an authority than Salvador de madariaga,
one of modern Spain's leading intellectuals, holds to the view that the peculiar
intolerance of the Spanish Inquisition can be traced, in part, to the presence
of Jewish converts in its highest ranks. Madariaga, by the way, made up for
this "anti-Semitic" opinion by stating that Columbus was a converso, but not
necessarily a Marrano (pig in Spanish), a derogatory term for a convert who
practiced Judaism secretly. Several Jewish scholars, including the non-scholars
of Time magazine, have accused King Ferdinand of being "part Jewish," though
they never satisfactorily explain where the Jewish genes came from.

To sum up, Spain's expulsion of the Jews was logical, rational and, for the
times, not overly cruel-far less cruel than what modern Jews have done and
continue to do to the Palestinians. The Spanish have no need to apologize for
their actions in freeing their nation from a harmful internal enemy. The Jews
resented their expulsion, as they have resented other forced exoduses in their
history. The truth is, contemporary Jews should not blame Spain for their
ancestors' misfortunes five centuries ago. They need only to look in the mirror.