December 12, 2023
From World Socialist Web Site

Last week, leaders of Spain’s neo-fascist Vox party made a two-day visit to Israel at the invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right Likud party. Vox, a party that has agitated against Muslims for a decade, enthusiastically backed the Israeli-led, NATO-backed genocide against the Palestinian population in Gaza.

Vox is the heir of Francoism, a regime that identified working-class opposition with a “Judaic-Bolshevik conspiracy” and was allied to Hitler’s Nazi Germany that exterminated 6 million Jews. The regime carried out the brutal persecution of socialists, Marxists and anarchists during and after the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), including the mass extra-judicial murder of some 200,000 people in military trials, torture and the systematic abuse of women and children.

VOX far right party leader Santiago Abascal delivers his speech during the closing campaign rally at the Colon square in Madrid, Spain, Friday, July 21, 2023. [AP Photo/ Manu Fernandez]

Vox is stacked with avowed antisemites. In 2021, the president of Vox in Madrid, Rocío Monasterio, was forced to disavow remarks from one of her lawmakers expressing sympathy towards an antisemitic speech delivered by notorious neo-Nazi Isabel Peralta, who declared at a march, “The enemy is always going to be the same albeit wearing different masks: the Jew.”

Vox regularly defends the racist and antisemitic “Great Replacement Theory”, which claims that Jews are orchestrating the replacement of the white population of Europe with people of other races, with Jewish millionaire and financier George Soros targeted as a prime mover. Jorge Buxadé, vice president and one of the main ideologues of Vox, stood twice as an election candidate for the fascist Falange in his early twenties. He openly defends this theory, stating, “There is a real will in Brussels to implement a population replacement in Europe.”

The Vox delegation was led by party leader Santiago Abascal, the grandson of a Francoist mayor. It also included Jorge Martín Frías, director of Vox’s anti-Muslim think tank, Disenso, and Member of the European Parliament Hermann Tertsch, a notorious defender of the Franco regime and son of the Austrian diplomat and journalist Ekkehard Tertsch, who worked with Josef Hans Lazar, press chief in Madrid for the Nazi regime.

The embrace of Zionism and Spanish neo-fascism exposes yet again the nature of the slanderous campaign to equate opposition to Israel and genocide with antisemitism. The aim of the campaign is to curb the democratic rights of workers and youth, who, amid the deepest crisis of world capitalism since the 1930s, are protesting in their millions against the nearly two-month-long US and NATO-backed Israeli genocide in Gaza.

Vox’s delegation, steeped in antisemitism, was visiting Israel to give its seal of approval for the extermination of Muslims by the Israeli regime. Since its creation in 2013, Vox has agitated for discriminatory policies against Muslims, who made up 4 percent of the Spanish population in 2019.

Vox’s campaign slogan during the 2019 national elections was “La Reconquista,” a reference to the historical myth constructed by Spanish nationalism in the 19th century of a national liberation struggle against Muslim invaders culminating in the final Christian victory in 1492, and the expulsion of Muslims and Jews who had been living in the Iberian Peninsula for eight centuries.

“Europe is what it is thanks to Spain—thanks to our contribution, ever since the Middle Ages, of stopping the spread and the expanse of Islam,” declared Iván Espinosa de los Monteros, Vox’s vice secretary of international relations in 2019.

In a television interview in August 2017, Abascal stated, “Vox does not like the way Muslims see the world: the fact that they do not separate religion from politics, the way in which they treat women, how they understand freedom”.

Vox calls for the closure of mosques, the expulsion of imams and exclusion of the teaching of Islam from public schools. It has proposed in parliament to suspend the granting of Spanish nationality and residence permits to people from Muslim countries and to ban the entry into Spain of immigrants from countries with an Islamic culture.

The Vox delegation visited the city of Sderot in Southern Israel and the Nir Oz kibbutz attacked during the Palestinian uprising of October 7. Abascal took the opportunity to make statements justifying the Israeli genocide against Gaza that has left at least 18,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, killed in two months and nearly 49,000 wounded, while many corpses are still buried under the rubble.

In a post by Abascal on X/Twitter accompanying propaganda photos of himself wearing a bullet proof vest wandering through a destroyed room at a kibbutz, he wrote, “Finishing off Hamas which embodies absolute evil, is a moral imperative. The government of Israel has our full support, affection and understanding”.

The call to “finish off Hamas” has been the regular propaganda term employed by the imperialist powers and Israel to sanction genocide. It is being deployed to kill and maim thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and to expel all survivors into Egypt’s neighboring Sinai Peninsula, ethnically cleansing the Gaza Strip. Israel repeatedly uses this phrase to systematically target hospitals, schools, UN facilities and other buildings where Palestinians whose homes have been destroyed have sought refuge.

Abascal then attacked the Socialist Party (PSOE)-Sumar government led by prime minister Pedro Sánchez, stating, “The illegal socialist government and Sánchez must apologise to the victims and the Israeli people for questioning the legitimate response of a democratic state to the murderers who kill, torture and behead civilians in their homes; who rape and kidnap women; who kidnap children and the elderly; and who use their own civilian population as human shields”.

Abascal was reproducing Israel’s already largely discredited lies about widespread atrocities on October 7 in his comment on the diplomatic spat between Spain and Israel after Sánchez made minimally critical remarks of Israel’s indiscriminate killings in Gaza. The PSOE-Sumar government spends billions of euros on economic and military collaboration with Israel. Both PSOE-Sumar and Vox support Israel’s intervention in Gaza, asserting Israel’s “right to defence”.

During the visit, Vox delegates met with their fascistic counterparts, Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli, and Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter.

Dichter is a former head of Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, where he played a key role in the Second Intifada honing and escalating the practice of “targeted” assassinations. He was quoted in a Washington Post article as saying, “After each success [targeted assassination], the only thought is, ‘Okay, who’s next?’”. Dichter recently said, “We are now rolling out the Gaza Nakba”—referring to the forcible displacement of the population of Palestine from their lands in 1948. 

Chikli has opposed any concessions to the Palestinians, even targeting the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority which functions as a police force for Israel and its imperialist backers. He said, “I see the Palestinian Authority as a neo-Nazi entity in its essence and outlook,” adding, “It is an enemy that is antisemitic to its core, and we need to examine alternatives.”

After the visit, Chikli said he was “very grateful for Vox’s solidarity,” adding of Vox that “it faces a constant delegitimization campaign”. He said Netanyahu’s government “are no strangers to this, but we are convinced that we will continue working together for freedom of expression, freedom of thought and all the fundamental values of Western civilization.”

The alliance of Vox and the fascist coalition of Likud, Jewish Power, and Religious Zionism in Israel is only a grotesque manifestation of the universal support of the parties of the imperialist bourgeoisies of Europe for the US-NATO backed-and-led Israeli genocide in Gaza. For over three decades since the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the NATO powers have waged endless wars across the Middle East and Africa. The Gaza genocide is part of a new imperialist redivision of the world, which began with the imperialist-provoked war against Russia in Ukraine. War preparations against China are also far advanced. Spain’s parties are united in efforts to secure a share in the spoils of war.

This pitches the ruling class into a frontal conflict with workers and young people at home. Vox’s unalloyed support for the genocide of the Palestinians is both a confirmation of how they would also like to deal with Spain’s Muslim population, and an indication that fascistic state violence is being prepared against the entire working class that must be answered through social revolution and Spanish imperialism’s overthrow.