“Zapata, due to serve as officer for Culture and Sport, tweets: 'How does one fit 5 million Jews in a [SEAT] 600 car?... In the ashtray!’”

Paris, 15 June 2015

In a letter to Madrid Mayor, Manuela Carmena Castrillo, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that she “was elected on 24 May 2015 on the left-wing factor 'Ahora Madrid' (Madrid Now) and the 'Podemos' (We Can) protest movement.”

Samuels pointed to one of her city councilors, also of 'Ahora Madrid', “Guilermo Zapata, who was due to serve as officer for Culture and Sport, but outrageously tweeted: 'How does one fit 5 million Jews into a [SEAT] 600 car?... In the ashtray!'”

The letter added that “Zappata has, apparently, claimed that he is not an antisemite but 'a defender of Jewish culture', while justifying himself on grounds of his 'black cruel sense of humour'. After several reported examples of recent such remorselessness, no apology can be acceptable.”

The Centre cited “a leader of 'Podemos', Juan Carlos Monedero, who allegedly retorted that Zapata made 'unfortunate comments taken out of context'.”

Samuels also quoted the defeated center-right Partido Popular mayoral candidate, Esperanza Aguirre, who called on Mayor Carmera to 'expel Zapata from your City Council lest you become complicit in his ravings'.”

The letter featured a poll by the daily, La Vanguardia, asking “Do you believe that (Mayor) Carmena should fire Zapata for his political tweets...?” showed 88% in favour.

Samuels viewed this figure as “an encouraging sign that public opinion may realize that the language of fascism and antisemitism threaten the integrity of Spain... Otherwise, the new Parliamentary law granting citizenship to Sefardic Jews as ‘mea culpa’ for their expulsion in 1492 would have been seriously compromised.”

“Madam Mayor, words are inadequate. Our Centre calls for your resignation - together with Zapata and Monedero – to purge 'Ahora Madrid' and 'Podemos' of the pestilence of hate,” concluded Samuels.