The Rediscovered Jews of Xueta Island

In 2014, Dani Rotstein accepted a video-production gig in Majorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean. While there, he stumbled across a very small but active synagogue. As Bernard Starr recounts from an interview with Rotstein, “That’s when Rotstein first heard the word ‘Xueta,’ (pronounced ‘cheweta’), which is the name given to descendants of Jews murdered during the Spanish Inquisition.” The discovery prompted Rotstein to delve into the tragic history of Majorca’s Jews and devote himself to renewing Jewish life on the island; his story is now the subject of his new documentary, Xueta Island.

Rotstein learned that in 1435, after the earlier massacre of 300 Jews, Majorca’s entire Jewish community was forced to convert to Catholicism or face public trials and execution. The Inquisitors subjected any Jew suspected of being a pretend Christian to imprisonment, torture, and even execution.

As further punishment, the family names of Jews executed during the Inquisition, from 1645 onward, were posted in a prominent church (the Santo Domingo Convent). Thus Xuetes—descendants with the same family names—would be demonized, shamed, and shunned for generations. Most were then only able to marry within the Xueta community.

After the forced conversions and executions, Judaism appeared to be gone from Majorca forever. But miraculously, as with other attempted genocides of Jews throughout history, the obituary of Judaism in Majorca proved to be premature. Ironically, the very posting of the family names of the murdered Jews became the vehicle for the revival of Judaism by modern-day descendants. A surprising number have acknowledged their connection to Judaism, and some have converted (or returned) to fully embrace Judaism.

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: anti-Semitsm, Marranos, Sephardim, Spanish Inquisition

Using the Power of the Law to Fight Anti-Semitism

Examining carefully the problem of anti-Semitism, and sympathy with jihadists, at American universities, Danielle Pletka addresses the very difficult problem of what can be done about it. Pletka avoids such simplistic answers as calling for more education and turns instead to a more promising tool: law. The complex networks of organizations funding and helping to organize campus protests are often connected to malicious states like Qatar, and to U.S.-designated terrorist groups. Thus, without broaching complex questions of freedom of speech, state and federal governments already have ample justifications to crack down. Pletka also suggests various ways existing legal frameworks can be strengthened.

And that’s not all:

What is Congress’s ultimate leverage? Federal funding. Institutions of higher education in the United States will receive north of $200 billion from the federal government in 2024.

[In addition], it is critical to understand that foreign funders have been allowed, more or less, to turn U.S. institutions of higher education into political fiefdoms, with their leaders and faculty serving as spokesmen for foreign interests. Under U.S. law currently, those who enter into contracts or receive funding to advocate for the interest of a foreign government are required to register with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This requirement is embedded in a criminal statute, and a violation risks jail time. There is no reason compliance by American educational institutions with disclosure laws should not be subject to similar criminal penalties.

Read more at Commentary

More about: American law, Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus