Sefarad and the Construction of the Spanish State and Legal System

Portada del libro "Españoles sin Patria". An important book by Angel Pulido expressing the main ideas of "Filosefardismo", the intellectual discourse (re-) constructing the identiy of Sephardim and the history of their presence in the Iberian Peninsula".

"Españoles sin Patria" (1905).  An important book by Angel Pulido expressing the main ideas of "Filosefardismo", the intellectual discourse (re-) constructing the identiy of Sephardim and the history of their presence in the Iberian Peninsula". https://archive.org/details/espanolessinpat00puli

 

Alfons Aragoneses

 

The references to Sefarad and to Sephardic Jews in legal and political discourses in contemporary Spain are surprising since there were no Jews in Spain since 1492. But actually in the Nation-building process in Spain the invention or reconstruction of “convivencia” and Sefarad played an important role. References to the years of living together of the three cultures and the Golden Age of Jewish Spain were used by the liberals to legitimize their ideas in opposition to those of the conservatives. The liberal Spain was following the spirit of “convivencia” and conservative Spain was considered the heirs of the dark Spain.

 

Bill nº 12/2015 granting the Spanish Citizenship to Sephardim of Spanish origin (25th April 2015).
 

 

The colonization of Morocco and the interest in penetrating the Ottoman Empire fueled these philo-sephardic discourses as a tool for legitimizing the Spanish presence in those areas once Spain lost Cuba and Puerto Rico. Spain was considered more legitimized and prepared to colonize Morocco because of its experience in dealing with diversity. “Filosefardismo” was compatible with the existence of an open anti-Semitism that exploded during the II Republic and Francoism. In my presentation I will contextualize the origin of “Filosefardismo” and the discourses about “convivencia” in Spain at the ends of 19th Century. I will describe the use of “filosefardismo” in legal and political discourses in 19th and 20th Century and its revival today.