A Palestinian woman outside her destroyed house after an Israeli air strike in Jabalya in northern Gaza. The Israeli embassy in Madrid has complained of antisemitic postcards from Spanish schoolchildren. Photograph: Mohammed Salem/Reuters
Israel has complained to the Spanish authorities after its embassy in Madrid received postcards from nine-year-old schoolchildren accusing it of killing Palestinian babies and waging war for money.
A spokesman accused the Spanish government of allowing state schools to be used to promote hatred of both Jews and Israel in a country it claims already ranks as one of the most antisemitic in Europe.
The complaint came after eight and nine-year-olds from a state primary school in Almoines, near Valencia, sent the Israeli ambassador a series of cards which also suggested Israelis should abandon their country and hand it over to the Palestinians.
“Some had very disturbing messages,” an embassy spokesman said. “They asked things such as: ‘Why do you kill children?’ or said that ‘money is not everything’ and that if someone should leave, it should be the Israelis ‘because it is not your land’.
“These are messages about a political situation that they do not understand. Most of these children probably do not even know where Israel or Palestine are.”
The postcards had gone beyond legitimate debate about Israeli policy and contained racist insults, he added.
“The connection between Jews and money is an old stereotype, and killing babies is also a stereotype that was used in Spain in the dark ages,” he added. “We thought it was part of the past, but obviously it is not.”
Joan Malonda, the head teacher of El Castell primary school in Almoines, today confirmed that the hand-drawn cards had come from his pupils.
He denied the children were being indoctrinated, adding: “A lot of this work was done at home and reflects the atmosphere in their own social environment. They were simply asked to write a postcard on the subject.
“We try to teach the children to have a critical attitude, but we also want them to contrast their criticism against other points of view.”
Malonda, who received the backing of parents when he fought off attempts by local authorities to remove him from his post last year, said he would welcome an approach from the Israeli embassy.
“We haven’t heard back from them,” he said.
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