“Spanish prosecutor’s Nazi remark is ‘a sick joke, a slap in face of survivors’” reads the title of a piece in Jewish News, Britain’s biggest Jewish newspaper. They explain that Jewish groups around the world have raised urgent queries after the Spanish state prosecutor said incitement to hatred against Nazis can be considered a hate crime.

The Spanish public prosecutor has included neo-Nazis among those vulnerable groups to be protected by hate crime legislation in a circular: “The origin of hate crime relates to the protection of disadvantaged groups, but rather than the vulnerability of the group being an element which is required to be shown in the offence, the legislator, when including it in the penal offence, has assumed this intrinsic vulnerability in the social environment. The ethical value that the victim of the offence may have is not required to be shown either. Therefore, an aggression against a person of Nazi ideology, or the incitement of hate against this group, can be included in this type of crime.”

The prestigious Simon Wiesenthal Center, an entity fighting against Nazism and protecting the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, has sent a protest letter to Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez. The letter was sent on the day that commemorates the 80th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz extermination camp. Shimon Samuels, director of the Wiesenthal Centre, asks president Sánchez: “Should we expect the imprisonment of Auschwitz survivors for having incited hatred of the Nazis?”. He also qüestions whether “hate speech against ISIS, ETA or those ideologies that support extermination of what they consider inferior races” is also to be condemned.

Samuels concludes urging the Spanish government “to take the appropriate measures against those who disrespect the memory and banalize and trivialise Nazi atrocities”.