December 30: The Granada Massacre

A Muslim mob stormed the royal palace in Granada, Spain on this date in 1066, crucified Joseph ibn Naghrela, the Jewish vizier to the Berber king, and massacred more than a thousand Jewish families. According to the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, “Arabic chroniclers relate that [the vizier] believed neither in the faith of his fathers nor in any other faith,” and that he “controlled” the King and “surrounded him with spies.” The most bitter of his enemies was Abu Ishaq of Elvira, who wrote a maliciously anti-Semitic poem that helped spark the pogrom. Joseph’s father Samuel was a Talmudic scholar, grammarian, philologist, poet, warrior, and statesman who died ten years before the massacre. Among the Jews who fled the Iberian Peninsula after the massacre were the famed Bible commentators Abraham Ibn Ezra and Rabbi Yosef Karo (author of the Shulchan Aruch).

“Do not consider it a breach of faith to kill them, the breach of faith would be to let them carry on. They have violated our covenant with them, so how can you be held guilty against the violators? How can they have any pact when we are obscure and they are prominent?” — Abu Ishaq, poem, 1066

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Comments (5)

  1. I had always thought that Spain in the Middle Ages, before the Christians had reconquered the country, was a tolerant place for its time–where Jews, Christians and Muslims could live together in peace. Live and learn.

  2. A gut morgn! Sholem Aleichem!

    It ain’t over by a long shot, George: read history please. Jews at best were tolerated as dhimmis and slaves.

    I’ll say it again for di mentschen: al-wala’ w’al–bara’ , the daily Fatiha prayers (we are the cursed ones – the Jews and others who have not accepted allah).;, it goes on and on and on.

    Let’s get past the “pc” stuff: check this site: , ignore the emotion and look at the source material, five translations (officially accepted ones by Shia and Sunni alike) and read, – the data and facts are undeniable (if you read Arabic, all the better!) – draw your own conclusions.

    and George: the RamBam was moslem, don’t you know?

  3. As usual, I’m a year late with my nitpicking. The reproduction of the painting that comes with this account of the massacre in Granada is actually a depiction of the massacre of the “Holy Innocents,” all the male infants under a year old who were, according to Christian scripture, slaughtered by order of King Herod, who was trying to kill the infant Jesus, lest that infant become the “king of the Jews” that the Wise Men and others had sought. (No historical evidence for this massacre, as far as I know.) There are a number of depictions of this story by many artists–don’t know who this one is. But I leave it to the reader (and Larry) to determine whether this choice of an illustration is apt or not. (By the way, Holy Innocents Day in the RC calendar of saints is Dec. 28, just 2 days ago.)

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