2 Spanish cities forced to reverse anti-Israel boycotts

Facing legal action, two Spanish cities reversed “discriminatory” boycott resolutions targeting Israel.

By: Shiri Moshe, The Algemeiner

Two Spanish cities repealed boycott resolutions targeting Israel this month, according to an advocacy group that has called the measures unconstitutional.

Councillors from Villarrobledo in Castile-La Mancha voted last week to scrap a motion passed in April 2017 that declared the city “free of Israeli apartheid,” and extended support to the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which seeks to redefine Israel “as a pariah state” until it complies with Palestinian demands.

The repeal — supported by the conservative People’s Party (PP) and the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) — came in the wake of a lawsuit filed by the Spanish pro-Israel group ACOM, which warned that the resolution unlawfully discriminated against “any Israeli citizen or company, and any Spanish individual associated with Israel.”

These characterizations were rejected by supporters of the BDS resolution, including councilor Mario de la Ossa from the far-left anti-austerity Podemos party, who first introduced the measure. He was among a group of nine Spanish public officials who traveled to the West Bank last month in a trip organized by the Spanish Network Against the Occupation of Palestine (RESCOP), which sought to bolster support for the BDS’s campaign’s “Spaces Free of Israeli Apartheid” initiative.

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Also this month, the city council of Sagunto in Valencia voted to withdraw a measure passed on June 26 that similarly endorsed BDS and labeled itself “free of Israeli apartheid.”

ACOM previously warned the city — which has sought to promote tourism to its ancient Jewish quarter and cemetery — that the resolution was tantamount to “serious illegal discrimination.”

Led by President Angel Mas, the group says it has so far won 33 cases against BDS in Spanish courts, and lost none. These include two high court rulings in 2016 and 2017, which found that the Palestinian-led movement engages in unconstitutional discrimination.

Nonetheless, several Spanish municipalities passed resolutions targeting Israel this summer.

Mas was sued earlier this year by the Committee for Solidarity with the Arab Cause, which accuses him of inciting hatred and intimidating Spanish municipalities with threats of legal action.