Spain: Court suspends anti-Israel boycott motion in Seville

Another victory was scored against BDS in Spain, with a court ruling that boycott resolutions are discriminatory and illegal. 

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

A Spanish court has dealt another legal blow to the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement operating in the country.

A district court in Seville issued a writ of interim injunction last week against the City Council of La Roda de Andalucia, halting its boycott of Israeli products as well as its decision to support the BDS campaign.

This ruling hands the BDS campaign in La Roda, whose Council was the first in the world to join the boycott, “a serious loss and paves the way for further legal action against the enforcement of BDS policies,” the Lawfare Project, which conducted the legal battle, said.

In his ruling, Judge Luis Alfredo de Diego Díez stated that the City Council had exceeded its power in public procurement by committing to the boycott and that their action had constituted a de facto veto that discriminated not only in the area of public procurement, but also in every area relating to Israel.

According to the Court, the boycott was also in breach of the principle of political neutrality of public offices, whose aim is to further the general interests of the public rather than promoting the ideas of a political faction.

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The City Council of La Roda announced its participation in the BDS campaign in August 2014. Since then, La Roda has been enforcing the boycott by inspecting machine-readable barcodes from every item purchased in public tenders, and returning to its suppliers any product that carried the barcode number 729, the number that denotes Israeli-made products.

The Mayor of La Roda, Fidel Romero, has been a visible proponent of the boycott since it was implemented.

The Lawfare Project’s Spanish counsel, Ignacio Wenley Palacios, who has secured over 40 writs of injunction and decisions against the Spanish boycott campaign, stated that “the fact that groups target Israelis, and ultimately Jews, in the name of spurious arguments on collective rights, with discrimination and blatant breaches of the principle of equality under the law, should concern all of us: Jews and non-Jews alike. This decision shows that we must stand up in defense of the freedoms and liberties of every individual.”

“It is individuals that ought to be protected against the abuses of radical politics, while Mayor Romero should be relieved from his post for clear breaches of the non-discrimination policies that rule government bodies,” he added.

BDS Becoming Isolated and Illegal in Spain

This ruling is the latest in a long list of legal setbacks the BDS has suffered in Spain.

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In July, a court declared support for BDS illegal in the city of Catarroja, whose city council adopted a resolution endorsing BDS in March 2016.

ACOM, a Spanish non-profit that works to combat BDS and which has already succeeded in several court cases against the movement, took legal action against the vote. It presented an administrative appeal in Valencia, which annulled the resolution.

Similarly, in March 2016, the City Council of Teo, a town of 18,500 in northwestern Spain, passed a decision banning the council from signing any form of agreement or contract with Israeli institutions, companies and organizations, or with bodies that are involved or collaborate in any way with Israel.

Earlier in July, Court Number 12 of Santiago de Compostela annulled the boycott. In its ruling, the court said that the city council lacked the ability to pass any resolution that interferes with the conduct of foreign affairs by the Spanish government.

Furthermore, the Court deemed every section of the decision as discriminatory and without any substance in the field of international law.

‘Another Hard Blow’ to Anti-Semitism

ACOM stated that the rulings consisted of “another hard blow to those who promote anti-Semitic hatred and discrimination.”

Over the past two years, pro-Israel activists have obtained tens of rulings and injunctions against the BDS movement in Spain.

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Thanks to ACOM’s legal action, 13 pro-boycott resolutions have been annulled by the courts, including two rulings by High Courts of Justice, while six city councils have revoked similar pro-BDS resolutions after ACOM took legal action.

The BDS movement promotes financial, academic, and cultural boycotts of Israel, against the so-called “Israeli occupation.” Critics say its activities are a modern form of anti-Semitism and that its true objective is to destroy the State of Israel.