Inicio NOTICIAS Major victory against BDS as Spanish court bans citywide Israel boycott

Major victory against BDS as Spanish court bans citywide Israel boycott

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Itongadol.- The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement in Spain was dealt a heavy blow this week as a Spanish Court ruled against a citywide boycott of Israel, declaring it null and void.

“For the first time in a court decision, the court said that the BDS declaration in the city was discriminatory, anti-Semitic, broke human rights and needed to be cancelled," Angel Mas, chairman of ACOM, the pro-Israel organization combatting BDS in Spain, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Earlier this year in January, the City Council of Langreo passed a declaration boycotting both Israel and any person or company that might support the Jewish State. The decision proclaimed the city as "Free of Israeli Apartheid" and committed the city and its council to the BDS campaign against Israel.

“This is as far as you get in the 21st century to a ‘Judenfrei’ area," Mas said, equating these tactics with those seen in pre WWII Germany.

ACOM filed a lawsuit against the city council’s actions and for the first time, a court accepted the merits of its case citing that the boycott brings discrimination and it is tantamount to incitement to hate crimes.

Langreo is a town in Northern Spain, whose council is run by Izquierda Unida, the Communist Party and the extreme left-wing party Podemos, a rising political party in Spain, explained Mas.

It is just one of many municipalities in Spain that have in the past year issued a declaration in favor of BDS.

“Historically we have encountered the same BDS as the rest of the world with calls for academic boycotts and the like,” Mas said. “Over the last year and a half there was a tectonic movement in Spain as the far left gained access to public institutions and local government.”

According to Mas, Podemos has been under scrutiny in the media after Spanish police revealed the group is financed by the Venezuelan and the Iranian regimes.

“This context is important because it shows how central the hostility to the State of Israel is to them,” he said. "We saw a sudden increase in the intention and the quality and ambitions of BDS activities in Spain."

Mas said that this external funding has allowed the Podemos party to rise to power gaining control over some 40 localities, including in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, three of the country’s major cities.

“This means access to even more public resources and at that point what we noticed was that the strategy of the BDS campaign changed and stepped up," he said. "This is something we haven\’t seen anywhere else – it is a deliberate and well planned campaign for cities to create an area with ‘Israel Free Apartheid’."

“They are preventing the local council and associated companies to contract, to deal with or to engage with not only persons or enterprises or companies that are Israeli, but also anybody that would have an affiliation with Israel and will not denounce their affiliation,” he said.

As such, ACOM has responded aggressively by presenting lawsuits against every single city council or public institution that has declared a boycott against Israel.

The core argument is one of human rights and constitutional liberty, not to be discriminated against on the basis of faith, religion, race and also on the basis of national origin, Mas explained.

"We have won a number of cases already," he said explaining that a number of city council legal teams have already called to reverse the declaration.

"Around 35-36 cases have been presented so far and we have won 5 or 6," he added. "We think that the tide is changing but it doesn\’t prevent this group from presenting more of these declarations."

Mas said that while ACOM has achieved a number of victories, the BDS efforts have also marked some accomplishments.

"The most important accomplishment they have achieved is that people will refrain from engaging in anything relating to Israel simply because it is too much trouble," he said. "Why should I hire someone with a pro-Israel affiliation or work with an Israeli company when it is too much trouble?"

As such, Mas said the goal is to create a "counter-deterrence" associating these BDS movements with something that is “criminal” and “illegal.”

"We are moving to be proactive, we have educated all the mainstream political groups on the situation and are explaining to them what BDS is and who they really are," he said. "If the declarations happen we take action and every victory is creating a perception that these groups are not who they say they are."

Mass said that despite the victories, the threat of BDS still remains very real. “In the June elections, Podemos can either win the elections or become the main opposition party. We consider this an existential threat to the Jewish community in Spain,” he said.

"We are a small group of activists without much funding in the battle over a big country of Spain – and it is not an easy war," he said.

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