Spanish pol says BDS law would mean ‘rethink’ of Jewish music fest


(JTA) — A far-left lawmaker from the Spanish city of Cordoba said that a local Jewish music festival would need to be rethought if a motion she had submitted in favor of boycotting Israel passed.

Amparo Pernichi, Cordoba’s alderwoman for landscape and infrastructure, linked Israel to the music festival during a news conference earlier this month, the Spanish news agency Europa Press reported. Following controversy in local media over her statements, the draft motion was rejected by the Cordoba City Council on Nov. 10.

However, a similar motion passed the same day in the northern city of Santiago de Compostela.

At the Nov. 4 news conference Pernichi, who represents the United Left party, was asked whether her draft motion would spell the end of the International Sephardi Music Festival. The festival has been held since 2002 in Cordoba, a city in southern Spain that was a major cultural hub for Jews before their expulsion from Spain in the 15th century.

“If the motion really passes, one would need to rethink it,” Pernichi said.

She later wrote on Twitter that “one needs to separate anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism.”

In the Cordoba City Council vote, only the United Left voted for the motion. Its coalition partner, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, abstained, the ABC News website reported on Nov. 11.

Pernichi’s four-page draft motion calls Israel an apartheid state eight times, proposes to cut all ties with it and establishes Cordoba as “an Israeli-apartheid free space” as “part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement.”

The shorter motion submitted to the council of Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Spanish autonomous region of Galicia, makes one reference to “Israel apartheid” and supports BDS as “a measure to apply pressure to end the increasingly bloody ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.” The motion is nonbinding.

In August, a Spanish music festival’s decision under pressure from groups promoting BDS to withdraw the invitation of American reggae singer Matisyahu, who is Jewish but not Israeli, triggered a wave of condemnations, including by Spain’s government and the European Jewish Congress.

Cordoba is one of the Spanish cities where the municipality and tourism promoters invested millions of dollars in restoring Jewish culture.

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