Amid judicial crackdown, BDS motions scrapped in 4 Spanish cities


(JTA) — Following legal action by supporters of Israel, four Spanish municipalities dropped their former policy of support for boycotts of the Jewish state.

Occurring amid an unprecedented judicial crackdown in Spain against the phenomenon, three of the four reversals last month came following court-issued injunctions that suspended municipal motions passed in support of a boycott, ACOM, a Madrid-based pro-Israel group, wrote in a statement last week.

The fourth municipality, Sant Sadurnì d’Anoià, a town of 12,000 residents in Catalonia, voided its own motion in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement following ACOM’s threat to sue.

Two of the rulings came on May 31, when the 3rd and 4th Administrative Courts of Barcelona nullified the BDS policies of the Catalan cities of Sant Adria de Besòs and Sant Quirze del Vallès, respectively, which have a combined population of approximately 55,000.

Earlier last month, an administrative court in Oviedo ruled that a motion in support of the BDS movement passed in January by the City Council of Langreo in Spain’s north was discriminatory and must be scrapped.

Also in May, the Ministerio Fiscal, an advisory judicial authority charged with guaranteeing equality in the judiciary, recommended scrapping the BDS motion passed in the northern municipality of Gijon for declaring itself “a space free of Israeli apartheid.” The Ministerio, which is a constitutional court, cited anti-discrimination laws in its ruling on Gijon.

The anti-BDS rulings are a recent development in Spain, which has for many years been seen as a hub of anti-Israeli lobbying in Europe.

In parallel to these rulings, motions proposing to adopt BDS policies have failed in five Spanish municipalities in recent months. Another three municipalities nonetheless passed BDS motions — ACOM has vowed to defeat them in court.

Spain’s government has repeatedly expressed its opposition to BDS, which is illegal in neighboring France because it is deemed discriminatory. Britain’s ruling party is formulating similar legislation, officials said earlier this year.

Spain has recently taken actions that angered BDS promoters, including a January offer of $107,000 in compensation for damages caused to an Israeli West Bank university due to its exclusion from a scientific competition for political reasons.

Unlike the parliaments of Britain, France and other European countries, which have pledged unconditional support for Palestinian statehood, Spain’s Congress in 2014 passed a nonbinding motion saying it would only support a Palestinian state reached by a peace agreement through talks with Israel – language that was hailed as a diplomatic victory for Israel and its supporters.

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