Barcelona court scraps suburb’s BDS resolution


(JTA) — A Barcelona court nullified a resolution endorsing a boycott of Israel that a suburb of that Spanish city had passed illegally earlier this year.

The Administrative Appeals Court No. 3 last month scrapped the motion passed in March by the municipality of Sant Adrià de Besòs on the grounds that it was unconstitutional, according to a statement published Friday by ACOM, the pro-Israel group that initiated the judicial review.

In the ruling, which was made public this week, the court said that the municipality’s adoption of a resolution that declared it “an Israeli apartheid-free space” and part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel was discriminatory and “establishes unconstitutional limitations of academic liberty,” free speech and commerce, ACOM said.

Over the past year, Spanish tribunals have issued several rulings against BDS initiatives in Spain, where in recent years about 50 municipalities endorsed BDS – the highest number of any European country. Promoting BDS is illegal in France, where doing so is considered a form of incitement. Britain’s government said it was considering similar legislation.

In an interview Friday, Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, who earlier this month met with Spain’s King Felipe VI in Madrid, said he believed that the popularity of anti-Israel sentiments in Spain and elsewhere in Europe was diminishing amid the rise of Islamist terrorism.

“Anti-Israel sentiment in Europe is a problem that I believe is diminishing with the changes we see unfolding, as Islamist terrorism is gaining strength, as every capital in Europe becomes a potential target for terrorism. I think European leaders are increasingly seeing eye to eye with Israeli leaders,” Goldschmidt said.

Goldschmidt visited Spain on Dec. 13 to present the king with his organization’s Lord Jakobovits Prize for European Jewry in recognition of Spain’s outreach to Jews in recent years.

Approximately 5,000 people have become citizens of Spain or Portugal following the passing of laws in both countries on the naturalization of descendants of Sephardic Jews.

Spain has naturalized more than 4,500 applicants for citizenship by Sephardim since its law went into effect last year, shortly after the going into effect of the Portuguese one.

In both countries, the passing of the laws of return for Sephardim was described as an attempt to atone for the state and church-led mass expulsion, dispossession, torture and forced conversion into Christianity of Jews during the Inquisition — a period that began in the 15th century and ended with the disappearance and dispersion of what used to be one of the world’s largest Jewish communities.

On Monday, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of Portugal visited Lisbon’s Shaare Tikva synagogue, the Lusa news agency reported.

“One cannot express enough gratitude to this heritage, which has enriched us in the past and had a major role in shaping our identity,” the president said in reference to Judaism.

Recommended from JTA