Spanish region reportedly adopts Israel boycott


(JTA) — Spain’s Valencia region reportedly adopted a boycott against Israel as its official policy.

A vote on Israel at the Provincial Council of Valencia, a semi-autonomous region with over 250 municipalities and 2.5 million inhabitants, took place during a general assembly on Dec. 29, according to the local faction of the far-left party València en Comú, which submitted the motion with other far-left factions.

“Today the Provincial Council of Valencia declared itself a free space from Israeli apartheid,” a party spokesman wrote on its official Facebook page.

The approved motion, the statement read, was co-written by the local branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, or BDS, and party deputy Roberto Jaramillo Martínez. Boycott promoters celebrated the vote as a major victory.

“It is a grand success for the Palestinian cause,” the statement also read, vowing to “keep on fighting until Palestine is free.” On Twitter, Martinez’s party also said the motion passed “unanimously.” It provided no additional information about the vote.

Attempts to obtain a copy of the resolution, which was not found on the council’s website, did not immediately succeed. Calls and emails to the council were not answered nor returned.

ACOM, a Spanish pro-Israel group that has initiated dozens of court cases against municipalities and other bodies that support BDS, was trying to obtain the precise text of the motion, “which is still unclear,” the group’s president, Angel Mas, told JTA on Friday.

Separately, a Spanish court declared illegal a motion endorsing the boycott of Israel that was adopted in 2015 by the city council of the municipality of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, ACOM said in a statement this week. Ruling last month on a lawsuit filed by ACOM against the municipality, Tribunal 1 of Santiago de Compostela ruled that the municipality had overstepped its jurisdiction in passing the resolution.

ACOM legal action has led to the nullification or repeal of more than a dozen BDS resolutions in recent years in Spain, where more than 50 municipalities have endorsed BDS – more than anywhere else in Europe. Some rulings found BDS unconstitutional and discriminatory. Others nullified BDS motions on technical grounds.

In Santiago de Compostela, the City Council was criticized after local media reported that its BDS motion, which is nonbinding and declarative, may have prompted El Al, the Israeli national airline, to abandon plans to add a flight to the cash-strapped tourist city.

The Galician Association for Friendship with Israel told the La Voz de Galicia daily that in April, El Al opened a flight to Valencia rather than Santiago as a direct result of the boycott motion.

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