Israeli orchestra disinvited from Spanish city


(JTA) — A Spanish municipality disinvited an Israeli orchestra and ballet group from its autumn cultural program.

Oviedo, saying “Israeli organizations are not wanted” in its premises, canceled the participation of the Netanya Chamber Orchestra and the ballet group last week, the news site IsraelValley reported.

In 2016, an administrative court in the northern Spanish city ruled that a motion in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS, against Israel that was passed early that year by the City Council of Langreo, also in the north, was discriminatory and must be scrapped.

Last month, the City Council of Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city, passed a motion declaring a boycott of Israel and Valencia a “Israeli apartheid-free zone.” A local fraction of the far-left Podemos, Spain’s third-largest party, promoted the motion.

Last week, the leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias Turrión called the Jewish state a “criminal country” during an interview aired by the public television broadcaster RTVE.

“We need to act more firmly on an illegal country like Israel,” said Iglesias Turrión, whose party in 2015 won 20 percent of the votes in the general election just one year after its creation.

Podemos has called for a blanket boycott of Israel and accused its government many times of pursuing apartheid-like policies. However, calling Israel’s existence illegal is a new development.

ACOM, a Spanish pro-Israel group, said it has initiated legal proceedings against Valencia over its vote to join BDS. In recent years, ACOM actions have led to the scrapping, annulment or suspension of 24 motions to boycott Israel by Spanish municipalities.

Tribunals in Spain, including the nation’s Supreme Court in two of its rulings, have voided a total of 16 boycott motions passed by municipalities. Another seven municipalities voluntarily scrapped their boycott motions under threat of legal action by ACOM. One municipality’s boycott motion was suspended by a court injunction.

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