Spanish state hires group accused of anti-Semitism to ‘teach against hate’


(JTA) — A regional government in Spain hired an organization that is widely regarded as anti-Semitic to train teachers on how to combat racism.

The group, BDS Pais Valencia, is scheduled to begin the training 20-day seminar on June 8, ACOM, a pro-Israeli organization in Spain, wrote in a statement Wednesday.

The online seminar was listed on the Spanish Education Ministry on April 27 under the title “Solidarity and human rights. Learning to teach against hatred and racism (Judeophobia, Islamophobia, and Palestine-Israel).”

In 2015, BDS Pais Valencia initiated what resulted in the exclusion of the American singer Matisyahu from a music festival.

Matisyahu, who is Jewish but not Israeli, was the only performer to be asked his views of Palestinian statehood by organizers of the Rototom Sunsplash festival in Benicassim, Spain. Amid an international storm of condemnations over what critics said was naked anti-Semitism, the organizers reinvited Matisyahu and apologized for their previous action, which they said was the result of pressure from BDS Pais Valencia.

That group defended its actions by saying that Matisyahu was singled out not because he’s Jewish but because he’s “a Zionist.”

ACOM on Twitter compared the seminar to having “a Nazi lecturing against racism, or a member of the Ku Klux Klan speaking on racial persecution.”

Multiple courts in Spain, including in Valencia, have declared the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS, against Israel as a racist or discriminatory endeavor.

Last year, the lower house of the German parliament, the Bundestag, declared BDS anti-Semitic in a resolution.

Recommended from JTA