Spanish Court Strikes Down Another ‘Discriminatory’ Municipal BDS Pledge
A Spanish court has ruled against a boycott agreement targeting companies with ties to Israel that was previously adopted by the City Council of Santa Cruz de Bezana, the Madrid-based pro-Israel organization ACOM said on Wednesday.
The city hall, located in Spain’s northern Cantabria region, adopted the “Space Free of Israeli Apartheid” (ELAI) pledge — a part of the controversial Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign — on Aug. 11, 2017, after it was presented by the far-left Unidas Podemos alliance.
The motion was supported by the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, the United Left communist party, and the Regionalist Party of Cantabria, according to ACOM. It was opposed by the centrist Citizens party, while the conservative People’s Party abstained.
In its ruling, the Contentious Administrative Court number 1 of Santander said the agreement contained discriminatory elements, exceeded the city council’s “local competency,” and “affects the right to equality reflected in Article 14 of the Spanish Constitution,” ACOM said.
The judgement imposes legal costs that will be shouldered by the city.
This past July, a councilor with the right-wing Vox party — which did not have representation during the 2017 vote — called for the motion’s revocation, saying it displayed an “extremist ideological position” that verged on antisemitism and would be responsible for “unnecessary economic damage.”
The ruling marks the 55th time a BDS-ELAI agreement has been revoked following an intervention by ACOM, the group said. “The annulment of an agreement that diminishes the image of Santa Cruz de Bezana did not prosper through political channels, but now thanks to the courts the town in Cantabria is out of the list of places that boycott Jews,” it added.
A similar boycott pledge enacted by the city hall of Camargo, also in Cantabria, was recently struck down by the same administrative court, which called the boycott “a clear violation of the fundamental rights to equality.”
ACOM has spearheaded efforts to fight the BDS campaign, which seeks to isolate Israel internationally, in Spain through the country’s legal system. A recent event held by the group in Madrid was disrupted by BDS activists who reportedly attempted to physically attack participants.