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June 17, 2022 11:44 am
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‘Shameful:’ Catalan Parliament in Spain Denounces Israel for ‘Crime of Apartheid’

avatar by Ben Cohen

The parliament of the Spanish region of Catalonia in session. Photo: Reuters/Joan Valls

The parliament in the Spanish region of Catalonia has voted in favor of a resolution denouncing Israel as an “apartheid” state and urging international sanctions against Jerusalem, resulting in a furious response from the Israeli ambassador to Madrid.

The resolution, which states that the parliament “publicly recognizes that the system applied by Israel in the Occupied Territories is contrary to international law and is equivalent to the crime of apartheid,” was passed on Thursday evening by the Catalan Legislative Chamber, sparking concerns that other legislatures in Europe may adopt similar positions.

Israel’s Ambassador to Spain, Rodica Radian-Gordon, slammed the parliament for what she called a “shameful” resolution.

“I strongly condemn the shameful resolution approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Catalonia,” Radian-Gordon tweeted. She added that the passage of the resolution was the “result of the anti-Israeli obsession of those who have promoted and approved it.”

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Thursday’s resolution was introduced by two far-left, pro-independence parties in Catalonia, where a referendum on independence in 2017 was declared unconstitutional by the Spanish government, causing a bitter political stalemate.

The two parties — Republican Left and the Popular Unity Candidacy — were backed in tabling the resolution by the Socialist Party and Podemos, another far-left grouping, both of whom participate in the governing coalition of Spain’s Socialist Party Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

One of the deputies who spoke in favor of the resolution, Carles Riera, stated that the “State of Israel has an internationally recognized record of practicing apartheid.” He went on to claim that Israel had supported the former apartheid regime in South Africa — where white citizens who constituted just 10 percent of the population imposed a comprehensive system of racial segregation upon the Black majority — for the purpose of “experimenting with its own apartheid policies.”

Another deputy backing the resolution, Susanna Segovia, urged that the international community impose stringent sanctions on Israel akin to those applied to Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.

That argument drew a strong response from Quim Jubert of the center-right Junts Party, who accused the resolution’s supporters of “trivializing apartheid just as the Russian authorities trivialize Nazism in Ukraine.”

Said Jubert, whose party voted against the resolution: “The impact of this position adopted by the Parliament would be almost zero, it would not affect the measures of the democratically elected Government of Israel, while the damage to relations between Catalonia and Israel would be incalculable.”

An analysis of the resolution on Friday issued by ACOM, a Spanish pro-Israel advocacy organization, situated its text firmly within the political culture of the separatist movement that has flourished in Catalonia over the previous decade.

“The antisemitic obsession of Catalonian secessionism is not new,” the group observed. “Its representatives have been promoting in Europe the harassment against Israel and against the Jews by using the latest instrument of Jew hatred: the BDS [‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’] movement. It has been in Catalonia and in the area that suffers from pan-Catalanism, like the Autonomous Region of Valencia, where the boycott against Jews, disguised as ‘solidarity with Palestine,’ has found more institutional support.”

ACOM called on Prime Minister Sanchez to “invalidate the resolution” and “remove himself from the disgusting culture of hatred that promotes it.”

It continued: “However, to carry out such a moral imperative, not only must he distance himself from this government’s partners, but also from his own party.”

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