Spanish judges declare racist, nullify 2 municipal BDS motions

Fighting anti-Semitism, Spanish courts put the brakes on pro-BDS motions in two separate municipalities.

JTA,

BDS graffiti sign
BDS graffiti sign
Photo: Miriam Alster / Flash 90

JTA - Spanish judges scrapped motions favoring a boycott of Israel which were passed last year by the city councils of two municipalities.

The rulings last week by separate tribunals in two of Spain’s autonomous regions bring to 20 the number of municipalities that, over the past three years, either reversed their motions of support for a boycott of Israel or had them nullified by the judiciary.

In the northern region of Galicia, an administrative court in the regional capital of Santiago de Compostela last week reversed a motion passed on March 31 by the city council of Teo, a town of 18,000 residents, following a lawsuit filed by the pro-Israel ACOM group, ACOM said in a statement Tuesday.

Separately, another administrative court in the eastern region of Valencia also last week scrapped a motion passed on March 26, 2016 by the local council of Catarroja, a suburb of the city of Valencia, which is Spain’s third-largest metropolis.

As in previous rulings on petitions filed by ACOM or its affiliates — including rulings by two high courts — the administrative tribunals determined the motions passed in Teo and Catarroja were unconstitutional because they were discriminatory, and that they represented a breach of jurisdiction by municipalities unqualified to make foreign policy decisions.

The Valencia court, in its verdict, reasoned that it nullified the motion declaring Catarroja an “Israel apartheid-free space,” as the original motion stated, because it “compromises the exercising of administrative discretion in the future, particularly pertaining to contracts” and that is “contravenes Article 14 of the Spanish Constitution by inciting and generating discrimination based on circumstances of birth, race, gender, religion opinion and any other personal or social circumstance,” as the ruling stated. Following the ruling, ACOM declared on its website both municipalities to be “anti-Semitism-free spaces.”

Last month, the Superior Tribunal of Justice of Madrid affirmed a lower court ruling from January against a resolution last year endorsing the boycott by the city council of the Rivas Vaciamadrid suburb. The High Court said the council’s adherence to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel was “discriminatory.”

The court also rejected explicitly the council’s argument that its boycott resolution was anchored in previous United Nations resolutions against Israel, ACOM wrote in a statement.

In October, a Spanish High Court in the Asturias region declared a BDS resolution illegal and discriminatory in a lawsuit also filed by ACOM. The group had sued the Langreo City Council over its support for BDS.

Over the past two years, pro-Israel activists have obtained dozens of rulings, legal opinions and injunctions against BDS in Spain. Some 50 Spanish municipalities have passed resolutions in recent years endorsing BDS — more than in any other European country.

In neighboring France, promoting the BDS movement is illegal under legislation from 2003 that lists efforts to bring about the singling out of nations and their peoples as a form of hate crime. Similar legislation is being prepared in Britain, the government said last year.


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