The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), Israel-Spain Forum Alliance (ISFA), and Center for Jewish Impact (CJI) on Thursday issued a joint call, backed by a petition with more than 15,000 signatures, for the Barcelona City Council to vote at its meeting on Friday to restore the “twin city” relationship with Tel Aviv that was severed earlier this month by Mayor Ada Colau.

“The efforts to cancel the twin city agreement between Barcelona and Tel Aviv are not only misguided, but they are also rooted in antisemitism according to the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism,” the organizations wrote in a letter to the City Council. “The BDS activists behind the push for the cancellation of the Barcelona-Tel Aviv alliance are peace rejectionists seeking to delegitimize Israel’s very existence.”

“True peace and reconciliation are built through discourse and engagement, not boycotts and isolation, and the bonds between Barcelona and Tel Aviv — which foster tolerance and social harmony across nationalities and faiths — are something to be promoted, not destroyed,” they added.

The letter was read at a protest outside Barcelona City Hall last Sunday against the cancellation of ties with Tel Aviv.

“Barcelona and Tel Aviv are known worldwide for their diversity and inclusivity, and the more than 15,000 backers of the petition demonstrate the broad-based popular support for maintaining the longstanding special ties between the cities,” said CAM Director of European Affairs Oriana Marie Krüger.

Colau stated in her decision from February 8 that she is suspending all of the city’s ties with Israel, citing what she called “the repeated violations of human rights of the Palestinian population and non-compliance with United Nations resolutions.”

She added that Barcelona will maintain relations with “Israeli and Palestinian entities that continue to work for peace and against apartheid.”

Last week, the Spanish government criticized Colau’s decision, calling it a "unilateral move" that would not bring "anything good".

Madrid’s mayor, José Luís Martínez-Almeida, has offered to step up as a replacement for Barcelona.

In a letter to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and during a press conference, Martínez-Almeida said the twinning is a “great opportunity to show Madrid’s commitment to strengthening relations with a democratic and a law-abiding state like Israel.”

Barcelona’s announcement is the latest in a series of anti-Israeli motions that have been adopted on the regional and municipal levels in Spain in recent years.

In June of last year, Catalonia's parliament passed a resolution recognizing Israel as committing “the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people”, and calling on both Catalonian and Spanish governments to not render “aid or assistance” to Israel.

In 2018, the City Council of the Spanish town of Sagunto voted in favor of joining the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, declaring itself an “Israeli apartheid-free space.”

A week earlier, councilors in the city of Pamplona, the capital of the Navarre province, called on the Spanish government to stop its arms trade with Israel and on their municipality to declare Israeli officials as "persona non grata" until Israel stops its "oppressive policy against the Palestinian people".