Spanish judges scrapped two municipal resolutions on boycotting Israel and approved investigating for discrimination the organizers of a music festival who sought to bar the Jewish singer Matisyahu.
The rulings on the resolutions passed last year by the local councils of Xeraco and Olesa de Montserrat were given independently last month by the 10th Judicial Court 10 of Valencia and the 10th Judicial Court of Barcelona, according to a report last week by the pro-Israel ACOM group, which has obtained similar reversals in at least a dozen other Spanish municipalities in recent months.
Between them, the courts reversed the resolutions passed in those two municipalities, which together have a total population of 30,000 people, citing various principles, including jurisdictional issues and an irreconcilable infringement of anti-discrimination laws.
The Jan. 26 ruling of Xeraco near Valencia was a definite reversal of a resolution that in May prompted the same court to issue an injunction against any action on Israeli firms and institutions. The Barcelona court stated in its ruling the following day that Olesa de Montserrat had “imposed unconstitutional restrictions on the freedom to hold personal beliefs and opinions.”
More than 50 Spanish municipalities have endorsed the principles of BDS - the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel - the highest number in any European country. The Spanish judiciary has in recent months taken a tougher stance on this practice. 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.
Separately, the 19th Examining Court of Valencia last week approved the opening of a criminal probe into the conduct of organizers of the 2015 Rototom SunSplash Festival, who canceled Jewish singer Matisyahu’s performance amid pressure from the BDS movement, but then re-invited him following an uproar over his exclusion.
Matisyahu is not Israeli and was the only Jewish performer on the festival’s roster for that year. After he ignored requests that he issue a statement declaring his support for Palestinian Arab statehood, the festival cancelled his appearance.
Only Matisyahu was asked to sign the declaration in support of a Palestinian Arab state. His dis-invitation sparked condemnation from Jewish organizations and the government of Spain. The complaint against the festival was filed by the Jewish Community of Madrid.
In Spain, some tribunals open criminal probes almost automatically on certain alleged offenses, including incitement to hate.