A Spanish judge granted an anti-Israel group’s motion to initiate a trial for alleged incitement to hatred and intimidation against the leader of a group that fights boycotts of the Jewish state.

The Committee for Solidarity with the Arab Cause, which receives funding from several municipalities in Spain, filed the criminal lawsuit against Angel Mas of the ACOM group last month, he told JTA. A judge examined the 70-page lawsuit against Mas and ACOM and concluded it merited further judicial review, Mas said.

The lawsuit against Mas and ACOM is the first time that pro-Israel entities are being taken to court in Spain for their activities and marks a departure from the strategy of the local Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, or BDS.

Mas added he was “surprised and disappointed” at the judge’s decision to review what Mas called “a frivolous attempt to abuse the Spanish judiciary with propaganda.” But he also added that he is confident that he would be found not guilty in any trial.

At least seven municipalities in Spain have scrapped their endorsements of BDS under threat from ACOM alone, the group said. Another 14 have seen tribunals cancel their pro-BDS resolutions and another two had those resolutions suspended by an injunction pending a final court ruling.

“Having suffered crippling losses in court, the BDS movement in Spain is switching methods,” Mas said. “They are targeting individuals in a smear campaign in an attempt to render Spanish Jews and Israel defenceless. This will not succeed.”

The incitement charges are based on ACOM’s assertions that BDS, which several Spanish courts have found discriminatory and declared illegal, is anti-Semitic. The intimidation claim is based on ACOM’s strategy of threatening legal action against Spanish municipalities that adopted BDS as their policy.