If Spain recognises Palestine, Israel may do same for Catalonia, activist claims

If Spain recognises Palestine, Israel may do same for Catalonia, activist claims

Head of pro-Israel ACOM group says Spanish backing for Palestinian statehood may lead to the Jewish state recognising separatists

Supporters of Catalan independence in 2012.
Supporters of Catalan independence in 2012.

Spanish recognition of Palestinian statehood may well prompt Israel to do the same for Catalonia, a prominent Madrid-based lobby group for the Jewish state said.

The head of the ACOM group, Angel Mas, issued the warning last week in an op-ed for the ABC daily. It came amid reports — which were confirmed Thursday by Spanish Foreign Minister Minister Josep Borrell — that Spain is pushing for recognition of what is call the State of Palestine by the European Union and will recognise it regardless of the bloc’s position.

But if that happens, Mas wrote, “there is a real possibility that Israel will decide to recognise Catalonia as a state.”

Catalonian separatism plunged Spain into a major crisis in October. Federal police clashed with voters over an illegal referendum on independence and the region’s parliament in Barcelona passed a motion declaring independence from Spain despite the federal government’s warning to desist. Madrid dissolved the regional government in a bid to block secession.

ACOM is one of Spain’s most high-profile organisations defending Israel and has won dozens of court cases, thanks to private funding by donors, against organisations promoting a boycott of Israel. On Sept. 4, a court in Huelva in southwestern Spain scrapped a vote by the town of Ayamonte that declared the municipality part of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, or BDS. The Spanish judiciary considers such actions discriminatory.

Asked about ACOM’s analysis on the probability of Israeli recognition for Catalonia, Emmanuel Nahshon, the top spokesperson of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told JTA: “I do not comment on speculations.”

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