Spanish court rules local council’s BDS policy as unconstitutional

Spanish court rules local council’s BDS policy as unconstitutional

Pro-Israel groups welcome dismissal of boycott movement's policy as discriminatory during landmark ruling

Boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) supporters
Boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) supporters

A Spanish court has ruled that a city’s policy of boycotting Israel was unconstitutional in a landmark case this week.

The High Court of Justice in Asturias made the ruling after the northern city of Castrillon’s council introduced an anti-Israel motion last August, effectively boycotting Israel.

After legal action backed by the U.S-based organisation The Lawfare Project, the court has now overturned the decision as unfair. It ruled that the adoption of an anti-Israel boycott by city councils was in breach of constitutional civil rights and freedoms of non-discrimination and equality before the law.

This comes as anti-Israel activists have been running a concerted campaign to introduce such motions, boycotting Israel, Israeli businesses and companies doing business with the Jewish state, across Spain.

Since the beginning of March, legal action by The Lawfare Project (LP) has resulted in seven other courts across Spain annulling or suspending anti-Israel boycotts. LP’s Spanish Counsel, Ignacio Wenley Palacios, has recorded 58 court victories against anti-Israel measures – with 28 since June 2017.

Palacios said: “Spain has individuals from across the political spectrum who are proud of their Jewish heritage.. [who] find this discrimination repellent and celebrate the triumph in Court of basic democratic values such as non-discrimination, equal Justice for all, and free speech”.

Brooke Goldstein, executive director of The Lawfare Project, said: “Successes we’re achieving are setting legal precedents that not only offer protection to Jewish communities but to every other minority. We’ve been working in Spain for almost two years. We’ve seen that however the vicious, anti-Israel BDS campaign disguises itself, time and again it is hitting the rocks of the rock solid constitutional guarantees and legal standards of the Spanish courts.”

This comes after a number of Spanish cities adopted policies to boycott Israel – with one such motion leading to an Israeli politician referencing the Spanish Inquisition’s expulsion of Jews.

In June, councils in both Valencia and Navarre adopted BDS motions, while a diplomat with the Israeli Embassy in Madrid took to social media to bring up the inquisition, after the municipality of Pamplona passed a motion calling for a “military embargo” on Israel.

The official wrote: “Navarre 1498: Jews out. Pamplona 2018: They forbidden to enter,” after the municipality of Pamplona passed a motion calling for a “military embargo” on Israel.

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