Monday, August 15, 2016

Spain: Leading newspaper claims Israeli lobby is 'declaring war' against Ibiza municipality for endorsing BDS

Background: Ibiza municipality endorses BDS and a “space free of Israeli apartheid”

From the World Jewish Congress:
Spain's leading newspaper 'El Mundo' likened criticism by the Spanish advocacy group ACOM of a city council's vote to boycott Israel to a "declaration of war" by what it termed "the Israeli lobby". 

An 'El Mundo' article about a decision by the City Council of Santa Eulalia, on the island of Ibiza, in which it declares itself "a space free of Israeli apartheid” and calls on the local government to execute the boycott agreement is entitled "Israel 'declares war' against a village on Ibiza" and suggests that ACOM is an Israeli organization.

However, the advocay group is a Spanish, non-denominational and independent organization whose mission is to foster better relations between Spain and Israel.

ACOM filed a complaint against the Israel boycott motion of Santa Eulalia with a Palma de Mallorca court. [...]

A spokesman for the municipality said that the council had not voted to support a boycott of Israel but, rather, had voted to support a statement of solidarity with Palestinians and agreement with the UN resolutions regarding Israel.

ACOM Chair Mas, however, said he was not surprised that the city council was unaware of the substance of the resolution.“This is quite typical of what is going on in Spain,” he said. Mas said pro-Palestinian activists present boycott declarations to dozens of municipalities cloaked in human rights rhetoric and aligned with UN resolutions.

"While the councils believe they are making a statement of solidarity with the ‘poor’ Palestinian people, in reality the municipality declares that it adheres to the BDS international movement, and if you look at the details, you see that this involves areas ‘free of Israeli apartheid,’" he said.

Leftist Podemos party promotes Israel boycott
The boycott proposal was initiated by the municipal group Guanyem, part of the leftist Podemos movement, and was approved with the votes of the Socialist Party and the conservative People Party, the ruling party of acting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, which also enjoys an overall majority in Santa Eulalia town hall.

According to ACOM, Podemos has used its presence in local governments over the last months to promote an aggressive institutional BDS campaign that to date has declared 50 city councils throughout the country “free of Israeli apartheid” – declarations which continue on a weekly basis.

To counter this massive rise in pro-BDS declarations, ACOM has pressed legal charges against every single public institution and local government that has adopted an anti-Israel declaration. “We have stopped tens and tens of these votes so far,” he said.

As a result of ACOM’s legal actions, nine courts in Spain have already ruled that the BDS declarations are “illegal, discriminatory, unconstitutional and against human rights,” reversing the decisions of the city councils.

With regard to the Santa Eulalia City Council, Mas told the 'Jerusalem Post' that ACOM had already formally requested all the information surrounding the vote from the municipality and is proceeding with legal action. “I tend to believe, or suspect, that representatives from BDS and the Podemos Party made this proposal though it was not fully understood, and now the municipality is waking up to the fact that they have voted on something that is discriminatory, illegal and unconstitutional,” he said.

A year ago, the World Jewish Congress wrote to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy it when it emerged that the Rototom music festival in the Valencia region had disinvited the American Jewish musician Matisyahu after trying to coerce him to make a political statement in support of the Palestinians. Matisyahu was eventually reinvited and performed his gig.
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