Water Polo - Women's Gold Medal Match USA v Italy.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AI PROJECT)
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev demanded from her Spanish counterpart to move a women’s water polo match between Israel and Spain back to its original venue, after Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists had forced its relocation.
“The BDS movements are clearly antisemitic in nature and operate to harm the State of Israel and its citizens,” Regev wrote. “It is my expectation that the government of Spain will take all the necessary steps in order to reverse the decision of the Municipality of Molins de Rei.”
Planned demonstrations by Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists led the municipality, just outside Barcelona, where the match was scheduled to take place, to move the game to a different venue and bar supporters.
Regev said Israel expected the organizers to “operate in accordance with the International Olympic Charter, [to] enable all sportsmen to compete as equals in the games.”
As of Tuesday noon, it was still unclear where the game would take place, if at all. Some sources reported that the game was canceled, but a PR company working on behalf of the Culture and Sport Ministry said the game was still on, in a new venue, with supporters banned. The ministry was still working to reverse the decision, the company said.
NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based watchdog that analyzes and reports on international NGO activity in regards to Israel, said the decision by the Spanish municipality came as no surprise, as funding of anti-Israel groups by the Catalonian government are no rarity.
“In June 2017 we presented research at the parliament in Madrid, which reported in detail on Spanish and Catalonian financial support and endorsement of BDS, including to terror-linked and other radical groups,” said Olga Deutsch, director of the Europe Desk at NGO Monitor.
“It is in this atmosphere that local BDS can have such an impact on local elected officials. The central government in Madrid should be much more proactive in making sure Spanish taxpayers’ money does not go to fringe politicized groups.”
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