A municipality in the renowned Spanish island of Ibiza has passed a resolution endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
According to ACOM, an Israeli lobbying group working to combat BDS in Spain, last month the city council of Santa Eulalia, an exclusive residential area and the second-most populated municipality on the island, endorsed the boycott campaign against Israel at its plenary session.
“This is a part of the BDS group’s summer campaign,” Angel Mas, ACOM’s chairman, told the Post on Wednesday. “These BDS activists go to the coastline because it’s summertime, presenting these boycott resolutions to the many coastal municipalities.”
Mas explained that the endorsement commits the city to support the BDS campaign, the boycott against Israeli and pro-Israel institutions, companies and organizations, as well as Spanish nationals associated or sympathetic to the Jewish state.
The council agreement essentially declares the area of Santa Eulalia, a popular international tourist attraction, a “space free of Israeli apartheid” and calls on the municipal government to execute the boycott agreement, he said.
Samuel Parra, the city council’s spokesman, denied that the municipality had voted to boycott Israel.
Speaking to the Post, he said that the city council did not vote to support a boycott against Israel but, rather, voted to support a statement of solidarity with Palestinians and agreement with the UN resolutions regarding Israel.
He iterated that it is the council’s policy not to discriminate based on faith and religion.
ACOM’s chairman, 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 explained that 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.
The boycott proposal was initiated by the far-left municipal group Guanyem, part of the Podemos Party network, 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.
Podemos, a rising political party with reported financial ties to the Iranian and Venezuelan regimes, obtained 20 percent of the last national election vote and 71 seats in the Spanish Parliament.
The well-funded party has gained access to public institutions and local government and has also gained control over the city councils of main cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, Spain’s three largest cities.
“The pro-BDS movement in Spain has the upper hand because the pro-Palestinian position is perceived to have the upper moral hand, same as the pro-Israel position is perceived to be immoral,” Mas said.
He criticized municipalities for voting on issues in which they are not versed. “The degree of immaturity and frivolity is massive,” he said.
“If you are a municipality, why are you voting on complex international matters? I don’t think they would dare to vote on Georgia or Cyprus, or on Russia’s involvement in Crimea,” he asserted. “But in this particular case, everyone feels they are entitled to vote and entitled to an opinion, and the vote is always on the side of the ‘poor Palestinian people.’” According to ACOM, Podemos has used its presence in local governments over the last 10 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.
These regulations aim to exclude Israeli interests, and also Spanish citizens friendly to Israel, from civic, social, political and economic life, creating modern “Judenfrei” (free of Jews) zones.
“This shows us that it [does not matter] that the municipal government is right wing, from the ruling party in Spain, which is relatively friendly to Israel,” he said. “When it comes to Israel, the right wing is happy to basically surrender to the extreme-left position because it is perceived as having no consequences whatsoever, while the deterrence from BDS activists who can create a lot of havoc and noise is very high.”
“We are creating the opposite deterrence and showing that these actions have consequences,” Mas said.
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.
To date 24 court rulings, writs, reports by the State Prosecutor’s Office and town hall legal departments have backed up the nullity of institutional agreements supporting the BDS initiatives.
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 said ACOM has 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.