Spanish court declares local boycott of Israel illegal

Pro-Israel Spanish group ACOM chalks up another win.

January 3, 2017 02:57
1 minute read.

A Spanish flag waves over the Spanish parliament in Madrid. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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After a yearlong legal battle, a Spanish court in Santiago de Compostela issued a decision declaring that a boycott against Israel passed by the city council is illegal.

The legal proceedings against the council were filed by Angel Mas, president of ACOM, a pro-Israel Spanish organization that combats the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in Spain.

Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the northwestern Spanish autonomous region of Galicia. In November 2015, the City Council of Santiago passed a resolution proclaiming the city a “free space from Israeli apartheid,” and affiliating the council with the BDS movement.

As part of the boycott decision, the city council announced it would refrain from any cooperation with Israel, its public bodies and officials in areas including agriculture, education, trade, culture or security. The council also agreed to support the BDS movement in every campaign for trade, cultural, sports, academic or institutional boycotts.

According to ACOM, the court of Santiago de Compostela dismissed the argument raised by the town hall that the boycott decision was “nothing but a political statement, stressing that the actions and declarations of public bodies are subjected to the rule of law, meriting judicial review.”

Furthermore, the judgment stated that the council lacks the “competence for the adoption of such a resolution,” as it exceeds the powers granted to the city council to deal with local problems.

Taking into account that a local council cannot make claims that would affect the foreign policy of Spain, the court further stressed that it could not understand how the resolution would improve or have an impact on the local community, and as such annulled the boycott decision.

This legal win is one of a string of recent successes by ACOM in combating the BDS movement in Spain, including reversing discriminatory decisions in Sant Adriá (Barcelona), Santa Eulalia (Ibiza) and now Santiago.

However, ACOM stressed that the battle is far from over, as this week alone the provincial government of Valencia, which represents some 2.5 million people, unanimously voted for a motion to discriminate against Israel.

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