BDS victory in Spain overturned in court two years later

Catalonia court overturns BDS motion in municipality outside Barcelona where Israel’s national water polo team was set to play Spain but was relocated due to municipal boycott provisions.

A supporter wears a T-shirt reading 'Boycott Israel' (photo credit: AFP/ MOHD RASFAN)
A supporter wears a T-shirt reading 'Boycott Israel'
(photo credit: AFP/ MOHD RASFAN)
Nearly two years after Israel's national women’s water polo team was left without a venue for a game against the Spanish team due to a municipal BDS ordinance, an administrative court in the Spanish region of Catalonia has ruled that the boycott motion was illegal.
In November 2018, Israel’s national women’s water polo team was set to play the Spanish team in a venue in the town of Molins de Rei, a short distance from Barcelona in the Catalonia region.
The Molins de Rei municipal council had however passed a law in 2013, similar to dozens of other municipal laws across Spain, banning the municipality or local authority from entering into contracts and agreements with Israeli companies and entities, and even banning business ties and agreements with Spanish citizens who are associated with Israel or Israeli organizations and companies.
This led Molins de Rei to deny the water polo venue in the town to the Israeli national team.
An administrative court in the province of Barcelona has now struck down Molins de Rei’s 2013 law as discriminatory.
President of the ACOM anti-BDS organization Angel Mas said the specific decision against Molins de Rei was significant since the incident refuted the frequent claim of BDS activists groups in Spain that the mass of municipal BDS laws around the country are merely political declarations.
Mas said that the water polo venue cancellation demonstrated how these municipal laws are used for practical applications.
He noted in addition, that in municipalities where such laws have been passed, local businesses based in its jurisdiction had been instructed that contracts with Israeli businesses, individuals and entities are forbidden.
“The BDS movement wants to dissuade people from dealing with Israel or Israelis, and it has successfully created a general perception that dealing with Israel is so complicated, and your life will be made miserable if you try, that a lot of people don’t even try,” Mas told The Jerusalem Post.
Mas said that the new ruling showed that the municipal BDS laws were intended to be beyond mere political declarations and further was not a form of protected free speech, since they advocate for discrimination on the basis of national origin.
“We will continue to expose these extremists that both in the institutions and in the public life intend to impose their ideology by coercion, recovering the dignity for our Jewish minority threatened by those same intolerant people who want to break the constitutional order that protects us all,” said Mas.