Spanish party disinvites German activist from conference citing her support of Israel
German ecological activist Jutta Ditfurth was disinvited from the Spanish CUP Party's conference because of her pro-Israel activity and opposition to BDS.
By BENJAMIN WEINTHALPublished: MAY 19, 2017 21:50 Updated: JUNE 4, 2017 11:28Advertisement
Catalan party Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (CUP) disinvited a prominent German ecological left-wing activist ahead of its Saturday conference because of her defense of Israel's existence and opposition to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting the Jewish state. Jutta Ditfurth wrote in a statement to the Jerusalem Post that she was banned from participating because CUP opposed her “political positions and activities against BDS." Ditfurth said that the pro-Catalan independence party told her: "We strongly support BDS because it opposes colonialist and racist policie… We are against colonialism, occupation and discrimination, and the Palestinian struggle for liberation is a central and decisive issue.”The CUP seeks to secede from Spain and form an independent state. Reacting to the CUP's decision, Ditfurth said: "The main concern of the anti-Semitic BDS is not to criticize Israel’s policies or racism in Israeli society, but to destroy the existence of Israel. In reality, it is not just about boycotting products from the occupied territories, as many people still believe. [It rather wishes] the only Jewish state in the world is to be demonized and delegitimized for as long as it takes to attain that actual goal: its annihilation." She chastised the logic of CUP's left-wing policy, stating: " Whoever criticises BDS – i.e., does not contest Israel’s right to exist – cannot be against either racism, colonialism or discrimination. No other form of solidarity with Palestinians is possible than the adaptation of the strategy and interests of BDS." The CUP invited Ditfurth in March to speak at their summit titled International Conference: Sovereignty and Self-Determination, Political Change in the Euro-Mediterranean Region."On 20 May I was to hold a talk at the conference and take part in a round table discussion; on 22 May I was to speak at a conference of the Fundacio Tia Salellas in the city of Girona," Ditfurth explained.In the invitation extended to Ditfurth, the CUP wrote to the activist that she was invited because she is a “feminist, radical ecologist and anti-nuclear activist, and has co-founded of the Green Party and of the Ecological Left" and "to elucidate your experiences and positions regarding civil disobedience as a non-violent tool of social change …. We would like to combine theory, analysis and practice … It would be a great honour for us if you would take part in our international conference.” The CUP wrote it is “non-homogeneous” and wishes to “learn from other people’s experiences”.Ditfurth said that the explanation the CUP provided upon disinviting her was as follows: "A representative of the BDS campaign was invited to the round table discussion and it was not considered appropriate that an anti-BDS activist should be included." Reacting to the decision, she went on to add: "Obviously, one’s relationship to Israel is a dominant question for the CUP. The supposed theme of discussion, my 'experiences and positions as a tool of civil disobedience and non-violent social change' combining 'theory, analysis a'd practice' has become subjection to the concept of the BDS.""The feminist, radical-ecological and anti-nuclear positions are of no value to the CUP as soon as someone criticizes the BDS. So much for the CUP’s claim to be 'non-homogeneous' and to want to 'learn from the experiences of others'," she continued. Angel Mas, president of ACOM, a pro-Israel Spanish organization that combats BDS and modern antisemitism, told the Post: "This is yet another demonstration of the extremism of far left independentist forces that have become mainstream in the Catalonian politics and how central and core their rabid antisemitism is to them." "We must remember that not only [did] left-wing Podemos' Ada Colau become mayor of Barcelona thanks to CUP city councillors' vote, also center-right independentist PdeCat's Carles Puigdemont became President of Catalonia's regional government (Generalitat) and currently governs with the support of CUP regional parliamentarians' votes," Mas stressed. The city of Barcelona subsidized a radical literary event last week that hosted convicted Palestinian terrorist and BDS advocate Leila Khaled."What this means is that Catalonian politics and its independence movement are subject to massive anti-Israel and antisemitic bias, and that a potentially independent Catalonia could become an even hotter spot of anti-Israel activity in Europe," Mas concluded.Post email queries to CUP on Friday were not immediately returned.In May 2016 JTA reported an outbreak of antisemitism in Catalonia's parliament. CUP deputy Benet Salellas accussed Uriel Benguigui, president of the Jewish Community of Barcelona, of being a “foreign agent” and part of a “Zionist lobby.” Spain's Jewish community FCJE said Salellas expressed “the most repugnant form of anti-Semitism” and used speech that “is wholly illegitimate in diplomatic discourse."
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