Madrid leads the fight against antisemitism - opinion

 2010 General strike in Spain (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
2010 General strike in Spain
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

In recent years, Spain has recently seen a large number of municipal, provincial and regional local governments approving BDS boycott declarations that aim at discriminating against not only Israelis and Israeli companies in Spain, but also against Spanish citizens who publicly support the Jewish State. ACOM, a pro-Israel group fighting delegitimization and antisemitism in Spain, has initiated legal action against all of them. So far, it has won eighty-three cases and lost none. The most recent case involved the small town of Parcent, after its town hall approved an anti-Jewish discriminatory motion. 

During the same week, the city council of Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain, which also approved a discriminatory statement that declared its territory "Free of Israeli Apartheid," decided not to embark on any further appeals after it lost its court case against ACOM.  

The court decided that these declarations were not merely political statements, but rather exercised tangible exclusion and that this agreement constituted an unconstitutional act of discrimination, undermining the required neutrality of the state.

From all of this, it would seem that hostility against Israel and the Jews is widespread across Spain. However, the regional Parliament of Madrid, Spain's capital region with a population of almost 7 million, is leading the fight against antisemitism in the country, having formally demanded that the National Congress adjust its national laws that regulate grants and subsidies so that these same BDS groups are excluded from economic support from the State. 

In November of last year, this same Madrid Assembly formally approved the adoption of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism with its examples. In this historic debate, two very different perspectives were expressed on the issue: the regional governing majority of the center-right and the right denounced the contradiction of declaring the need to fight hatred against the Jewish minority while providing public funds for those activities. At the same time, the left and the far-left parties that form the majority of Spain's national government resorted to old antisemitic stereotypes of distortion and trivialization of the Holocaust and eventually opposed the motion.

The initiative of the Region of Madrid, led by its fiercely pro-Israel President, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, has unmasked these BDS activities, showing that they aim to legitimize antisemitic campaigns by simply labeling them as "anti-Zionist." Moreover, the enhanced information about the true intent of these BDS campaigns is leading to them being more vigorously repudiated. 

The nature of Spain's relationship with Israel is appallingly asymmetrical. While the Jewish State acts as a loyal friend and partner to Spain, our national government and some local authorities not only tolerate, but even provide economic support, channeling public funds for these activities that are openly hostile to the national home of the Jewish people and its citizens. 

Despite these judicial decisions, millions of taxpayers' Euros are granted every year to so-called "NGOs" that promote boycotts against anything Israeli. The most recent example was the attempt to exclude the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company from the Madrid Dance Festival. How could anybody defend the idea that such discrimination is conducive to peace and coexistence? And how can the promoters of this discriminatory initiative, the "Committee of Solidarity with the Arab Cause," support these actions thanks to the public grants and subsidies awarded by the regional government of Asturias? Luckily, the Madrid city council has flat out rejected this boycott attempt.

It is also worth mentioning that Israeli courts have recently demonstrated in the case against Spanish activist Juana Ruiz (aka Juani Rishmawi) that these funds donated by Spanish administrations end up fueling the Palestinian terrorist machine that murders Israelis and Jews around the world. 

That is why it is imperative that, despite its cabinet containing ministers closely aligned to antisemitic groups, formerly funded by the Islamic Republic of Iran, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez listens to the demands of the Madrid Parliament and defunds these shameful, anti-Israel and antisemitic groups and initiatives.

Angel Mas is the President of ACOM, the leading group in Spain in the fight against antisemitism and in favor of the relationship between Spain and Israel, on the basis of shared values and common interests.

This op-ed is published in partnership with a coalition of organizations that fight antisemitism across the world. Read the previous article by Yoseph Haddad.