Israelis are becoming increasingly worried over the growing support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Not a week goes by without the ranks of BDS swelling. Last week it was Hollywood actors and the Presbyterian Church who gave their backing for the campaign to end Israeli occupation and apartheid. This week it is Spain, which, according to the pro-settler news agency Arutz Sheva, is becoming the most hostile European nation to Israel.
A number of high profile cases were cited to support its conclusion, which it thinks should worry Israel. First there was the decision of the third largest city of the country, Valencia, to embrace the boycott of Israel by proclaiming itself a “zone free from Israeli apartheid”. The municipality stressed that “Israel is required to put an end to the occupation and remove the discriminatory wall in accordance with the resolution 242 of the United Nations Security Council and the announcement of the International Court of Justice issued on 9 July 2004.”
Then the leader of the third largest Spanish party, Pablo Iglesias Turrión, head of Podemos, defined the Jewish state as a “criminal and illegal country”. The remarks followed Israel’s assault on unarmed Palestinian protesters taking part in the “Great March of Return” in Gaza.
Casting the BDS victories in Spain wider the paper mentioned the cancellation of a concert by the Israeli Symphonic Orchestra of Netanya because of political reasons. According to the local producer of the concert, which was to be held in Oviedo, they had received an official notice from the municipality stating that the cancellation of the event was the result of a political decision to “stop Israeli activities in the city”.
Oviedo, Arutz Sheva said, had also cancelled the performance of an Israeli ballet. The City Council of Cadiz had already cancelled an Israeli film festival, claiming that it “contradicts the adherence to the campaign ‘free from Israeli apartheid’”. In Benicassim, near Barcelona, the Jewish musician and reggae star Matthew Paul Miller, aka “Matisyahu”, was disinvited from a music festival because he would not publicly endorse Palestinian statehood.
Elsewhere in Spain the parliament of the Autonomous Community of Navarre, approved a resolution last May to endorse BDS. They also called on Spain’s central government to “support any initiative promoted by the international BDS campaign” and to “suspend relations with Israel until that country stops its criminal and repression policies against the Palestinian population.
Eighty Spanish towns and councils are said to have already joined the Israeli boycott campaign, which is significantly higher than the 60 reported over a year ago.
The Israeli embassy in Madrid, Arutz Sheva reported, wrote a letter to Podemos’ members accusing them of practicing a “systematic boycott policy” against Israel, after a group of deputies decided not to attend a scheduled meeting with the Israeli Ambassador Daniel Kutner.
It also mentioned that El Al, Israel’s flagship airline, intended to create a direct flight from Santiago de Compostela to Tel Aviv, but the project was rejected by the Spanish tourism leaders as a symbolic act of support for the boycott. The city of Pamplona is also reported to have declared Israeli officials “personae non grata” in the city.