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Israel attacks Spanish minister who spoke about genocide in Gaza

May 9, 2024 at 9:20 am

The Minister for Social Rights, Consumer Affairs and Agenda 2030, Pablo Bustinduy on April 9, 2024, in Madrid, Spain [Ricardo Rubio/Europa Press via Getty Images]

The Embassy of Israel in Madrid is angry at comments made by a far-left Spanish minister on Wednesday that Spanish companies in Israel “risk contributing to genocide in Palestine.”

Social Rights Minister Pablo Bustinduy sent a letter to such companies calling on them to provide details of the measures implemented to avoid “violations that may result from their activities.” He added that they must “avoid the risk that their economic activities in the area may contribute to the flagrant violations of human rights that Israel is committing”, as a means to help “end the genocide in Palestine.”

This sparked a strong reaction from the Israeli embassy in the Spanish capital. “Israel totally rejects the false accusation diffused by some ministers, intellectuals and media outlets that Israel is committing genocide,” said the embassy. “We condem the demonisation and deligitimisation of Israel through unsupported accusations that give wings to Hamas and are a clear incitement to hatred, feeding anti-Semitism.”

The Spanish foreign ministry distanced itself from Bustinduy’s letter, saying that it was not aware of it, and stressed that he does not speak on behalf of the governemnt. “Our position is clear about Gaza, Palestine and statehood,” insisted an anonymous foreign ministry source, “but it’s also clear that our position is that the state of Israel and the Israeli people are friends of Spain.”

The term “genocide” has been used repeatedly in recent months by ministers from far-left parties allied with the Socialists in Pedro Sanchez’s government, but this is the first time it has been used as part of an official measure. It comes at a time when Sanchez, who is considered the most critical European voice of Israel, seeks to rally other European capitals to support the recognition of a Palestinian state, something that Madrid does not rule out doing unilaterally.

However, the left-wing Sumar platform believes that this step is insufficient and calls for sanctions against Israel. On Sunday, Sumar leader Yolanda Diaz, the third official in the government, said, “They are killing children in Palestine” and the international community is “doing nothing about it.”

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