In first, Spanish state adopts BDS as policy


(JTA) — For the first time in Spain, the parliament of one of the states that comprise the kingdom voted to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The vote last month by the Parliament of the Chartered Community of Navarre in Spain’s north was passed thanks to the support of representatives of all the parties represented in parliament except the center-right Popular Party, the ACOM pro-Israel advocacy wrote in a statement Friday.

The motion passed on May 21 says the parliament of Navarre calls on the central government to “support any initiative promoted by the international BDS campaign.” It also calls on Spain to “suspend its ties with Israel “until that country ceases its policy of criminal repression of the Palestinian population.”

Navarre is one of 17 autonomous communities — states with their own parliaments, who together make up the quasi-federal Spanish state. Catalonia’s parliament last year declared independence from Spain, though Madrid declined to recognize the declaration.  Navarre has a substantial Basque population and a strong separatist movement.

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The motion went on to condemn Israel for “murdering” dozens of Palestinians in May. The condemnation is a reference to Hamas-organized riots along the border with Israel, which featured hundreds of firebombs and attempt to break the fence into Israel. Of 61 people killed in the riots on May 14, 50 were Hamas members, according to one senior member of that organization.

Sweden, Ireland and several other European Union countries criticized Israel’s use of deadly force but reaffirmed their support for its right to defend itself. The United States said the violence was solely Hamas’ fault.

The Navarre motion does mentions neither Hamas, violence along the border nor Israel’s right to defend itself. ACOM condemned it as discriminatory.  In recent years, ACOM actions have led to the scrapping, annulment or suspension of 24 motions to boycott Israel by Spanish municipalities. Courts throughout the kingdom have declared such motions discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Earlier this month, a motion promoted by a local fraction of Podemos on the City Council of Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city, was passed declaring a boycott of Israel and Valencia a “Israeli apartheid-free zone.” Several dozen municipalities have endorsed BDS in Spain but none of its states had until the vote in Navarre.