cig_control June 29, 2018
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The High Court of Justice in Asturias last week confirmed that a city council’s policy of boycotting Israel was unconstitutional. The City Council of Castrillon in Northern Spain passed a motion effectively boycotting Israel, Israeli businesses, and companies doing business with Israel in August last year. The Court declared, however, that this policy was in breach of constitutional civil rights and freedoms of non-discrimination and equality before the law.

Since the beginning of March, legal action by The Lawfare Project has resulted in seven other courts across Spain annulling or suspending anti-Israel boycotts in the cities of Castrillon, Telde, Montcada, La Roda, Barbate, Artes, and Viloria. Since June 2017, Spanish courts have issued 28 such rulings in proceedings sponsored by The Lawfare Project.

Anti-Israel activists have been concertedly working to introduce motions in local councils that would make it impossible for Israelis or companies doing business with them to be considered for public procurement tenders. The motions call to exclude anyone from public tenders who participates, collaborates, or obtains benefits from alleged violations of international humanitarian law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but only Israel and Israelis are targeted.

As a result of Lawfare Project legal actions, however, Spanish courts have consistently ruled that such boycotts, which only single out Israel, are a form of unlawful discrimination.

The Lawfare Project’s Spanish counsel, Ignacio Wenley Palacios, has thus far led 58 court victories against the boycott campaign. He said:

“After our string of court victories, the boycott campaign doesn’t dare use its name in Spain but hides behind motions passed in city, provincial, and regional councils that use loaded, discriminatory language. Or they run new sub-campaigns such as the ‘Space Free of Israeli Apartheid’, or petitions for an arms embargo of Israel. In due course, these too will be rejected by the courts, which uphold solid legal traditions of fair play, individual freedoms, and strict accountability of government offices.”

“However much the new, and increasingly mainstream, left maligns Israel, Spain has individuals from across the political spectrum who are proud of their Jewish heritage, find this discrimination repellent, and celebrate the triumph in Court of basic democratic values such as non-discrimination, equal justice for all, and free speech,” he added.

Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, said:

“As human rights attorneys, our legal actions in Europe focus on the defense of individual freedoms as the best way to protect Jewish communities. The successes we’re achieving are setting legal precedents that not only offer protection to Jewish communities but to every other minority. We’ve been working in Spain for almost two years. We’ve seen that however the vicious, anti-Israel BDS campaign disguises itself, time and again it is hitting the rocks of the rock-solid constitutional guarantees and legal standards of the Spanish courts.”

About the Lawfare Project: Headquartered in New York, The Lawfare Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a legal think tank and litigation fund committed to protecting the civil and human rights of Jewish communities around the world. To learn more, please visit https://www.thelawfareproject.org

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