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Anti-Semitism: Spanish Anti-BDS Legislation

The Spanish Government compensated Ariel University in Israel with $107,000 in damages in January 2016, after excluding the University from a scientific competition years earlier for admitted political reasons. Ariel University is located in a West Bank settlement, and therefore was excluded from a 2009 competition featuring solar-energy innovators according to the Spanish government. In 2016 this exclusion was found to be a violation of article 14 of the Spanish constitution, forbidding discrimination based on nationality or place of origin. This decision to compensate Israel for exclusion was celebrated as a legal victory against BDS.

The City Council in the Northern city of Alives, Spain adopted a resolution supporting the BDS movement in early 2016, but it took less than one month for the Council to distance themselves from the vote and denounce the BDS movement as discriminatory. The motion passed just weeks before was nullified on February 22, 2016, after the pro-Israel group ACOM initiated a discrimnination lawsuit against the city. In addition to voiding the discriminatory motion, the Alives City Council issued a statement noting that the BDS movement, “threatens people's right not to be discriminated against,” threatens academic freedom, and is counterintuitive to Spain's national laws.

The International Cooperation Committee of the Spanish Congress approved a measure in June 2017, that recognize[s] and defend[s] the right of human rights activists... to engage in legal and peaceful activities, protected by the right to freedom of speech and assembly, such as the right to promote boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns.  Following the vote, the Parliamentary coalition who introduced the measure, Unidos Podemos-En Comú Podem-En Marea, released a statement claiming that the, Congress has joined the many voices that have already recognized the right to BDS as freedom of speech.  

A district court in Seville, Spain, suspended a city council's anti-Israel boycott in November 2017.  A writ of interim injunction was filed against the City Council of La Roda de Andalucia, ordering it to halt it's boycott of Israeli-made products.  The La Roda City Council officially announced its participation in and support of the BDS movement in August 2014, and has been enforcing the boycott by inspecting all items sold in the city and returning those that were deemed to be produced in Israel.  

Source: “In BDS defeat, Spain compensates Israeli University for boycott exclusion,” Forward, (January 6, 2016);
“Spanish city scraps BDS motion, denounces boycott as discriminatory,” Jerusalem Post, (February 22, 2016);
Spanish Parliament Affirms Right to BDS as Protected Speech, International Middle East Media Center, (July 3, 2017);
Tamara Zieve.  Spanish Court Suspends Anti-Israel Boycott in Seville, Jerusalem Post, (November 15, 2017).