Anti-Israel Boycott Movement Suffers Legal Setback in Spain, Actions Ruled Unconstitutional

In the latest legal blow to the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, a court in Spain has ruled that a city council that canceled an Israeli film festival in support of boycotts violated fundamental principles enshrined in the Spanish constitution.

The Spanish daily newspaper El Mundo reported that in a March 22 ruling, Judge Carmen Beardo of the No. 1 Administrative – Contentious Court of Cadiz found that the council had breached “the free development of freedom of expression and teaching,” as well as “the right not to be discriminated against for their opinion.”

The judge ruled that, in total, the council had violated four basic rights that protect freedom of speech and academic freedom and forbids discrimination “on account of birth, race, sex, religion, opinion, or any other personal or social condition or circumstance.”

In September 2017, the City Council of Cadiz canceled an Israeli film cycle at a municipality-owned venue after only two of four scheduled films were screened. Officials justified the suspension on grounds that the films were “in contradiction with the agreement to join the Apartheid Free Zones campaign” – a pro-boycott initiative adopted by City Council of Cadiz in August 2016.

The cancelation – authorized by mayor Jose Maria Gonzalez, a member of the far-left Podemos party – was denounced by the Israeli Embassy in Spain as a “cultural censorship based on political criteria.” The party has been accused of receiving funds from Iran and Venezuela.

The ruling marks the latest in a series of legal setbacks suffered by the pro-boycott movement in Spain, which has pushed through multiple anti-Israel municipal-level resolutions in recent years.

The High Court of Justice in the northwest principality of Asturias ruled in June that a boycott resolution passed by the City Council of Castrillón violated rights enshrined in the Spanish constitution. In a separate incident in August, the cities of Villarrobledo in Castile-La Mancha and Sagunto in Valencia voted to repeal pro-boycott resolutions after facing legal challenges.

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