27 Oct, 2020

Spanish Courts have suspended its anti-Israel boycotts in the municipality of Castrillón, in Oviedo, Spain, said a press release by The Lawfare Project, an American litigation fund that mobilizes against anti-Israel law abuse.

During the last week of 2017, a district court in Oviedo issued a writ of interim injunction against the City Council of Castrillón for its discriminatory boycott of Israeli products.

Fifty Spanish municipalities have passed resolutions in favor of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in recent years, more than any other European country, but the tide may be turning. Of those resolutions, 20 have been labeled as discriminatory and have been undone in court and municipal repeals.

According to Times of Israel, Spain is standing up to BDS because trade and tourism with Israel are tempting during economic crisis. However, it may be temporary as “deep-rooted anti-Semitism still has strong foothold,” Times of Israel reported.

The City Council of Castrillón had previously restricted public procurement and municipal relations with Israeli institutions, companies, and organizations and adopted a “free spaces from Israel apartheid” designation. On the basis of breach of free speech and the academic freedom, the court issued a similar write of interim injunction against the city council in June. But the city council “decided to revoke its own boycott and write a new piece of boycott legislation that would theoretically be impervious to legal challenges.”

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The Lawfare Project hailed the newest verdict as a “significant blow” to the Spanish BDS movement, saying it paves the way for further legal action against the implementation of BDS.

According to The Lawfare Project, “The decision came shortly after another court in Barcelona struck down a boycott provision passed by the City Council of El Prat de Llobregat, in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, stating that the boycott is in breach of free speech and the academic freedom of the individuals targeted by the campaign.”

The Lawfare Project has seen great success in securing writs of injunction and favorable court decisions against the Spanish boycott campaign in various Spanish courts, securing 46 to date, including 19 in the last eight months. Doing so has established a court doctrine in Spain against boycotts.

“The Spanish Courts have supported our legal reasoning that boycotts of Israel infringe on human rights, violate free speech, and are tantamount to discrimination on account of national origin and personal opinions,” said Ignacio Wenley Palacios, The Lawfare Project’s Spanish Counsel. “The City Council of Castrillón passed this boycott with the notion that it would be impervious to legal challenges. We have proven them wrong.”