Photo Credit: Alex Chis via Flickr
BDS rally

A few weeks ago, a Spanish BDS group launched a criminal complaint against ACOM—an organization fighting the BDS movement in Spain—and its president, Angel Mas. “We are accused of illegal association and promotion of hatred,” Mas wrote in Honest Reporting Monday (BDS: The Bane in Spain). “For more than 70 pages, the BDS lawyer—formerly convicted on terror charges for his cooperation with the [Basque] ETA—delegitimized Israel, demonized its representatives and ‘criminalized’ anybody supporting the Jewish state.”

“They paint our request for court protection as intimidation against the discriminators,” Mas continued, commenting: “The mob accuses the victims of mobbing. BDS bullies are offended by the Jewish refusal to accept helplessness. And, finally, BDS argues that our denunciation of the glorification of terrorism and promotion of violence is actually incitement of hatred against all Palestinians.”

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“BDS extremists do not tolerate debate and dissent very well,” according to Mas, who points out that “their totalitarian instinct demands to silence, exclude and ostracize whomever does not submit to BDS imposition. They will bully and intimidate anyone daring to confront them. Those who despise our constitutional freedoms will try to twist those rights to silence a minority and curtail peaceful coexistence.”

According to Mas, “the BDS movement in Spain acquired its current virulence with the emergence of Podemos, a ‘Chavist’ far left party financed by Venezuela and Iran. Podemos won 25 percent of the votes in Spain’s 2015 local elections. Before those elections, BDS was a marginal confederation of small groups focusing on academic and cultural boycotts of Israel. The core group that formed Podemos had been active in the BDS initiatives for years, and hostility against Israel was a top priority in their political agenda.

“As Podemos gained control of the municipal governments in the main Spanish cities, including Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza and Cadiz, the anti-Israel movement had access to multiple economic, human and organizational resources. When those far left groups occupied public institutions, they didn’t distinguish between their own sectarian agenda and the government’s agenda.

“Local administrations (provincial and municipal) formally joined the BDS movement and declared their territories ‘free of Israeli apartheid’ – In effect, Judenrein. Stickers were distributed to be exhibited in shops and offices, public companies were instructed not to work with Israeli firms or individuals and Spanish citizens suspected of being associated or sympathetic to the Jewish state were demanded to repudiate it publicly in order not to be excluded from social, political, economic and civic life.”

ACOM’s response has been to mobilize its activists to screen BDS activities in Spain. They then spend countless hours reaching out to decision makers and community leaders who have been fooled or misinformed about Israel. “It is important to invest on exposing the true nature and objectives of BDS, and the legal implications of supporting their declarations,” Mas writes, confessing that “sometimes, when all has failed and anti-Semitic resolutions are passed – in such cases our last resort is litigation.”

“Fighting BDS requires time, effort and resources,” says Mas, “but hiding is not an option for us. This is the place where the diaspora contributes to defend the Jewish State, and by doing that, we also defend our rights as citizens of Spain. We were expelled 500 years ago, but that will not happen again. Not under our watch.”

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