The Lawfare Project Wins Major Victory Against Anti-Israel Boycott in Spain

This is the latest in a series of wins for the civil rights organization as it challenges discriminatory municipal laws in Spain


The Lawfare Project won a major legal victory in the form of a temporary injunction handed down by the 9th District Court in Barcelona, which prevents the application of the boycott of Israeli persons and businesses previously approved by the city of Molins de Rei. Molins de Rei has had the boycott in place since 2013 when it was passed by the City Council. The temporary injunction is expected to be followed up by a permanent ruling in the coming months. 

In November 2018, the Women's Water Polo World League match between Israel and Spain was set to take place in Molins de Rei. Just days before the match, the Nautical Club—which was to host the event—announced that the match would be cancelled due to "logistical and security" reasons. It was later learned, through the Israeli embassy in Spain, that the match was cancelled due to anti-Israel boycott pressure on the city. Although the match was eventually permitted to take place following public outcry, it was played behind closed doors and without the public being allowed to attend.

This type of boycott is rooted in antisemitism and is in clear violation of Spanish law. Israeli persons and businesses cannot be discriminated against due to their national origin or religion.

Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, released the following statement: 

"The decision by Molins de Rei to cave under pressure from a discriminatory boycott campaign was a de facto decision to strip these Israeli athletes of their human rights. The court's decision re-enforces the fact that the commercial boycott of Israeli individuals and businesses is illegal and adherence to the boycott will not be tolerated in Spain. The Lawfare Project will continue to fight municipal efforts to codify hate into law in Spain and throughout Europe."

Ignacio Wenley Palacios, The Lawfare Project's counsel in Spain and the author of the complaint, said the following:

"The denial of sports facilities to Israeli teams and athletes not because of their conduct, but because of their national origin, is particularly odious; it breaches fundamental rules of international sports federations and compromises fair competition. Sports championships must be open to every eligible athlete and nation to compete free from discrimination."

Of all the countries in Europe, Spain has the highest number of municipalities that have adopted discriminatory resolutions and other official policies of refusing to enter into any agreements or contracts with Israeli entities and entities that do business with Israeli companies. The Lawfare Project has initiated legal actions in various Spanish courts to invalidate these discriminatory council decisions. To date, our Spanish counsel has successfully nullified 65 city and local resolutions and paved the way for criminal action against government officials and councils that continue to adopt illegal boycott-related policies. Within the past two weeks alone, our legal actions resulted in a court annulment of a boycott adopted by the City Council of Sant Celoni, as well as a court judgment against a boycott decision of the City Council of Rianxo (Galicia).

* * * The Lawfare Project is a global network of legal professionals that contribute their skills, time, and expertise to defending the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and pro-Israel community and fighting discrimination wherever they see it.

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