Yesterday Court number 4 of Oviedo ordered the immediate suspension of any operation concerning the decisions that the City Council of Langreo (Asturias) passed on 28 January 2016, declaring this coal-mining town of 42,000 inhabitants, an ‘Israeli Apartheid Free Space’, while endorsing cooperation with the campaign to boycott Israel.
The judicial judgement was issued in a fast-track proceeding for the protection of constitutional rights filed by Angel Mas —chairman of ACOM (Action and Communication on the Middle East)— who upholds that such Council decisions were in breach of the rights to academic freedom, equality before the law, non-discrimination, free speech, academic freedom, and the right to not be compelled to make any statement about ideology, religion or beliefs.
The Public Prosecutor supported the suspension of the BDS campaign as petitioned by the chairman of ACOM, who warned that the boycott is heavily charged political activism, with a deterrent effect for businesses who having any relation with Israel may intend to become public tenders, while hindering the rights of anyone who does not agree with the boycott’s inflammatory goals, to take part in municipal activities.
Court number 4 of Oviedo regarded that ‘risks of significant damage are apparent as the impugned decision of the City Council not only adheres and engages its support to a particular political campaign, but also orders action to regulate public procurement, and the adoption of the most diverse set of agreements, even encouraging cooperation with the movement called BDS (Boycott, divestment and sanctions)’.
‘The reach of this injunction is formidable’ —said Ignacio-Wenley Palacios, the lawyer who issued the proceeding against the Council of Langreo— ‘as the legal reasoning applies equally well to every other country in the European Union, where EU directives on public procurement, and the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA impose a legal obligation on public authorities when awarding contracts to treat EU and GPA suppliers such as Israel, equally, and not discriminate by the country of origin of any tender’.
The boycott campaign to Israel will remain in hold throughout the proceedings until the Court rules on the definitive annulment of the boycott campaign.
Having achieved a previous Court judgment in late February, that annulled a boycott in the town of Aviles, ACOM’s lawyers who already won an indemnity of €100,000 for Ariel University after it was excluded from an international architecture competition, and are now bringing criminal charges on hate crimes against a number of BDS activists who last summer targeted the American reggae singer Matisyahu, are setting up a framework to share the legal grounds of their successful Court actions with foreign institutions and NGOs, both in Europe and in America, that fight anti-Semitism and discrimination.
‘The boycott to Israel is thinly disguised anti-Semitism that reeks of discrimination. Legally, the endorsement of BDS campaign by public bodies breaches every core civil liberty. It is inappropriate outside the field of international legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions that only the UN Security Council may take. ACOM is determined to put an end to this campaign that hiding under the false flag of Peace of Human Rights, denies a negotiated solution for the Middle East Peace Process’ – said Angel Mas, President of ACOM.