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Santiago de Compostela City Council agreement to boycott Israel, declared illegal!

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After a year-long legal battle, on December 20 the Public Court nº 1 of Santiago de Compostela issued  its decision that declared ilegal the boycott decision passed on November 2015 by the City Council of Santiago.

Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the Northwestern Spanish autonomous region of Galicia and the proceedings had been filed by Angel Mas, President of ACOM.

This boycott decision proclaimed the city a ‘Free Space from Israeli Apartheid’, affiliated the Council with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) international campaign against Israel and committed the City Council to refrain from any cooperation with Israel, its public bodies and officials in areas including agriculture, education, trade, culture or security. The City Council also agreed to support the BDS in every campaign for the trade, cultural, sports, academic or institutional boycotts.

The Court dismissed the argument raised by the town-hall that the boycott decision was nothing but an political statement, stressing that the actions and declarations of public bodies are subjected to the rule of law, meriting judicial review. The judgement stated that the Santiago City Council lacks competence for the adoption of such a resolution. Far from being a mere statement of principles, the agreement requires executive powers to apply the boycott and engage its targets, exceeding the powers granted to city councils in article 25 of the Bases of Local Rule Act, given that the boycotts fall outside the scope of any local interest, and it is not linked to the solution of particular local problems of the neighbours of Santiago.

Taking into account that the Council cannot claim competences that belong to the remit of foreign policy, the Court further stressed that it cannot understand how the decision could improve the efficiency of public management or met the needs and aspirations of the local community and hence it annulled the boycott decision.

After recent successes against anti Israel discriminatory decisions in Sant Adriá (Barcelona), Santa Eulalia (Ibiza) and now Santiago, ACOM will continue its initiatives in cooperation with The Lawfare Project to provide an adequate response to these ilegal institutional BDS initiatives in Spain.

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