Judicial blow to the Spain’s largest university for the boycott against Israel

After a contentious-administrative appeal presented by ACOM the courts have annulled the agreement of the Students’ Delegation of the Faculty of Political Science and Sociology of the Universidad Complutense that declared said university as a “Space Free of Israeli Apartheid (ELAI)” and adhered to the BDS discriminatory campaign (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel).

The Contentious-Administrative Court number 16 of Madrid, in ruling 132/2024, accepted the appeal presented by ACOM -Action and Communication on the Middle East- against the Universidad Complutense in Madrid against the resolution of 16 May 2023 of the Vice-Dean of Students of the Universidad Complutense, which rejected the appeal of ACOM against the Agreement of 1 February 2023 of the Students’ Delegation of the Faculty of Political Science and Sociology adhering to the BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel) and to the “Space Free of Israeli Apartheid” seal.

The judge annuls the agreement for being against the law and not being based on any of the causes for inadmission expressed, declaring the acceptance off the appeal.

The court considers that the agreement made by the Students’ Delegation violates the principle of neutrality and objectivity that must guide the actions of a public university such as the Universidad Complutense (Article 1.1 of its Statutes). The ruling also states that the agreement violates Article 2.1 of said Statutes (“On the non-discrimination, equality of opportunities, and respect for fundamental rights”) that indicate that “In all its rules and actions the Universidad Complutense will strive to avoid any discrimination for reasons of birth, race, sex, religion, opinion, or any other personal or social circumstance”.

The ruling insists especially that the resolution against Israel involves a direct infraction of the constitutional principle, with the rank of fundamental right, recognised in Article 14 of the Spanish Constitution and developed by a large constitutional doctrine and jurisprudence (“Spaniards are equal before the law, and no discrimination may prevail for any reason of birth, race, sex, religion, opinion, or any other personal or social condition or circumstance”).

Also, other constitutional principles are violated in the agreement: violation of the fundamental rights of ideological and religious freedom (Article 16 of the Spanish Constitution) and freedom of expression (Article 20 of the Spanish Constitution). The ruling literally quotes that “the agreement made institutes barriers for the academic institutions of Israel and institutions related to them to be able to participate in the university life at the Universidad Complutense exposing their academic results, research, social and economic points of view, etc.; which doubtless is especially serious precisely for being a university environment, which is the environment par excellence for debate and contrast of ideas”.

In ACOM we celebrate the annulment of said discriminatory agreement that broke the principles of competence, objectivity, and ideological neutrality. As a reference group of the Spanish civil society that fights against antisemitic discrimination and the harassment against the only Jewish state, and having managed to annul 88 institutional agreements to date, 10 of them endorsed by Higher Courts of Justice throughout the country, and even by the Supreme Court, and after this forceful ruling reminds it of the unconstitutional nature and illegality of its discriminatory measures that violate our common framework of coexistence, we demand of the Universidad Complutense to stop all incitement of hatred against Jews.