Open letter to the Minister of Culture and Sports
Madrid, 6 November 2018
Mr José Guirao Cabrera
Minister of Culture and Sports
From ACOM we would like to express to you our concern for the serious events that have taken place these last few days due to the attempts to boycott the match of the Waterpolo European Champions League that should have been celebrated with normality today between the Spanish and Israeli women’s teams.
As you will know, the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) calling for the boycott of the match, initially in the town of Molins de Rei and then in the city of Barcelona, is an extremist group internationally known and condemned for its promotion of anti-Semitism. And once again it has tried to restrict the freedoms of the citizens of the only and legitimate Jewish state in the world, and by extension of all of those of us who sympathise with it. And it has done so when their rights should have been guaranteed by our government and in our country.
The excuses and falsehoods used to promote a discriminatory boycott against the Israeli players, whether they are Jewish or Arab, based on any disagreement with their government are completely exposed when the harassment is only promoted against the team of the Jewish state. It is worth remembering that in the coming days the Russian team will play against Spain in the same championship. Neither the disgraceful situation of the human rights in that country nor the mistreatment of the LGBT minority or the democratic deficiencies of its government or the occupation of regions of Ukraine or Georgia have merited any initiative (which would also have been unacceptable) by these groups. Only against the team of Israel. The BDS movement and the CUP are only motivated in this case by the modern version of the ancient anti-Semitism, badly concealed with the new mask of “anti-Zionism”.
We have denounced the evident lack of respect for the international Olympic rules and for the Spanish democratic values shown by the politicians of Molins de Rei or Barcelona by accepting the coercion and accommodating the incitement to hatred against sports women who represent their country. But what is absolutely unacceptable is that the Government of Spain does not guarantee the celebration of a match in the place and under the normal conditions originally agreed between the federations of two countries approved by the Waterpolo European League. In particular, when the only obstacle for it is the gangsterism of an extremist and minority group that has imposed its will.
The calls to sports and cultural boycott are two of the greatest expressions of intolerance that can be shown; they are not only a lack of respect to the effort and perseverance of the athletes, but they intend to punish and discriminate against them for their national origin, which is unconstitutional in our country. Sadly, they also affect and despise the performance of the sportsmen and sportswomen who are their victims.
The surrender to this blackmail creates a dangerous precedent. Remember that there already was an attempt to boycott the classification match for the European Cup between the national football teams of Spain and Israel in Gijón last year, and that the Israeli teams in continental competitions are permanent victims of unacceptable demonstrations of political hostility in Spanish football grounds.
As the highest political representative of Spanish sports it is your responsibility to take the necessary and immediate measures so that these events are not consented again and that the two city councils that have cooperated with the result of this shameful boycott suffer the consequences of not being eligible for future sports events for which the Sports Council decides their location.
President of ACOM