A Spanish court has admitted a criminal complaint filed against the leader of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, Omar Barghouti, the group behind the lawsuit said.
Madrid-based ACOM, which counters anti-Zionist and antisemitic discrimination, filed the suit after the City Council of Cadiz, a port town in southwestern Spain, unexpectedly canceled the Israeli Film Cycle in 2017, which was organized in collaboration with the Israeli Embassy in Madrid and set to take place in a municipal building.
According to an email authored by the city’s councilor for culture, Eva Tubio Martinez, the cancellation was linked to the city’s “Space Free of Israeli Apartheid” pledge — a BDS measure adopted by the council’s Local Government Board in 2016.
Tubio Martinez and other city councilors were named in two subsequent lawsuits filed by ACOM — one administrative complaint against the council’s conduct, and the other a criminal complaint alleging a possible hate crime. The defendants also included Barghouti and the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucia, a local group that supports the BDS campaign in Cadiz.
A judge annulled the city council’s cancellation in March, ruling that the decision violated four fundamental rights enshrined in the Spanish constitution, including freedom of expression and anti-discrimination protections. “In that same line, the adhesion of the city to BDS has also been annulled by the courts,” ACOM said.
The same court then reopened the criminal case filed against individuals involved in the incident, which was suspended pending the administrative sentence.
Barghouti was included in the suit due to possibly committing “a crime of incitement to hatred according to article 510 of the Spanish Penal Code,” ACOM said.
The group highlighted statements by Barghouti acknowledging that “BDS demands would result in the destruction of Israel.”
“He has repeatedly stated his opposition to the two-state solution, instead calling for one Palestinian controlled-majority state,” ACOM said.
The BDS leader has in the past also come under criticism for legitimizing violence by Palestinian terrorist groups, saying in a 2011 appearance, “We are not ashamed to have armed resistance as well as peaceful resistance throughout our existence. People under occupation have a right to resist by all means.”