Spanish Court Declares Anti-Israel Boycott Illegal in Landmark Ruling

Brooke Goldstein: “The Court looked under the mask of the so-called BDS movement and found illegal discrimination against Israelis.”

ALICANTE, SPAIN — A court in Alicante yesterday ruled that the adoption of an anti-Israel boycott by a local municipality was illegal and in violation of anti-discrimination laws.

The City Council of Pedreguer passed a decision last June committing the city’s support for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” against the State of Israel. The Council’s policy attempted to bar companies or individuals who do business in Israel or with Israelis from bidding for public procurement contracts in Pedreguer.

Yesterday’s judgement is a landmark blow to a recent strategy adopted by anti-Israel activists at a conference in San Sebastian, Spain, attended by leaders of the movement known as BDS. The conference boasted that human rights compliance boycotts would be unassailable in court and that city councils would be found within their rights to link the public procurement of goods and services with alleged violations of international law. In fact, the opposite is true, and the Court found the boycott to be illegal.

The case against the illegal discrimination was brought with the support of The Lawfare Project, a legal think tank and litigation fund that files legal cases against anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli discrimination around the world.

The Court issued a writ of interim injunction against Pedreguer’s anti-Israeli boycott in August, before reaching its final decision yesterday when it declared the boycott illegal and in breach of the civil rights of the individuals and companies targeted. It added that even if human rights became adopted as criteria in public tenders, the fact the Council only cited one country, the State of Israel, made its policy discriminatory, unconstitutional, and illegal.

The judgement not only discredits the legal reasoning of the latest boycott strategy; it also casts doubt on the legality of plans by anti-Israel activists to use the recommendations of the notoriously biased and discredited UN Human Rights Council as a basis for policy-making.

Brooke Goldstein, the Director of The Lawfare Project, said:

“The Court looked under the mask of the so-called BDS movement and found illegal discrimination against Israelis and those who do business with them. Anti-Israel activists hoped Spain would be a guinea pig in their global hate campaign but, more like a lemming, their strategy just fell off a cliff.”

The Lawfare Project’s Spanish counsel, Ignacio Wenley Palacios, said:

“This is a meaningful ruling against the best legal efforts put forward by the boycott campaign. Boycotts against Israelis, and companies that do business with them, despite abusing the language of international law, have been judged illegal by the mere argument that breaches of human rights ought to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and not cast on grounds of national origin. The law regards conduct, not facts that people cannot change, such as the country they were born in. This case has set an important precedent for Spain and beyond.”

About The Lawfare Project: Headquartered in New York, The Lawfare Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a legal think tank and litigation fund committed to protecting the civil and human rights of the pro-Israel and Jewish communities in the U.S. and abroad. To learn more, please visit

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