Spanish Parliament Affirms Right to BDS as Protected Speech

Spanish parliament unanimously passed a motion recognizing the right to advocate for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as protected under the right to freedom of expression and association. Unidos Podemos (progressive parliamentary coalition) said:

On June 27th the International Cooperation Committee of the Spanish Congress unanimously approved a motion “to recognize and defend the right of human rights activists from Palestine, Israel and other countries to engage in legal and peaceful activities, protected by the right to freedom of speech and assembly, such as the right to promote boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns.”

This approval implies that Spanish must uphold those rights and act against the harassment of activists engaged in peaceful, legal and legitimate campaigns against the violation of human rights in Palestine. The Spanish Congress has joined the many voices that have already recognized the right to BDS as freedom of speech, like Federica Mogherini (EU Vice-President and High Representative), the Governments of Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden, and the Parliament of Navarre.

Ana Sanchez, International Campaigns Officer with the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) said:This is a victory for all those acting on their conscience by participating in the BDS movement for Palestinian human rights.

As boycotts, divestments and sanctions campaigns continue to grow around the world, state institutions in Europe, the United States and beyond are increasingly affirming the right of their citizens to participate in the BDS movement to advance Palestinian human rights. Boycotting all entities complicit with Israel’s military occupation and racist system of apartheid is just as legally protected and morally necessary as was the successful international boycott of apartheid South Africa. In fact, many business operations with Israel are carried out in breach of international law”.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Israeli military rule and nearly 70 years of Palestinian dispossession and ethnic cleansing. Enough is enough. It is encouraging to see support for Palestinian human rights grow across the Spanish state. This parliamentary ruling is clearly an expression of that growing popular support.

Dozens of Spanish cities have over the course of the last year declared themselves “Free of Israeli Apartheid,” joining the existing network of more than 70 Spanish public institutions, including provincial councils and a regional parliament, that have long taken a position against Israeli Apartheid.
Read full report in International Middle East Media Centre