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BDS groups from the Spanish State and RESCOP (the Spanish Network Against the Occupation of Palestine) welcome Podemos’ recognition of the right to BDS as a legitimate exercise of the freedom of expression

March 30, 2017
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On March 23, 2017, the Spanish leftist political party Podemos declared its support for the right to advance the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights. On March 30, a BDS campaign in Spain released the following statement. (Read the statement in Spanish here.)

Derecho a Boicot

Derecho a Boicot / Right to Boycott

On March 23, Pablo Bustinduy, Secretary of Foreign Relations of the Spanish leftist political party Podemos, and the Spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the parliamentary group “Unidos Podemos–En Comú Podem–En Marea,” together stated in a letter addressed to Alfonso María Dastís, current Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Spanish Government:

We will continue working to ensure respect for human rights and international law in Palestine, and for the right to freedom of expression, which protects campaigns like the one led by BDS and supports the actions of human rights defenders, which are legal and legitimate efforts to make visible the continuous violations of the rights of the the Palestinian people.

As RESCOP and BDS groups from the Spanish State, we applaud this step forward in recognizing the right to BDS as an exercise of freedom of expression, a fundamental pillar of democracy and the rule of law.

This is not the first time that political and governmental representatives have declared their support for the Right to BDS. Federica Mogherini herself did it this last October and representatives of the governments of Sweden, Ireland and the Netherlands have also expressed their support for this right. In addition, more than 350 human rights organizations from across Europe and 200 legal experts have recognized in BDS a legal and legitimate tool for freedom of expression, a freedom that is deeply valued and enshrined both in national domestic laws and in many international human rights conventions.

These demonstrations of support and recognition are particularly welcomed at this time when human rights defenders advocating for the rights of the Palestinian people and BDS activists are being strongly persecuted.

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement for Palestinian rights, has been subjected for years to intense threats, intimidation and repression by various groups of Israel’s right-wing government, particularly after it labeled the movement a "strategic threat" to its entire system of injustice against the Palestinian people. Since March 19, Barghouti has been subjected to a new campaign of pressure and delegitimation that tries to intimidate and curb his work and that of those like him who defend the human rights of the Palestinian people.

In the same vein, we echo and support the parliamentary question presented by Podemos to the Spanish Congress in relation to the position of the Spanish Government on the report of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), titled "Israeli Practices against the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid," which confirms the existence of apartheid in Palestine as defined by the International Convention for the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid from 1973,  which unfortunately the Spanish State has not ratified.

Rima Khalaf, the director of ESCWA, was forced to resign, following pressure from the US and Israeli governments to withdraw the report. In the words of Mahmoud Nawaja, General Coordinator of the Palestinian National BDS Committee (BNC):

Palestinians are deeply grateful to ESCWA’s director, Dr. Rima Khalaf, who preferred to resign in dignity than to surrender her principles to US-Israeli bullying. At our darkest moment of Israel’s escalating repression, including of nonviolent human rights defenders, ongoing theft of Palestinian land, and worsening apartheid policies, Palestinians are hopeful that this groundbreaking report heralds the approaching dawn of a new era where Israel's regime of injustice will be held accountable through sanctions and other measures, as was done against apartheid South Africa.


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