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Booted: Spanish mayor who boycotted Israel loses election

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By World Israel News Staff

Outgoing Barcelona Mayor Ada Calau, a pro-Palestinian activist who recently severed ties with Tel Aviv, lost the municipal election this week to candidate Xavier Trias’ Calau, a former mayor whom she beat in 2015.

In February, Calau, who supports the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, announced on social media her decision to end the 25-year-long twin-city arrangement with Tel Aviv.

“At the request of more than 100 entities and thousands of Barcelona neighbors, I have just communicated to Netanyahu that we suspend institutional relations with the State of Israel due to the repeated violations of human rights of the Palestinian population and non-compliance with United Nations resolutions,” she wrote on Facebook in Spanish, and on Instagram.

The city will maintain relations with “Israeli and Palestinian entities that continue to work for peace and against apartheid,” she added.

It appears that the statement by Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat, saying the decision was “in complete contrast to the position of the majority of the residents of Barcelona and their representatives in the city council,” was correct, judging by her loss.

“The friendship between Israel and Barcelona is long-standing, and is based on shared culture and values. Even this unfortunate decision will not damage this friendship,” Haiat said.

The Spanish government slammed Calau’s decision.

Several weeks later, a Jewish house of worship in Barcelona was vandalized; it was the second such incident in the city in less than 10 days, JNS reported at the time.

Graffiti reading “Why do you kill in Palestine” was spray-painted outside a Chabad synagogue in the city.

In the first incident, the Great Synagogue of Barcelona was defaced with graffiti reading, “Free Palestine from the river to the sea.”

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, blamed that desecration on Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau’s decision to sever the city’s twinning agreement with Tel Aviv.

“The irresponsible decision of the mayor of Barcelona to unilaterally sever relations with the State of Israel has put the Jewish community in the city in real danger,” said Goldschmidt. “Every additional case of vandalism and bloodshed as a result of this unfortunate choice will be on her hands.”

The Lawfare Project filed a lawsuit against Calau in April. “The suspension of relations with Israel represents a total misuse of the legal process to engage in a bigoted and partisan campaign, rather than a legal decision within the scope of the Mayor of Barcelona’s power,” explained LP’s executive director Brooke Goldstein.

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