BDS de­clared il­le­gal for all cities in Chile

The Jerusalem Post - - FRONT PAGE - • By LA­HAV HARKOV

It is il­le­gal for mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to boy­cott Is­rael, the Chilean Na­tional Comp­trol­ler de­ter­mined this week.

The comp­trol­ler’s de­ci­sion fol­lowed com­plaints from Shai Agosin Weisz, pres­i­dent of the Chilean Jewish com­mu­nity, as well as the Chilean com­mu­nity in Is­rael about the Val­divia mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s de­ci­sion to ban the city from sign­ing con­tracts with any com­pany linked to Is­rael.

Val­divia called on Is­rael’s am­bas­sador to Chile to be ex­pelled and de­clared it­self to be “the first mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Latin Amer­ica free of Is­raeli apartheid.” The mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s de­ci­sion ac­cused Is­rael of eth­nic cleans­ing and con­fis­ca­tion of Pales­tinian land.

The com­plainants said the ban vi­o­lates equal­ity be­fore law, as well as dis­crim­i­na­tion in eco­nomic mat­ters.

Chile is thought to be home to the largest Pales­tinian di­as­pora com­mu­nity out­side of the Mid­dle East, in­clud­ing over 500,000 peo­ple ac­cord­ing to some re­ports. Ac­cord­ing to the World Jewish Congress, there are 18,000 peo­ple who iden­tify as Jewish in Chile.

In the de­ci­sion, the comp­trol­ler de­ter­mined that, while the Chilean con­sti­tu­tion gives lo­cal gov­ern­ment a de­gree of in­de­pen­dence, it is the job of the head of state to con­duct re­la­tions with for­eign pow­ers, and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties do not have the le­gal author­ity to do so. As such, Val­divia’s boy­cott of Is­rael is not le­gal.

In ad­di­tion, any­one par­tic­i­pat­ing in a gov­ern­ment bid­ding process is legally en­sured “equal and non-dis­crim­i­na­tory treat­ment” un­der Chilean law. The law also pro­hibits “ar­bi­trary dis­crim­i­na­tion that is based on con­sid­er­a­tions such as na­tion­al­ity and that cause a de­pri­va­tion, dis­tur­bance of threat of the ex­er­cise in fun­da­men­tal rights,” the comp­trol­ler wrote.

Gabriel Colo­dro of the Chilean Com­mu­nity of Is­rael (CCHIL) said they are “pleased to re­ceive the pos­i­tive re­sponse of the Chilean Na­tional Comp­trol­ler declar­ing that boy­cotts against Is­rael are il­le­gal in the

mu­nic­i­pal field.”

CCHIL filed three out of four com­plaints against the boy­cott, with sup­port from ACOM, an or­ga­ni­za­tion seek­ing to strengthen ties be­tween Is­rael and Spain.

Still, Colo­dro warned that the Chilean Congress ap­proved a mo­tion to boy­cott Is­rael last week. The res­o­lu­tion de­clared east Jerusalem to be the Pales­tinian cap­i­tal with­out any men­tion

of western Jerusalem be­ing Is­rael’s cap­i­tal, a de­mand to rec­og­nize pre-1967 lines as the bor­der, and ac­cus­ing Is­rael of be­ing an apartheid state.

“This will be voted on as a law soon, and it is in our hands to con­tinue the path of seek­ing jus­tice, fight­ing an­tisemitism and im­prov­ing re­la­tions be­tween our two coun­tries,” Colo­dro said. •



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