Tav­ernes’ mayor faces anti-Semitism ac­tion

Costa Levante News - - NEWS -

By Joe Wick­man LE­GAL ac­tion has be­gun against Tav­ernes town coun­cil for its al­leged links to an ‘an­tiSemitism’ cam­paign – and could lead to crim­i­nal charges against the mayor.

A to­tal of 12 coun­cil­lors in La Safor’s north­ern­most town, in­clud­ing mayor Jordi Juan i Huguet, have re­port­edly joined the in­ter­na­tional move­ment known in Span­ish as Boicot, Desin­ver­siones y San­ciones con­tra Is­rael, or BDS (Boy­cott, Di­vest­ment and Sanc­tions).

It aims are to en­cour­age ex­actly as the name sug­gests among as many coun­tries as pos­si­ble un­til Is­rael with­draws from oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries, brings down the West Bank bar­rier, en­shrines equal rights for Arab-Pales­tini­ans in Is­rael in law, and al­lows Pales­tinian refugees to re­turn to their homes.

The BDS is in league with anti-apartheid asso­ciations and draws par­al­lels be­tween the two is­sues.

But those who op­pose the BDS point out that Jews and Arab Pales­tini­ans min­gle freely and live next door to each other ev­ery­where in Is­rael ex­cept on the West Bank, with no forced seg­re­ga­tion, un­like the oblig­a­tory split be­tween white and black com­mu­ni­ties in South Africa un­til the 1990s.

Dis­senters of the BDS have com­pared it to the Nazis boy­cotting Jewish traders in the run-up to World War II, and call it an­ti­semitic.

As well as push­ing for coun­tries to stop in­vest­ing in and trad­ing with Is­rael, the BDS move­ment urges artists, sportsper­sons and aca­demics to refuse to hold or take part in any events in the Mediter­ranean coun­try, and puts pres­sure on Is­raelis not to join any ac­tiv­i­ties out­side their coun­try. Ac­cord­ing to the Ac­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion on the Mid­dle East (ACOM) as­so­ci­a­tion, the mo­tion tabled and ap­proved in Tav­ernes de la Valldigna in March 2016 to join the BDS – sec­onded by the so­cial­ists, United Left and the reign­ing party Com­pro­mís – was based upon a text that ‘in­cited hate’ and ‘made it clear’ that it sup­ported ‘ac­tive dis­crim­i­na­tion’ against Is­rael and also against ‘any per­son, Span­ish, Is­raeli or for­eign, Jewish or non-Jewish, who did not sup­port the po­lit­i­cal ob­jec­tives’ of the BDS.

If it turns out Tav­ernes’ mayor and the other 11 coun­cil­lors are guilty of anti-Semitism, they could be hit with a ban on hold­ing pub­lic of­fice, or even a sus­pended or ac­tual prison sen­tence. UK town coun­cils faced le­gal ac­tion four years ago by the Jewish Hu­man Rights Watch (JHRW) group, in­clud­ing Swansea, Gwynedd, and Le­ices­ter.

The lat­ter opted to boy­cott only goods com­ing from il­le­gal Is­raeli West Bank set­tle­ments to dis­cour­age the con­tin­u­ing oc­cu­pa­tion.

But the JHRW’s case was thrown out by the High Court and then the Court of Ap­peal in July this year, and all lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in­volved were ac­quit­ted of anti-Semitism. MORE fund­ing and staff for ob­stet­rics and pae­di­atrics have been ‘ac­ci­den­tally’ ap­proved for Llíria hos­pi­tal af­ter a mo­ment’s con­fu­sion in re­gional Par­lia­ment.

The PP and Ci­u­dadanos had pro­posed the ad­di­tional cash as part of the re­gion’s 2019 bud­get, but it looked set to be re­jected.

Par­lia­men­tary chair En­ric Mor­era, open­ing the votes on the bud­get en­tries, an­nounced: “Ladies and gen­tle­men, the meet­ing has started,” then cor­rected him­self – “oops, I mean the vot­ing has started.”

Laugh­ter at his slip-up fol­lowed, and a num­ber of MPs did not hear Mor­era’s ‘amend­ment’, whilst oth­ers be­came dis­tracted – and missed cast­ing their vote.

Out of 95 MPs, only 71 voted, of whom 41 were the PP and Ci­u­dadanos, whilst 30 from other par­ties voted against and 24 failed to hit the buzzers in time.

Vot­ing rounds, even if mis­takes are made, are bind­ing, mean­ing the pro­posal has gone through and can­not be re­versed.

Deputy spokes­woman for Com­pro­mís – the joint rul­ing party in re­gional gov­ern­ment along with the so­cial­ists – Mireia Mollà said Mor­era had not fin­ished say­ing that the vot­ing had com­menced, which is why so many MPs did not hit their yes/no but­tons.

But Mor­era – also Com­pro­mís – ad­mit­ted he had fin­ished the sen­tence and that there was ‘no go­ing back’.

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