23rd September 2023
Ada Colau
Barcelona News Catalonia News Madrid News Main News

Spanish Foreign Minister criticises Barcelona for cutting ties with Israel

The Spanish government has criticised a decision by the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, to cut the city’s ties with Israel, calling it a ‘unilateral move’ that would not bring ‘anything good’.

In a letter to Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, Colau said she had taken the step due to Israel’s ‘systemic violation’ of the rights of the Palestinian population.

Colau, a former anti-eviction activist, cited several Israeli policies including its construction of settlements on lands claimed by the Palestinians for a future state.

‘It would be a severe mistake to apply a policy of double standards and turn a blind eye to a violation that has been, for decades, widely verified and documented by international organisations,’ she added.

The largely symbolic measure, which had been requested by dozens of local groups, includes the end of a twinning agreement with Tel Aviv.

An open letter signed by more than 50 cultural figures from around the world, including four Nobel laureates, later praised Colau for her decision to suspend institutional ties with Israel. It was signed by actors such as Susan Sarandon, Viggo Mortensen and Stephen Rea and musicians including Marianne Faithful, Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno. 

The four Nobel Prize winners who added their signatures to the letter were the 2022 Nobel laureate for literature Annie Ernaux; Nobel Peace Prize winners Mairead Maguire and Jody Williams, and George P. Smith, who received the chemistry prize. 

Members of Barcelona’s Jewish community, however, accused the mayor of ‘sophisticated anti-Semitism’. 

Speaking at an event in Barcelona on Friday, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares called the move a ‘unilateral decision, and I understand an almost personal decision, by the mayor’.

‘I believe that Barcelona’s vocation is to be an open city, as Spain is,’ he said. ‘I do not believe that anything good is achieved by suspending, cutting, expelling, nor is a dialogue built between Israel and Palestine,’ he added.

Ada Colau
Ada Colau. (Barcelona City Council)

Sign up for the FREE Weekly Newsletter from Spain in English.

Please support Spain in English with a donation.

Click here to get your business activity or services listed on our DIRECTORY.

Click here for further details on how to ADVERTISE with us.

Recent Posts

J.A.Bayona’s ‘Society of the Snow’ chosen as Spain’s Oscar contender

News Desk

Spain must wait to see if EU will accept Catalan, Basque & Galician as official languages

News Desk

‘Protect me from what?’ asks Hermoso, as striking players arrive reluctantly for training

Sports Desk

Spain allows MPs to speak Catalan, Basque and Galician in Parliament – Vox walk out

News Desk

Spain’s new coach calls up majority of World Cup winners, despite them being on strike

Sports Desk

Madrid court hears first case of allegations of Franco-era police torture

News Desk

Leave a Comment