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Why Barcelona’s Suspension of Twinning With Tel Aviv is Worse Than You May Think

In case you didn’t already hear, Barcelona has severed ties with twin city Tel Aviv on the grounds that Israel’s treatment of palestinian Arabs amounts to “apartheid”.

Barcelona has severed ties with twin city Tel Aviv on the grounds that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians amounts to “apartheid”.

Speaking at a press conference, Ada Colau, the city’s left-wing mayor, said: “More than 100 organisations and over 4,000 citizens have demanded that we defend the human rights of Palestinians and for this reason, as mayor, I have written to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to inform him that I have suspended temporarily the institutional relationship between Barcelona and Tel Aviv”.

Spain’s Jewish federation said in a statement in response to the move: “It is worrying to note that the actions and legitimacy of only one city and one country in the world are being questioned.

“Israel is the only Jewish country in the world and for this reason, as we understand it, this decision has nothing to do with politics and human rights. This is what is called ‘sophisticated antisemitism’.”

In Colau’s letter to Netanyahu she says that the petition called on her office to “condemn the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, support Palestinian and Israeli organisations working for peace and break off the twinning agreement between Barcelona and Tel Aviv”.

I agree this smells like antisemitism, although Spain’s Jewish federation got it wrong when they said “the actions and legitimacy of only one city and one country in the world are being questioned.” Barcelona did suspend its relationship with St Petersburg, Russia, another twin city, after the start of the war in Ukraine.

Nevertheless, there is another twin city where actual apartheid is practiced. Where no Jews are allowed and if they did manage to enter, would not make it out alive.

Gaza.

(In fact, Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau would likely not make it out alive either, whereas in Tel Aviv, she would feel right at home).

And they also don’t seem to have a problem twinning with Shanghai, in habitual human rights abuser China. Nor Esfahan in habitual human rights abuser Iran, where Colau would again run into problems as a bisexual woman.

This isn’t even the first time the council has shown gross insensitivity towards the Jewish community. One other egregious example was back in 2017, when palestinian Arab terrorist Leila Khaled was invited by the Literal Festival, which although a cultural event organized by a private group, did receive funding from the Barcelona municipality. They shirked responsibility by claiming they do not influence content or select the guests. To make matters worse, festival posters featuring Khaled’s ugly mug were plastered over the city’s lampposts, and the council refused to condemn it or her participation.

If you think this decision is solely about Israel, you probably think the Spanish Inquisition was too.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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