Inmaculada Colau, Ada since her days as a fierce activist and current mayor of Barcelona, has decided to break off relations with Israel, and incidentally also the twinning agreement that has linked the Catalan city with Tel Aviv, Israel’s economic capital, since 2008. The lady took such a decision by decree, thus avoiding submitting it to the plenary of the municipal government itself, arguing that this way she was giving effect to the petition that 4,135 signatories had expressed to her in this regard.
The fact that Ms. Colau holds the municipal baton in Barcelona, where she has only 10 councillors out of a total of 41, is a privilege she owes to the 10 councillors of the Socialist Party (PSC), a relative majority that was also made possible by the former French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, who facilitated the agreement thanks to the strength of the six seats won by his Barcelona pel Canvi-Ciutadans coalition.
Valls, after being reunited with his homeland and finding love again, considered his failed political adventure in Spain to be over and returned to France in search of political honours that today seem almost impossible. His old French Socialist Party is now a relic with no prospect of re-emerging. In bequeathing Ada Colau to the people of Barcelona, its citizens have seen the deterioration of a city that was once the most prosperous, open and cosmopolitan in Spain. That 1.2 million crimes were reported last year for a population of 1.6 million is indicative, a lack of security compounded by growing filth, an almost confiscatory taxation that discourages potential investors from settling, growing hostility towards one of the city’s traditional economic lungs, tourism, and an Olympic record for squatting. The mafias are on the rampage while the Guardia Urbana and the Mossos complain that their hands are tied and that they are unable to act in the face of the continuous disturbances of public order. This sadly exhaustive enumeration is the work of Eva Parera, councillor and mayoral candidate for the new formation called Valents.
Israel and its economic capital Tel Aviv are world champions in the creation of emerging companies, start-ups if you prefer the Anglo-Saxon name. And Ms Colau can think of no better way to foster economic relations with the Middle Eastern country that most resembles us in terms of democratic values than this abrupt rupture. And she does so in contravention of article 149 of the Spanish Constitution, which gives the state, and not the provinces or cities, exclusive competence in international relations. In reality, this latest outburst is in line with a repeated line of Catalan separatism, whose “embassies” abroad have allocated considerable resources to promoting the famous procés and discrediting Spain, of which Catalonia is a part, in the process.
Ada Colau justifies the break with Israel on the grounds that Barcelona does not share the apartheid she claims Israel practises. This assimilation to the regime that was established in South Africa between 1948 and 1991 is, to say the least, a gross manipulation of reality. As Gabriel Albiac recalls, quoting Maxwell Coetzee’s accounts, it was “a hermetic system of racial separation between populations, where Parliament and Government were built on exclusive white supremacy, and where the indigenous population had no access to the institutions of the State”.
Rather, Ms. Colau’s actions would be in line with BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, in which it is not difficult to find Iran’s moral and financial influence.
Both the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain (FCJE) agree in describing this unilateral action taken by decree as regrettable. It would not be fair-minded to consider that the whole of Barcelona has fallen into crass anti-Semitism. The mayor knows this so well that she did not even want to discuss it with the 31 councillors who do not belong to her party, i.e. three quarters of the political forces in the City Council, who are supposed to represent at least three quarters of the population of Barcelona.
The latter should challenge a personal decision that places the Catalan capital, obviously involuntarily, among the Judeophobic ones, and therefore Catalonia and Spain. In short, the fact that this lady can do as she pleases and the whole country pays the consequences should not go unpunished.
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