Barcelona Mayor Nixes ‘Twin City’ Ties With Tel Aviv, Accuses Israel of ‘Apartheid’

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau. Photo: Reuters / Albert Gea.

February 9, 2023

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau announced on Wednesday that the Catalan capital was severing its “twin city” agreement with Tel Aviv, accusing the State of Israel of practicing “apartheid” against the Palestinians.

Colau — a member of the left-wing Barcelona en Comú who has been mayor since 2015 — claimed Israel had committed “repeated violations of the human rights of the Palestinian population” and was “incompliant” with United Nations resolutions.

She noted that Barcelona would maintain relations with Israeli and Palestinian entities that “continue to work for peace and against apartheid.”

The Federation of the Jewish Communities of Spain condemned Colau’s decision, describing it as “sophisticated antisemitism.”

“It is worrying to note that the actions and legitimacy of only one city and one country in the world are being questioned,” the federation said. “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.”

The Spanish pro-Israel group ACOM announced legal action against Colau and the Barcelona City Council, asserting they had turned Barcelona into the “most openly antisemitic city in Europe.”

Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa stated, “Mayor Colau has put Barcelona on the wrong side of history, undermining the chances for peace by encouraging Palestinian rejectionism. At a time when the Abraham Accords have opened new paradigms for reconciliation and engagement across the Middle East, Mayor Colau remains stuck in the past, refusing to recognize the long-proven futility of boycotts and isolation.”

“We urge Barcelona to live up to the values of inclusivity and mutual respect that it is known for and rethink the abhorrent path it has chosen,” he added.

Last month, Roytman Dratwa sent a letter to Colau, calling on her to preserve her city’s ties with Tel Aviv.

Furthermore, a petition organized by CAM with the same message — which can be read in full and signed here — has garnered nearly 10,000 supporters.