Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau has announced that the city is no longer twinned with Tel Aviv, citing claims that Israel is guilty of “apartheid,” as well as “flagrant and systematic violation of human rights.”
Barcelona and Tel Aviv entered the relationship in 1998 — when both cities jointly signed a “twin city” agreement. Colau’s decision comes less than a year after Barcelona launched two linked campaigns — “Shalom Barcelona” and “Barcelona Connects Israel” to appeal to Jewish and Israeli tourists interested in exploring their heritage. Last summer, the city opened up the world’s first Michelin-starred kosher restaurant.
Various Jewish organizations condemned the decision, including the Federation of the Jewish Communities of Spain condemned the decision, which it called “sophisticated antisemitism” and StopAntisemitism, who tweeted Spain was once again “boycotting Jews”.
MK Dan Illouz (Likud) also responded to the decision and said, “Severing ties with a partner country while continuing to support the terror in Gaza is hypocrisy at its most alarming state. Israel and Spain have always enjoyed a fruitful relationship in regards to tourism and economics. I urge Mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau to reconsider this stance.”
Tourism Minister Haim Katz asked the mayor of Barcelona to reverse the decision, stating “Our relations with Spain are strong, Israeli tourists love traveling to Spain and we warmly welcome Spanish tourists. We want to see an increase in tourism from Spain. This is a regrettable and fundamentally incorrect decision, politics and tourism must be separated. The internal conflict in Israel is challenging, we work to cultivate Arab society that seeks to integrate into the country. The army operates with morality and wisdom, while maintaining strict adherence to human rights.”