Barcelona Mayor Cuts City’s Ties with Israel

In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Ada Colau condemned the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people and said she was breaking off a symbolic, sister-city twinning agreement with Tel Aviv.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau in city council in December 2022. (Ajuntament Barcelona, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By Julia Conley
Common Dreams

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau has announced her city is cutting ties with Israel and ending its symbolic 25-year-old “twin cities” relationship with Tel Aviv over the Israeli government’s violent anti-Palestinian policies.

Colau said at a press conference on Wednesday that the city council came to its decision in response to campaigning by more than 100 rights groups and 4,000 residents, who urged her to cut ties with Israel.

In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leftist mayor said her constituents called on her to “condemn the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, support Palestinian and Israeli organizations working for peace, and break off the twinning agreement between Barcelona and Tel Aviv.”

She added that she is “temporarily” suspending Barcelona-Israel relations “until the Israeli authorities put an end to the system of violations of the Palestinian people and fully comply with the obligations imposed on them by international law.”

“We cannot be silent,” wrote Colau. 

The letter and Colau’s announcement to the press come two weeks after an Israeli military raid on a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank killed at least nine Palestinians, including an elderly woman.

Colau said groups in Barcelona began urging her to cut ties with Israel after an 11-day air assault on Gaza in May 2021.

Groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Israel-based B’Tselem have accused the Israeli government of imposing apartheid policies on Palestinians, including its military occupation of the West Bank and its construction of settlements on Palestinian land.

Michael Lynk, the United Nations special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, also called Israel’s treatment of Palestine “apartheid” last year.

The Sanctions National Committee (BNC), one of the groups that helped push the Barcelona City Council to hold Israel accountable, applauded Colau’s move.

“Barcelona has become the first city council to suspend ties with apartheid Tel Aviv in solidarity with the Palestinian people, a move that is reminiscent of the historic and courageous city councils that pioneered cutting links with apartheid South Africa,” BNC said in a statement.

Julia Conley is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

The views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.


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31 comments for “Barcelona Mayor Cuts City’s Ties with Israel

  1. robert e williamson jr
    February 12, 2023 at 13:04

    Heads up! FYI and for what it’s worth.

    Monthly Review, former Israeli PM claims his attempts to a Russian Ukraine Peace deal were blocked by the U.S..

    MR gives a date of Feb 5, 2023 that story was originally posted at Ant-War. This attempt was dated as occurring March 4, 2022.

    Thanks CN,

  2. Paul Citro
    February 12, 2023 at 08:27

    Google search Raphael Lemkin’s definition of genocide. What Israel is doing to the Palestinians fits it exactly.

  3. cursoske
    February 11, 2023 at 15:35

    We know this clever lady very well in Spain. The real reason of this decission is not, like she says, that she doesn’t agree with Israeli genocidal treatment of Palestinians while we can see she’s unconcerned about China’s treatment of Uyghurs, Turkey’s treatment of Kurds, or Cuba’s oppressive regime by maintaining twin city status with Shanghai, Istanbul and Havana.
    The only real reason of this bright move is that Spring local elections are getting near & there’s lots of muslim inmigrant vote she is expecting to get.

  4. Blu Spencer
    February 11, 2023 at 12:49

    She’s a hero in my book..way to go Ada!

  5. Vera Gottlieb
    February 11, 2023 at 03:54

    BRAVO!!! BRAVO!!! BRAVO!!!

    • LarcoMarco
      February 12, 2023 at 19:02

      Brava! Brava!! Brava!!!

  6. Dr. Hujjathullah M.H.B. Sahib
    February 10, 2023 at 23:05

    Only by atomizing the apartheid Israeli state can Palestine be effectively restored to its original status of being the home to freely co-mingling Jewish and Palestinian peoples. But never mind for the moment, we may still welcome her snowflaky moves as something is better than nothing. But nah, I don’t think Spanish snow applied on the Zionist nuts will help reform Israel for the better !

  7. Templar
    February 10, 2023 at 21:04

    Imagine if the situation was reversed. A Palestinian government in Tel Aviv imposing apartheid policies and military raids on an exclusively Jewish-populated Gaza. It would take less than a nano-second for all the international bodies to condemn the Palestinian government.

  8. Mike
    February 10, 2023 at 20:28

    Great news! I personally have been boycotting anything made in Israel. I urge everyone to do the same. The US needs to get off it’s ridiculous position of supporting current apartheid Israel.

    • Eddy Schmid
      February 11, 2023 at 02:44

      Support your comment, and your actions. Have imposed similar actions upon myself. Study every item I buy these days, and if it’s made in Israel, I refuse to buy the things. One very popular Israeli manufactured item constantly on the shelves in my country, is the soft drink maker, where folks can make their soft drinks if they buy the materials supplied and manufactured in Israel. Boycott everything, I say.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      February 11, 2023 at 03:56

      I am with you…boycotting anything that comes from israel. As if Jews didn’t suffer enough under Hitler…The problem is that Jews carry a chip on their shoulder. This apartheid is based on racism.

  9. Daedalus
    February 10, 2023 at 19:51

    Bravo! If only American politicians had the same degree of honesty and courage.

  10. Theresa Swartz
    February 10, 2023 at 19:37

    She’s toast

    • Vera Gottlieb
      February 11, 2023 at 03:58

      Yeah…the day israel admits to being a racist state…the day israel stops smearing those who dare say the truth…the day israel admits to being a racist, apartheid state.

  11. Marika Czaja
    February 10, 2023 at 19:16

    What great news for a change! Let’s hope other people will discover that they have a backbone after all and will follow Ada Colau’s fine example.

  12. TRogers
    February 10, 2023 at 19:10

    Here’s another day in the life of Palestinians under Israel’s ethnic cleansing occupation.

    Two Palestinians killed, including prisoner who died due to ‘medical negligence’

  13. Bob Martin
    February 10, 2023 at 18:53

    Great, great news. As a person of Jewish descent who is embarrassed and appalled by Israel, I am very grateful for the mayor’s action.

  14. D.H. Fabian
    February 10, 2023 at 18:24

    Standard racism. Check a map of the Middle East. Israel, the sole Jewish natio0n, while 99% of the region consists of the many Arab countries, most of which are actual apartheid states. Jews are indigenous to that bit of land, the historic nation of Palestine, restored via the UN in 1948, and renamed Israel. Racists call Israel an “apartheid state” for refusing the cede Israel to the Arabs. It’s a most peculiar concept of “justice.”

    • Jack Stephen Hepburn Flanigan
      February 11, 2023 at 05:33

      I feel sorry for Fabian. Fabian whoever or whatever she or it is, is clearly brainwashed and ignorant. Such a shallow post should not deserve a response, the thing speaks for itself. I accept being cancelled it that is the case as this response is really stating the obvious with a trace of malice and possibly demonstrates my personal intolerance.


  15. Lois Gagnon
    February 10, 2023 at 17:00

    Let this mayor’s courageous act be the the snowball that starts the avalanche.

  16. Pavlusha
    February 10, 2023 at 16:56

    Stupid and hypocritical move! She should start with cutting ties with her own country’s government which holds 225 ETA members in prison. The status of Basque movement for independence is not much better than Palestinians in Israel.

    • Rafael
      February 11, 2023 at 01:53

      Does the name Puigdemont mean anything to you?

    • Piotr Berman
      February 12, 2023 at 00:36

      Aside from the facts that Catalans do not oppress Basques in any way, it is easy to mention at least 10 ways Basques are better off than Palestinians. Are Basques restricted in the use of water in their own territory, water being pumped to Castilla, forbidden wells and water cisterns destroys? Are they subject of denial of building permits and home demolitions? Are their orchards rooted out? Are Basques who left Basque Country for few years denied the right to return? Are they forbidden from importing books in Basque? Are they forbidden from occupations in “critical positions” like power generation or railroads? Are they forbidden to bring spouses to Spain when they marry abroad? Are they forbidden from marrying the Spanish? I am not sure if I have reached the count of 10, but Israeli inventiveness is so high that I surely could.

    • Thelo
      February 12, 2023 at 00:42

      Hello, Pavlusha. I don’t know where are you from, but I’m Spanish, from a region bordering Euskadi, and have Basque nationalist relatives (all of which I love). Even have a cousin who was in prison for helping ETA (and I think it was very unjust in his case). But, please, comparing the two conflicts is very ignorant. The ETA – Spanish State conflict was and is nowhere near the Palestine – Israel one, and we live in peace now, ETA disarmed on their own and everyone can travel freely and enjoy life. Even more, the Basque Country is one of the richest regions of Spain.

  17. Sharon
    February 10, 2023 at 15:25

    I did not know I could appreciate Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe’s “Barcelona” music video more.
    I hope this mayor’s move gives others of her stature the courage to brush off the bogus “anti-Semite” insults such moves always inspire.
    (Or are horrifyingly violent Israelis the only Semite peoples of the world?)

  18. February 10, 2023 at 15:15

    Wow!!!! It may be symbolic, but it’s something, and it shows great courage in light of the all-out attacks that will undoubtedly be launched, including calumny and defamation of character and other clandestine repercussions. Ask Jeremy Bernard Corbyn. Kudos!!!!

    • D.H. Fabian
      February 10, 2023 at 18:28

      Ha! Yes, Corbyn had not been shy about his views. It’s not that he’s racist – he just supports the destruction of the sole Jewish nation. (People declaring that racism isn’t really racism, when it’s directed against Jews because…)

      • Doug
        February 12, 2023 at 03:00

        There is no such thing as a Jewish nation , back in the Real World, thrre is the 2 state solution ,for what it’s worth
        Jeremy Corbyn does not have a racist bone in his body
        Jews are always for the oppressed never the oppressor
        I have no clue where that leaves you do you believe in Leprechauns

  19. doug s.
    February 10, 2023 at 14:58

    as a jew who’s embarrassed and appalled by israel, i think this is total awesomeness. i’ve commented about this (and other threads about israel) on f/b, and if i had a dollar for every time i was called a self hating jew, or something similar, i’d be rich!

  20. Valerie
    February 10, 2023 at 13:17

    It will take a lot more than this “symbolic” gesture to stop the supression and theft of land of the Palestinians. But muchas gracias Snra. Colau for expressing your solidarity with the Palestinian people in this way.

    • robert e williamson jr
      February 10, 2023 at 15:24

      I agree that it will take much more of this, however never dismiss that it cannot be effective when used as means to an end.

      She took at least the first step, something in this case that clearly sent a message, Ouch!

      This women shows lots of intestinal fortitude, good for her taking a stand, something so many more Americans need to do. Most of them being peer pressured insecure men, er . . . boys!

      Good deal!
      Thanks CN

Comments are closed.