Last Thursday, the High Court of Asturias —a region in Northern Spain, bathed in the Bay of Biscay, where boycott activists are influential in several city councils– dismissed in very clear terms, the appeal submitted by the City Council of Langreo against a successful Court action brought by Angel Mas —President of ACOM.
This is first appeal decision outside France –where economic boycotts are a felony.
The High Court of Asturias by rejecting the appeal confirms a previous judgement from a lower tribunal that had ruled the boycott decision illegal due to the lack of powers of the City Council neither to decree an international boycott nor to alter the European Directive and the national law on public procurement, and for blatant breaches of non-discrimination principles. The High Court has accepted the direct action of the petitioner, acknowledging our standing, expanding a previous constitutional doctrine on the matter that allowed any Jewish individual to sue for defamation addressed to any Jew or Jewish community, to bring any action based on discrimination or slander against Israelis.
The appellate decision agreed on the lack of power of a city council to order an international or domestic boycott, nullifying each paragraph of the boycott decision as they altogether shaped a decision by a public body that was in breach of the principles of equality before the law and non-discrimination.
As the lawyer who presented before the Court, the case against the appellant, it is a happy time. Not only the legal arguments of the High Court endorsed my brief, the decision is both persuasive and conclusive. Public bodies cannot enact the boycott against Israel without disembowelling the core civil liberties that shield us against the abuse of office. As the first ruling by a High Court in this matter, the impact of this appeal on city councils that may entertain the notion of boycotting Israel, or companies engaged in trade with Israel, could be remarkable. Councillors should now pay heed to the consequences of passing discriminatory policies or guidelines.