Paris, 19 January 2023

In an open letter supporting Isaac Benzaquen Pinto, a Spanish Jewish Community leader, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, demanded Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau to withdraw from a hateful campaign calling to break the twinning between the Catalonian capital and Tel Aviv.

Barcelona has a Friendship and Cooperation Agreement with Tel Aviv since 1998. Both cities are characterized as open and diverse societies, active in promoting art, culture, high-tech start-ups and tourism. Both are known worldwide as defenders of LGBT and minority rights.

Reportedly, a petition campaign under the spurious slogan “Barcelona with no Apartheid - NO”, has been signed by the number – of haters of Israel and the Jews – needed to call for a City Council vote.

That petition is in line with the international BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign specifically targeting Israel, and contravenes the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) Definition of Antisemitism, adopted by the EU, its member-States – including Spain –, other countries worldwide, international institutions, football clubs and municipalities...

On several occasions, the Wiesenthal Centre has urged Spanish cities and sport clubs to adopt the IHRA Definition, as a tool to identify antisemitism.

If Barcelona were to break its twinning with Tel Aviv, this would mark it as a city prone to hateful political manipulation... Indeed, after Tel Aviv and the Jews, who’s next?

The City Council will meet on 27 January – International Holocaust Commemoration Day – to vote in support of this foul action.

Our mentor, Simon Wiesenthal, was liberated by the Allies from the Mauthausen concentration camp, together with a number of other surviving inmates, among which his closest friends were Spanish Republicans and Roma. They stayed in contact throughout their post-War lives, supporting each other’s causes against discrimination.

“Simon would be aghast at the defacing of the Memory of the Holocaust and the pain inflicted on the Jewish community of Catalonia and of Spain,” concluded Samuels.

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For further information, contact Shimon Samuels at csweurope@gmail.com