The Palestinian Campaign of Boycott, Desinvestments and Sanctions against the State of Israel in the province of Valladolid (Spain)
Platform of Solidarity with Palestine-Valladolid
It has been now five years since 9th of July of 2005. That day, 171 organizations from the civil society of Palestine made an appeal to the International Community to join to the Palestinian Campaign of Boycott, Desinvestments and Sanctions against the State of Israel. The Spanish province of Valladolid (200 kilometers up north from Madrid; 500.000 inhabitants; its principal city and capital is also called Valladolid, with 315.000 inhabitants) has been one of the places of the world to pay attention to the Palestinian appeal. Slowly, the hard work made through 2009 and 2010 has become fruitful. The firsts concrete actions of boycott are now a reality: the Nursing School of the University of Valladolid and the City Council of the village of Villanueva de Duero have decided to remove the Israeli bottled water Eden from their vending machines of their buildings. This press release explains, in a short way, the followed road to these results.
Alter the Gaza’s Massacre
In the province of Valladolid, the issues of the Palestinian Campaign of Boycott, Desinvestments and Sanctions are coordinated through the Platform of Solidarity with Palestine, an organization created after the Gaza’s Massacre of December 2008 and January 2009. The Platform is formed by non government organizations, associations, trade unions, political parties, as well as persons as private citizens. Through 2009 and 2010, the Platform has made a strong effort to make the Palestinian Campaign of BDS known between the people of Valladolid. The members of the Platform thought that information and raising awareness about BDS were the indispensable and necessary previous steps to achieve the strength to make a real action of boycott. This decision agrees with the instruction of the Palestinian Committee of BDS, which leaves to the local organizations the most appropriate strategy for their working zones.
Among the many acts of information organized by the Platform –conferences, meetings, demonstrations, film documentary screenings, press advertisements, delivering of informative materials- stands out from the rest the University Congress ‘¿What can the university do against the violation of Human Rights in Israel and Palestinian Territories Ocuppied?’, celebrated simultaneously in November 2009 in the four public universities of the region of Castilla y León (in the universities of Salamanca, Valladolid, Burgos and León). The Congress meant to open an intense debate in the academic world in order to join the universities to the BDS Campaign. The Congress was a major boost to the movement of BDS in Valladolid as well in Castilla y León because of the importance of the participants –among them Sidumo Dlamini, president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu); Omar Jabary, coordinator for Belgium of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Isrsael (PACBI); Carlos Taibo, head of Department of Political Science of the Autonomous University of Madrid; or the university teachers Ana Manero, Rafael Escudero Alday or Agustín Velloso- and also because it was the first time that the four public universities of the Región of Castilla y León celebrated such an event in a simultaneous way.
In others moments, the Platform went out to the streets to meet the people. For example, in November 2009 in the Tourism Trade Fair of Valladolid, where a stand of the Government of Israel was installed. In an action of counter information, the Platform alerted visitors to the fake information of the Israeli stand, offering trips to occupied territories like East Jerusalem or Heights of Golan. Besides, we encouraged people to visit Palestine, delivering tourists guide of Palestine. Also, we deliver a letter to the persons in charge of the Israeli stand, communicating them that they were not welcome in Valladolid. It is important to emphasize the positive reaction of the Tourism Trade Fair visitors to our action.
Through 2009 and 2010, the presence of artists from Israel in Valladolid has been unusually habitual. That is because of the more and more strengthen commercials relations between Israel and the Government of Castilla y León (the region where Valladolid is placed) and the City Council of the capital. The shows of Noa, Mayumana, Jerusalem String Quartet or violinist Itamar Gonal have been responded by the Platform with demonstrations and informing to the audience. Also, the Platform protested against the Spanish pop group La Oreja de Van Gogh (Van Gogh’s ear) because of its Israeli tour organized by the Sefarad-Israel Home, an institution of supporting Zionism in Spain.
Beside this actions, the Platform asked the Government of Castilla y León and the City Council of the capital to stop the hiring of Israeli artists and, otherwise, promote the cooperation with Palestine. Also, the party Izquierda Unida (United Left) tabled a motion to the City Council for supporting Palestinian people.
To make boycott actions is not enough. Its efficacy decreases considerably if the society don’t know about it. Nowadays, the mass media are the main source of people’s information. That’s why the platform has tried, as a strategic working line, to get more presence in the media. We have intensified the relation with the local press of Valladolid and whit the journalists, giving them information of all of our acts and supplying them with statements and opinions.
Now, we can say that the Platform of Solidarity with Palestine-Valladolid is the qualified speaker in the province when the Palestinian issue hits the headlines on the local press. The news about the activities of the Platform are increasing constantly and it is habitual the presence of its members on debates, round tables and interviews in the local television stations and radios.
The response of the civil society
After a hard work year, the first results are here. In the past month of June, the teachers and workers of the Nursing School of the University of Valladolid asked to the Direction to remove Eden from the bottled water vending machines. The Direction agreed to that request. Some weeks later, the City Council of Villanueva de Duero has removed the Israeli bottled water Eden Springs Ltd. from all the municipal buildings. This way, Valladolid gives a huge step and joins to the Palestinian Campaign of Boycott, Desinvestments and Sanctions, which is taking place all over the world.
Platform of Solidarity with Palestine-Valladolid