update deskBoycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS)

Barcelona mayor cancels meeting with Israeli official sans explanation

Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, had a successful meeting the prior day with her counterpart in Madrid.

Barcelona's skyline seen from atop the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, 2016. Photo by Menachem Wecker/JNS.
Barcelona's skyline seen from atop the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, 2016. Photo by Menachem Wecker/JNS.

Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem and Israel’s special envoy for innovation, was slated to meet in Madrid with the Spanish capital’s mayor on Wednesday. The mayor ended up being sick, so she met with deputy mayor Inma Sanz.

In Madrid, Hassan-Nahoum and Rodica Radian-Gordon, the Israeli ambassador to Spain, were told that the Spanish and Israeli capital cities have a “permanent relationship,” according to Spanish media.

“We have, of course, shown them the support and affection of the people of Madrid in the face of the terrible attack they suffered on Oct. 7, with so many people killed, with so many wounded, up to 9,000 wounded,” Sanz told reporters in Spanish.

Hassan-Nahoum was supposed to meet on Thursday with Jaume Collboni, the mayor of Barcelona, and with his deputy, but the two canceled without explanation and, per Spanish media, “without giving space for future collaborations between cities in the midst of the conflict between Israel and Palestine.”

“Collboni’s stance with Israel has been fuzzy in recent times,” the Spanish daily Vozpópuli added.

“Even if you do not agree with Israel, I do not understand cancelling a meeting with no explanation,” Hassan-Nahoum told JNS. “Surely having a dialogue about differences of opinion is more productive than cancel culture.”

Prior to the trip, which the nonprofit Fuente Latina organized, she stated in a news release that “Spanish is the world’s second most-spoken language, and Spain’s media dominates global Latino news coverage so battling this front of the media war is essential to winning hearts and minds.”

Last February, Barcelona suspended all ties with Israel. The next day, Madrid offered to replace Barcelona in a “twinning” relationship with Tel Aviv. Barcelona’s then-mayor was sued over the Israel boycott and subsequently lost her seat. Last September, Barcelona reversed its decision to boycott Israel.

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