Last week Palestinian Authority television began broadcasting a commercial urging Palestinians to boycott Israeli goods. As reported by Palestinian Media Watch, the sponsorship credits at the end of the ad list:
The Spanish government,
the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
AECID (Spanish governmental humanitarian aid development),
ACSUR (a Spanish non-profit organization),
Canaan Joint Development Project for Jerusalem (Palestinian).
This story illustrates the sad decline in Spanish-Israeli and Spanish-Jewish relations under Spain's current government, led by President Jose' Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party. His government seems to be a throwback to that of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, which expelled all Jews from Spain in 1492. [I take this personally, as the descendent of exiled Spanish Jews. My grandfather Ralph Cohen, after whom I am named, was a Greek Jew whose first language was Ladino, the Judaeo-Spanish dialect.] President Zapatero is squandering the years of gradual reapproachment between Spain and world Jewry that began at the end of the Franco regime. His primary foreign relations objective appears to be friendly relations with the Islamic world, as the Islamic reconquista of Al Andalus continues.
In sad contrast, the previous President, Jose Maria Aznar Lopez, of the Partido Popular (affiliated in the European Parliament with the centrist Christian Democratic European People's Party) was and remains an outspoken advocate of democracy, individual freedom and friendship with Israel. Indeed, he founded the Friends of Israel initiative, whose stated goal is to "counter the attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel and its right to live in peace within safe and defensible borders".
UPDATE Jan. 12. 2011:
The Spanish government denies its sponsorship of the Palestinian Authority boycott adverstisement. Speaking to Israel's Channel 2 television news, a spokesperson said, "We [the Spanish government] don't know about a broadcast that we funded. The Spanish government logo was used without our knowledge." Channel 2 further reports that following its inquiry, the Spanish government has opened an investigation to find out exactly what happened. Source: Palestinian Media Watch.