BDS win for Israeli university

January 7, 2016 Agencies
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Spain’s National Court has awarded compensation to Israel’s Ariel University declaring its exclusion from an inter-university competition was “illegal- null and void” following an unprecedented government decision.

Ariel University was invited in 2008 to participate in the international competition Solar Decathlon Europe by the Spanish Ministry of Housing, the organiser of the contest. The event was open to universities from all over the world, which had been were invited to participate by designing a “Green House” supplying its own energy needs.

Ariel University team

Ariel University team

Ariel University was selected as one of 21 finalist universities and only Israeli and Middle Eastern finalist in the competition.

The Ariel University School of Architecture, headed by Professor Architect Beni R. Levy, participated with a project called the “Tent of Abraham” (Ohel Avraham), named after the biblical figure Abraham, who was known as a gracious host and whose tent was open to all visitors (see attached photos).

On September 11, 2009 The Spanish government notified Ariel University that its team had been expelled from the competition stating, “…the fact that your institution is located in the occupied territories and since we are bound to respect the position of the European Union in relation to this matter, we are compelled to announce that it will not be possible for your center to continue in this competition.”

The decision of the Spanish Ministry of Housing followed pressure from the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) movement, which seeks to delegitimize of Israel worldwide, to have Ariel University disqualified from the competition solely on political grounds.

The decision to compensate Ariel University and to declare that the disqualification was null and void followed Ariel University’s lawsuit in Spain’s National Court (“Audiencia Nacional”) in Madrid.

The lawsuit was filed by the University’s representatives, the law firm of Cremades Calvo Sotelo Abogados in Madrid in coordination with the University’s Anti-BDS Committee headed by Executive Committee Member, Adv. Marc Zell of Jerusalem.

In ruling against the Administration, the Madrid court rejected the government’s refusal to address Ariel University’s claim and decided, in 2013, that the Administration was required to examine and resolve Ariel’s claim, after considering the views of the Spanish Council of State, which operates as the supreme advisory to the Spanish Government.

Following the Madrid court’s ruling, the Spanish Ministry reformulated its stance in March 2014 and admitted that the excision of Ariel University was null and void and that the expulsion was illegal. This position was approved by the Spanish Council of the State in June 2014.

In ordering compensation, the Spanish Administration reasoned that Ariel University had been subjected to “discrimination with respect to the rest of the participants in the competition”, which “constitutes a breach of the fundamental right of equality declared in Section 14 of the Constitution”.

Last week the Spanish Government remitted compensation to Ariel University in the amount of 70,000 Euros which, when added to the 30,000 Euros previously refunded by the Ministry, makes a total of 100,000 Euros paid to the University as a result of its illegal expulsion from the Solar Decathlon Competition.

Following this decision Ariel University’s Chancellor, Yigal Cohen-Orgad, emphasized that the final decision of the Spanish Administration is part of the necessary legal and moral answer to the pressures of the BDS and proves that the efforts to boycott Israel internationally can and should be thwarted.



One Response to “BDS win for Israeli university”
  1. Erica Edelman says:

    Finally some action through the courts. No doubt the BDS movement will see this as a smack on the wrist. This group should be made, legally, to shut down their witch-hunts and its perpetrators forced to get REAL jobs. Nobody has apparently told them that racism and racial discrimination is illegal.

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