The head of the press association in Granada, Spain, took off his belt and threatened to beat a Palestine solidarity protestor at the opening ceremony of a graphical exhibition celebrating “25 years of diplomatic relations between Spain and Israel,” the Spanish newspaper Diario de Cadiz reported today.
This is the latest of several incidents of violence being threatened or used against Palestine solidarity protests in recent weeks.
The assault was caught on film by Canal Sur and can be seen on Vimeo. The video shows a woman carrying a Palestinian flag at the event, while she and a comrade filming her call out “Free Palestine,” “Palestine will be victorious,” and “Boycott Israel” in Spanish. The two activists are from the group Plataforma Andalucía con Palestina [Platform Andalucia-Palestine].
The head of the press association, Antonio Mora, stood up from his seat on the podium, removed his belt, went down toward the woman with the flag and raised the belt above his head as if to strike her. Audience members then tried to calm the visibly agitated Mora and he sat down in the audience area. Following outrage at the incident, Mora has now resigned.
Minutes later the two young women were evicted from the press association headquarters by police, according to Diario de Cadiz. The newspaper said that outside the event some 20 other Plataforma Andalucía con Palestina members had been protesting as attendees entered the building, and one of the protestors included an elected official of the Granada government.
“Nothing to celebrate”
Diario de Cadiz added:
In statements to Canal Sur, Lucía López, spokesperson of Plataforma [Andalucía con Palestina], made it clear “that there is nothing to celebrate.” The Plataforma Andalucía con Palestina had already communicated to the Press Association of Granada its disagreement with an exhibition which in its judgment “contributes to the normalization of a state that systematically violates international law.” In a letter to the president of the Press Association, members of the Platform urged him to “reconsider his position on collaboration with the Zionist regime and to state that his renunciation is due to a question of remaining coherent with the values upheld by the Press Association and its commitment to democracy, human rights and the right of all peoples to self-determination.”
The letter was published online in Spanish.
Physical assaults against Palestine solidarity protestors
The threat of violence against protestors in Granada is reminiscent of an incident at the University of New Mexico last month when audience members physically attacked students who disrupted a speech by anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian speaker Nonie Darwish.
In another disturbing incident on 25 February, several pro-Israel supporters showed up at a Palestine solidarity rally in Berkeley, California with weapons including pepper spray and a stun gun. Three people were attacked with pepper spray before police showed up at the scene, according to a report in The Daily Californian.
Head of Granada press association resigns
Antonio Mora has resigned as head of the Press Association of Granada following the incident in which he assaulted a Palestine solidarity activist by threatening to strike her with his belt, the website GranadaDigital.com reported.
In a statement announcing his resignation, Mora said that the incident had been “a dark day for the Press Association and me.” He called his own conduct “reprehensible” and asked for “forgiveness for my conduct.”
The Union had stated that his conduct was “unacceptable” and “more appropriate for other times,” during the Franco dictatorship when “women, children and animals were expected to correct their attitudes or receive punishing blows from a strap.”
With thanks to Leila Nachawati for highlighting the Granada incident. Her report is posted at Global Voices Online.