Controversy Surrounding Toulouse-Tel Aviv Twinning

Activists cite the example of Barcelona, which ended its twinning, without specifying that the city council of the city had spoken against.

Around 30 Toulouse organizations have called for a rally at the end of the month “in support of the Palestinian people and to demand the end of Toulouse’s twinning with Tel Aviv,” La Dépêche newspaper reported.

The two towns have been twinned since 1962.

According to these organizations, “to end this cooperation is to denounce the policy of the far-right Israeli government”. “Echoing the recent decision by Barcelona City Hall to suspend its twinning with Tel Aviv on February 8, we also denounce the newly elected far-right coalition which brings together openly fascist, homophobic and racist political figures,” said Tom Martin of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, at the initiative of the project.

In their call for the rally, the small groups did not mention that the Barcelona city council had rejected, in a symbolic vote, the decision of the left-wing mayor, Ada Colau, to suspend the twinning with Tel Aviv. (However, councilors do not have the jurisdiction to overrule the mayor’s decision.)

Only the mayor’s party voted in favor of the proposal. Barcelona had been twinned with Tel Aviv and the Gaza Strip since the signing of a friendship and collaboration agreement in 1998.

José Luis Martínez-Almeida, the conservative mayor of Madrid, slammed Colau’s decision, saying it had “anti-Semitic overtones”, according to Spanish daily El Pais.

He announced on Twitter that he had written to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai to express “Madrid’s commitment to democracy and freedom”. He added that “it would be an honor to be twinned with Tel Aviv.”

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