Spain expels Israeli scientists from solar energy competition

Scientists kicked out of contest because they are based in the West Bank, Spain’s government says

Giles Tremlett in Madrid

Spain has expelled a group of Israeli scientists from a state-funded solar energy competition because they are based in occupied areas of the West Bank, it said today.

The decision to expel the team from the Ariel University Centre of Samaria from Solar Decathlon Europe, an international competition involving 20 universities, has provoked angry reactions in Israel. The team was one of 20 finalists in a competition to design solar-powered housing that is part-sponsored by the US energy department.

Spain is hosting the first European version of the event next year and claims ultimate say over who takes part.

“All the ministry has done is apply the policy of the European Union,” a housing ministry spokesman said. “The EU does not recognise the occupation of the West Bank, which is where this university is.”

The university said it “rejects with disgust the one-sided announcement”. It claimed the decision “contravenes international law and international charters on academic freedom” and harms 10,000 students at the university, including 500 Arabs.

It was only after the Israeli project joined the finalists, which include the University of Nottingham, that officials at Spain’s housing ministry became aware that the university was in the West Bank. The Israelis and the US energy department were advised of the decision a week ago.

The Israeli team had described their “Stretch house” project as being inspired by the “Tent of Abraham”. “It is adaptable according to its owner’s wishes and is able to expand and create hospitable spaces,” they said. “In its closed state, when additional space is not required, it uses only half the energy necessary to operate a regular house.”

Pro-Palestinian groups claimed allowing the Israeli team to take part was a breach of international law. They said the university was in the second biggest zone in Israel’s expanding West Bank presence.

“I wonder how the Solar Decathlon can accept a project submitted by an institution that has stolen our land and will build its project on our stolen land,” said Fayeq Kishawi, coordinator of a Palestinian campaign group against the settlements, in a letter to the Spanish housing minister, Beatriz Corredor.

Jewish groups have recently claimed anti-semitism is on the rise in Spain.

A decision by El Mundo newspaper to publish an interview with the British historian and holocaust denier David Irving angered the Israeli ambassador, Raphael Schutz, who claimed it showed a lack of moral and ethical judgement.

He said he been subjected to racial abuse in Madrid, where three men shouted “dirty Jew,” “Jew bastard” and “Jewish dog” at him.

A report this week by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League complained of what it claimed was a rise in anti-Semitism across Spain and, especially, in its mainstream media. “We are deeply concerned about the mainstreaming of anti-semitism in Spain, with more public expressions and greater public acceptance of classic stereotypes,” said the league’s director, Abraham H Foxman.

“Among the major European countries, only in Spain have we seen viciously anti-Semitic cartoons in the mainstream media, and street protests where Israel is accused of genocide and Jews are vilified and compared to Nazis.”


Thanks Irish 😉


  1. September 25, 2009 at 14:52

    Yes this was excellent news. Around the same time, also,” the Brazilian Parliamentary Commission on Foreign Relations and National Defense recommended that the parliament should not ratify the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Mercosur and the State of Israel until “Israel accepts the creation of the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.

    “This decision is an enormous blow for Israel’s economy and foreign relations. It poses a massive stumbling block for the enactment of the agreement, which since its signing in 2007 has been stalled due to a lack of ratification by Mercosur member countries. The Mercosur is one of the world’s most quickly expanding markets and the fifth largest economy in the world. Israeli exports to the Mercosur amounted nearly 600 million dollars in 2006.”

    And of course, with the British Trade Unions getting into the act 2 weeks ago, 6.5 million men and women, thinks are picking up somewhat.

    Hopefully this nation will begin to seriously feel the pinch.

  2. Truth said,

    September 25, 2009 at 20:28

    “….competition part sponsored by US Energy Dept”
    Watch baby Israel cry to nearly-broke Papa US. US will then threaten to pull funding claiming Spain’s move is blatant anti-semitism.

  3. Joe Gall said,

    September 25, 2009 at 20:41

    Find me a Spaniard. I want to shake his hand.

  4. Sam Benar said,

    September 25, 2009 at 20:59

    Are we slowly growing a back bone?

    This is not great news, but at least it is the best news we got for a very long time.

  5. Coiln said,

    September 25, 2009 at 22:45

    Thank god I live in Spain. There is no anti semitism here,only a hatred of Israel. And no wonder.

  6. wendywasp said,

    September 25, 2009 at 23:35

    Go Spain! Well done. Finally, a country with a spine!

  7. DavidG. said,

    September 26, 2009 at 04:22

    Congratulations to Spain! Hopefully more and more nations will isolate the brutal Jewish State, boycott it.

    Eventually it might get the message though I’m not holding my breath.

  8. Marian said,

    September 26, 2009 at 04:24

    “Jewish groups have recently claimed anti-antisemitism is on the rise in Spain.”

    I think it would be correct to say that “anti-semitism is on the rise AROUND THE WORLD”.
    This is the Israel’s view of the world:
    “All people are equal but some are more equal than others.”
    And Israeli people think they are “more equal” than all of us around the world.
    I think that time passed. It’s time for Israel to just be EQUAL with any other nation.

  9. bashier said,

    September 26, 2009 at 06:14

    i love jews and others but i hate zionists………

  10. Tom Dennen said,

    September 26, 2009 at 07:16

    A humungous step for Spain. Perhaps some other cowed nations can find a backbone through that country’s action.
    meanwhile, in the light of bashir’s comment I will keep plugging the concept that ‘Anti-Semitism’ does not exist except as used by Zionists – almost every Arab in the ME is a Semite.
    What the Zionists mean by the phase is, “when we do something wrong, you can blame it on the (rest of) the Jews.”
    “The Jews” meaning the innocent, Diaspora Jews who have historically taken the blame for the crimes committed by the goldsmith global banking cartels, including every war since the South Sea bubble collapsed in 1715.
    And the ‘other Jews’ have taken that blame quietly, “we are all Jews, aren’t we?”
    No. Out of the original twelve tribes, only one, through early goldsmiths became the bankers who have just recently stolen much of the world.

  11. hind said,

    September 26, 2009 at 08:47

    god bless espagne

  12. Dario Guerra said,

    September 26, 2009 at 09:58

    Things like this make me feel proud of being Spanish. Although I ignore if he or his goverment had anything to do with this, Presidente J.L. Rodriguez Zapatero has certainly won my vote in the next general elections.
    Acts of courage and moral integrity such as this would certainly never take place in a conservative-run goverment.

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