TENSIONS are reportedly running high in one of Spain’s North African exclave cities, Melilla, after calls for a boycott of Jewish businesses there began to circulate on social media. The campaign comes in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attacks against Israel, and the military response by the Israeli government.
Since the end of November, a series of mostly anonymous calls have begun to circulate on social media for a boycott of these Jewish-run businesses, as well as US chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King.
Some of these calls, El Confidencial reports, include the addresses of the firms in question as well as identifying the owners.
The posts accuse the businesses of ‘supporting Israel’s terrorism and genocide’.
The city’s Islamic Commission has not backed any of these calls for a boycott, nor have any political parties.
There has, however, been a series of demonstrations in Melilla in solidarity with Gaza, all of which have been widely attended.
Speaking to the newspaper Melilla Hoy, the president of the local Israeli community, Mordejay Guahnich, sought to play down the importance of the boycott calls.
“It’s a tiny group,” he said, adding that “four people, no matter how loud they shout on social media,” will not affect the social harmony in the city.
A handful of Jewish business owners have filed a police report since the start of the boycott calls, with an investigation led by the public prosecutor now underway.
According to a report in Spanish daily El Confidencial, Melilla is the only Spanish city with a majority Muslim population, accounting for 53% of the 83,000 inhabitants according to the Observatorio Andalusí, an institution that tracks life for Muslims and islamophobia in Spain.
There is also a population of around a thousand Jews in Melilla, from families who arrived in the city around the end of the 19th century and who mostly work in trade.