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PA Strikes Out again; Boulder Nixes Making Nablus ‘Sister City’

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The Boulder City Council Monday night decided to leave the “peace process” for those with less common sense and overwhelmingly nixed a controversial proposal to adopt Nablus, the Arab version of the Biblical city of Shechem, as a sister city.

The council voted 7-2 against the proposal, according to the local ABC outlet Denver Channel, while the Boulder Daily Camera reported that the vote was 6-3.

Twinning cities is an international project, and even Israel cities have “sisters’ in the Palestinian Authority.

The problem with American and European cities twinning with those in the Palestinian Authority  is the political overtone.

Boulder has seven sister cites, in non-sensitive places – Kenya, Tajikistan, Nicaragua, Tibet, Mexico, Japan and Cuba.

The Palestinian Authority, of course, is not even a country, and that would not be an obstacle to its being twinned by an American city if it were not for the fact that twinning gives PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas the very ground support he has been trying to drum for more than eight years with a single minded aim.

He wants to create a new independent Arab country within Israel’s borders, which the international community insists do not exist.

Any city that has the lofty aim of generating peace with Arabs in Judea and Samaria cannot escape the fact it is involving itself with foreign affairs, even if unintentionally.

Being against twinning with Nablus does not mean taking a stand against the Palestinian Authority. It simply means that understanding culture and creating friendships in Tibet, Kenya and Japan is not the same as doing so in Palestinian Authority cities.

The Boulder-Nablus Sister City Project has been around for two years. Its stated mission sounds ideal.

“Both Arabs and Muslims are misrepresented and maligned by negative stereotyping in the US and we hope, through meaningful exchanges, to offer citizens of Boulder the opportunity to form friendships and to put a human face to the people of Palestine,” according to its website.

Isn’t that nice?

Of course, it is true. Arabs and Muslims are misrepresented. So are Jews. So are blacks, whites, Israeli settlers, Puerto Ricans, homosexuals, terrorists, clowns, Samantha Power and The Good Humor Man.

It is very nice that some well-meaning Americans in Colorado want to discover the truth about Arabs in the Palestinian Authority, but twinning with Nablus is not the way.

Americans, from Condoleezza Rice, to Hillary Clinton, her hubby Bill, John Kerry, President Obama and just about every other American citizen who “knows about the Middle East – the whole bunch of them really don’t have a clue.

If they did, they would not embark on peace processes and twining projects. You will never get to know Israel culture or Arab culture by eating a felafel with a Sabra or smoking a water pipe with an Arab.

In the political atmosphere that has suffocated the Arab-Jewish atmosphere ever since the creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the truth sounds like a lie and the lie sounds like the truth.

In this context, the “human face” that the good citizens of Boulder want to find in the Palestinian Authority would come at the expense of Jews and Israel. No matter what happens in the Palestinian Authority, it is Israel’s fault.

If the Palestinian Authority  economy sags, it is because of Israel checkpoints. If the economy improves, it is despite Israel checkpoints.

If Arabs are not happy, it is because of the occupation. If they are happy, it proves their endurance in the face of the Occupation.

The Intermountain Jewish News wrote, “At best the supporters are idealistic and naive, enamored with the Palestinian underdog status. But the leaders of the underdogs are haters, and stand in opposition to everything Boulder stands for.”

“I’m not sure I want to attach Boulder’s name to it,” Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum,  told the Boulder  Daily Camera.

“This is not going to be a decision that resolves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is a bleeding wound,” said Boulder City Councilman Macon Cowles.

The city council heard four hours of testimony from 70 speakers before voting against the idea.

“It is dividing our Boulder community, rather than uniting us to work for peace,” said Beth Ornstein, a member of Bonai Shalom.

There undoubtedly are good Arabs in Nablus, but opponents to the sister city project are not so ignorant that they don’t know that Nablus, and the Palestinian Authority, discriminate against homosexuals, incite terror and accept “honor killings” of women.

“Nablus is well known for its terrorism,” said Boulder’s Mimi Ito. “The culture is one of intolerance, hate and violence.”

Nablus already has 11 sister cities, so it is hardly lacking help. Its sisters are located in Europe, including four in Italy and others from Russia to Norway and Ireland.

The proponents of the project were charmed with Nablus hosts when they visited,  and what host would not put on his best airs when foreigners come to show how peace-loving they are?

“Several speakers volunteered in Nablus through Project Hope, saying they found the people to be welcoming and generous and never feared for their safety,” according to the Camera. “Others complained that those in opposition are basing their arguments on ‘racist caricatures.’”

Sara Fitouri, who taught in a classroom in Nablus, said opponents are casting an entire city as terrorists. Instead, she said, the students she taught have the same hopes and dreams as students in Boulder.

Of course, they do. Except for those who don’t, primarily the political leaders who exploit all of these bleeding heart projects to damn Israel.

By the way, no one in Boulder, or in Italy, Russia and the rest of Europe, ever thought of twinning with Jewish communities around Shechem.

Come to think of it, Boulder does not have any sister city anywhere in Israel.

Of course not. That would be too political.

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About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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10 Responses to “PA Strikes Out again; Boulder Nixes Making Nablus ‘Sister City’”

  1. It was very clear who has the most influence on the Boulder City Council. The organizers of the Boulder/Nablus sister city group were so well organized. The speakers were amazing. Talked about educational opportunities, developing a deeper understanding of their situation, humanitarian focus. The opposition brought up 9/11 many times, the Holocaust many times, how this issue was dividing Boulder "divisive." As if this had to do with Nablus becoming a sister city. Totally off the mark but it worked. Only two members of the council spoke articulately about the issue. One council member talked about how the group who had filed the application had met all of the criteria and beyond stated in resolution 631. The Council was unable to demonstrate moral courage and apply the standards and criteria that Boulder has determined to become a sister city across the board.

  2. There is no misrepresenting of Muslims – they are violent terrorists that want to force everybody to become Muslims, enslaved or dead.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Actually, Kathleen, one of their state purposes for this proposal was to punish Israel for the "treatment of Palestinians." This wasn't only about education, it was about BDS. Look at their application.

  4. Yori Yanover says:

    Loren Griffith · Your years of Near-East scholarship are paying off.

  5. Sara Fitouri says:

    This is hate speech.

  6. Sara Fitouri says:

    This is hate speech.

  7. Yori Yanover says:

    Just stupid speech.

  8. Talia that is absolutely hooey. I have been interacting directly with this group quite awhile the application for sister city status said absolutel nothing about punishing Israel. Absolutely nothing. Facts please. Where are your facts?

  9. And Talia I sat next to Prof Tom Mayer during the hearing his parents are Holocaust survivors (although this sister city proposal had nothing to do with 9/11, the Holocaust or other issues that have nothing to do with this proposal that were endlessly brought up during the hearing by the opposition) who stood up and talked about "peace, moving forward, buiding bridges, the McCarthyite strategies being used by the opposition" and many other Jews (including Essria the head of the sister city project, Anna Baltzer) and non Jews who support Israel based on the international recognized 67 border who want to promote "building bridges" with towns like Nablus who are in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories. Again this project was all about building bridges. The Boulder City Council totally applied contradictory standards to this sister city project vs the stated criteria applied to Boulder sister city projects in Cuba, Nicauragua and in at the time Russia. Boulder likes to promote itself as a progressive town but on this issue and on fracking the Boulder County commissioners and city council are extrememly right (wrong) wing.. Please provide the part in the Nablus sister city application that says anything about "punishing Israel" Total bull

  10. @Kathleen Galt
    "Boulder/Nablus sister city group were so well organized. The speakers were amazing" – I hope you really mean it.

    They forgot the slide show, the initiator of the project did not even register to speak before the meeting (after all it was Mr. Guy Benintendi’s idea, they were pretty unsuccessful in trying to "closet" him).

    They knew it was going to be a big discussion, he invited everybody to attend promising “quite a show” (check his Facebook), could they not think ONE step ahead? All they brought were very sweet and naïve speaker (what was the point of mentioning she was brought up in Jewish traditions, to prove she is not an anti-Semite? Well, nobody accused her), that people-to-people idea, yoga and rock-climbing, seriously? Could they address the issues their opponents brought up but from their own point of view in the opening speech? (I am surprised you missed it, according to “The opposition brought up 9/11 many times, the Holocaust many times, how this issue was dividing Boulder "divisive."”:

    The fact that the area of Nablus is not recommended for visiting by US government;.
    The exhibition in Nablus University honoring the bombing of pizzeria in Jerusalem (more than 20 teenagers were killed). Were those warm and “unbelievably friendly” people of Nablus who stand in line to see the room with bloody walls and people’s limbs scattered around?);.
    The festive celebration of 9/11 on Nablus’s streets. May I ask who were celebrating? OMG! The people of Nablus!;.
    The portraits of suicidal bombers on Nablus’s streets. I can see they are local heroes so called martyrs right in line with Boston marathon’s bombers, but what does Boulder, Colorado, USA have to do with their honoring?
    The fact that majority of suicidal bombers come to Israel from Nablus. Well, you probably can’t care less about this, so forget about Israel. But, how does the idea of blowing up pizzeria/discothèque/coffee shop filled up with kids come to a mind of warm and friendly person in general?
    I prefer to trust professionals. So when somebody with many years of experience as a professional movie critic on Boulder Foreign Movie festival tells me that in all those years she has not seen such a one side view and propaganda in its purest form as the movies sent from Nablus, I trust her;.
    The fact that despite everything they were saying the government of Nablus sees this project as a very political issue;.
    Anti-Israeli pictures of Mr. Guy Benintendi on his Facebook, and his anti-Semitic posts on “Boycott Israel” website. Last time I checked Israel not PA was USA’s ally; and as sweet as “Republic of Boulder” sounds it is still a city (wonderful city!) in USA.
    plus many more.
    …yoga and rock-climbing, unbelievable… Using your words “Total bull”!

    *Just want to apologies for any grammar mistakes, English is my second language after all.

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