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.
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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