However, Councilmember Cohn would not say that the question was entirely settled.
“Sacramento is a pretty diverse city and claims like the ones being made about Ashkelon, using terms like Apartheid and discrimination,” he said, “can be very damaging, even when unfounded.” And the 2009 Council statement was a statement of intent, which is not binding, according to Cohn, who has served on the City Council for 18 years.
For Cohn, the proof that those fighting the measure are not really concerned about human rights, as they claim, is that Sacramento has sister-city relationships with a city in China, and one in Moldova, countries where the human rights record should have raised concerns.
City Councilmembers have been receiving dozens of emails and calls on the matter, both in favor and against. It is anticipated that several hundred people will turn out for the meeting next week.
Broad says he isn’t trying to have a battle over the Arab-Israeli conflict, “they have enough of that over there.” The concept of establishing sister-cities is to “reach out to other people, to create people to people contact,” and Broad believes that will happen between people in Sacramento and the people in Ashkelon. He is far less hopeful that the pro-Palestinian activists want anything like that with the pro-Israel groups even within Sacramento.
“I was in the room when leaders of the Bethlehem Initiative, some of whom are also in the vanguard of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions groups, pledged in front of several City Council members that they would engage in dialogue and open communications with the Sacramento Jewish community,” recalled Broad. “They have refused.”
What is at the heart of the grievance, what motivates the people who oppose something as benign as the creation of a sister-city relationship with an Israeli city that isn’t even in the territories? Bond didn’t hesitate: “they want to reverse the results of the 1948 war.”
Broad went further, “the Arabs waged an aggressive was against Israel in 1948, and they lost.”
“There are consequences to waging aggressive wars when you lose,” Broad continued. “But the people who don’t want to accept those consequences are still fighting that war, just in a different way.”
On August 14, in the Sacramento City Council, there will be yet another effort to re-fight the war the Arabs lost in 1948. But, according to at least one weary participant in the stateside battle, “that conflict needs to be resolved by the parties, it won’t be resolved in Sacramento.”