After Years of Debate, Boulder, Colorado Names Nablus a Sister City

Other American cities that have sister relationships with Palestinian cities include Gainesville, Florida; Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; Burlington, Vermont; and Muscatine, Iowa.

A general view of Nablus, West Bank, June 9, 2015.
Moti Milrod

The City Council in Boulder, Colorado, voted to make the West Bank Palestinian city of Nablus its eighth international sister city.

Its 7-2 vote last week came three years after a council decision against entering into a formal relationship with Nablus and years of heated debate over the issue. The council identified Nablus as being in “Palestine.”

 The Colorado Jewish Community Relations Council in a statement issued Tuesday said it was “deeply disappointed” with the Dec. 13 decision.

“While, on the surface, there is nothing wrong with creating a relationship with any city anywhere in the world, the fact that Nablus is inextricably linked with anti-Israel activism cannot be ignored,” the JCRC said. “Appropriately, the City Council’s approval was made with an assurance that both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia would not be tolerated in Boulder.”

A Palestinian confronts an Israeli soldier during a demonstration near the West Bank town of Nablus, July 14, 2014.
Nasser Ishtayeh, AP

Two-thirds of the council members were not in office the last time the issue was introduced.

The City Council has received about 1,000 emails on the adoption of Nablus as a sister city since May, when the issue was reintroduced to the council, the Boulder Daily Camera reported. Some 78 people spoke at a public hearing before the vote.

Among Boulder’s seven other sister cities are Lhasa, Tibet, and Yateras, Cuba. Nablus has 11 other sister cities, including Nazareth, Israel.

Other American cities that have sister relationships with Palestinian cities include Gainesville, Florida; Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; Burlington, Vermont; and Muscatine, Iowa. More than 50 American cities have sister cities in Israel.