Boulder-Nablus Sister City Application To Come Before Boulder City Council April 19

Community Emails to City Council Needed by Noon on April 14  

On Tuesday, April 19, the Boulder City Council will determine whether or not to approve the application to grant “sister city” status to the city of Nablus.  In anticipation of that Council meeting, some concerned citizens have carefully studied the proposal and have met with several Council members (and hope to meet with more) to express their reservations and objections to the Sister City application.  This group includes Sara-Jane Cohen, Bruce Shaffer and others.  They are seeking the community’s involvement by writing letters and emails to the Council, and by attending the Council meeting on April 19th.

Letters or emails to Council are due by noon this Thursday, April 14th.  An email sent to will go to all Council members.  Because Council is already receiving many many emails from both sides of this issue, and because substantive memos detailing many additional issues have been and will be submitted to Council, community emails should be short, to the point, and — of course — polite.  People do not have to be City residents to submit emails (or to speak at the Council meeting).

Based on the meetings the group has already had with several Council members, they have determined that there are four points that would be of greatest interest to Council.  They invite you to use whatever you like from the points detailed below.  The suggested points are:

  • 1.  Creating a sister-city relationship is unnecessary — The Sister City organization is already doing good things, and many of us who oppose the application are doing good things working with Palestinians AND Israelis, and all those things are being done without official Boulder involvement and can and will continue.
  • 2.  This is a divisive issue in Boulder, and, as an issue that is not essential to the duties of City Council or the functioning of our City, it is unwise for Council to get involved in what will be an ongoing issue that will continue to embroil Council.
  • 3.  The BNSCP (Boulder-Nablus Sister City Project) application is misleading and one-sided in its intent, focus, and stated efforts to work with project opponents. Also, the reality on the ground is much more complex and nuanced than what BNSCP reports.  

NOTE:  This point is particularly important if you spoke or wrote to Council in 2013 and have not been contacted by BNSCP. Their application says that they have spent HUNDREDS of hours talking to the opponents to resolve concerns. If you haven’t been contacted, be sure to tell Council.

  • 4. Nablus does not share many of the progressive values that Boulder affirmatively promotes.  City Council has declared, and Boulderites believe, that all people (LGBTQ, race, religion, disability, etc.) are valued and welcomed here and we categorically reject violence and any honoring of it. The same is not true throughout Nablus.

If you are able to attend the meeting on Tuesday, April 19, plan to arrive by 6:00 p.m. to sign up as a speaker. If you would prefer not to speak, you can donate your two minutes to another speaker, which will be very helpful. The Council Chambers is located in the Municipal Building at 1777 Broadway Street.

If you would like more information, contact Sara-Jane Cohen (, Bruce Shaffer ( or Bill Cohen (

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  1. Hello everyone,
    Along the Outreach Committee of the Boulder-Nablus Sister City Project I have tried my best to reach as many opponents of our application to the City Council. As part of the executive committee I speak on behalf of the organization in that we welcome respectful dialog on any issue pertaining to a sister city relationship. This was the case in the past as it will be in the future. I would urge you to not allow fear and apprehension be the default to decision making, and allow for a different frame of mind that can lead to a greater depth of understanding of one another.
    I leave you with these thoughts.

    Sergio Atallah
    Boulder Nablus Sister City Project
    Outreach Committee

  2. The Jewish community is not a monolith, and not all of us are opposed to positive interaction and understanding of Palestine. I urge those of you who, like me, support Boulder-Nablus, to get involved and show city council that not all in the Jewish community want to stifle anything that presents human beings who live in Nablus in a sympathetic light, as though acknowledging Palestinians' humanity is an affront to Judaism, instead of a precept of Judaism, which states that all humans are created in God's image, and who are implored to "not stand idly by as [their] neighbor's blood is shed." Peace starts with us, and "Boulder's progressive values" are about compassion and understanding.