Is Nablus Boulder’s weird sister?

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Paul Danish

According to a story in last Sunday’s Camera, a group has emerged that wants to establish a sister city relationship between Boulder and the Palestinian city of Nablus.

Lovely city, Nablus. On Sept. 11, 2001, as 3,000 people were being cremated in jet fuel or ground into bits of bloody hamburger by the collapsing towers of the World Trade Center, the residents of Nablus  were staging a howling, horn-honking, ululating celebration of the attacks and passing out trays of tea and sweets to the celebrants. Guy Benintendi, the activist who came up with the sister city idea, is organizing a “Boulder-Nablus Strategic Planning Conference,” which will be held in Nablus Dec. 27-28.

“Part of the City Council’s requirements for approving a sister city relationship is demonstrating strong citizen-to-citizen support and involvement,” said Essrea Cherin, a Boulder resident who is helping to lead the group, according to the Camera. “So meeting with our partners in Nablus is critical to our being able to establish those relationships.”

She also said the group plans to use its time in Nablus to meet with officials at An Najah National University.

Lovely university, An Najah.

According to an entry at the Anti-Defamation League’s database, a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, students at the university put up a display celebrating one of the Palestinians’ most infamous terrorist attacks in Israel — the suicide bombing of the Sbarro Pizza restaurant in Jerusalem, which had occurred on Aug 9, 2001. It killed 15, including half a dozen children, and wounded 130 more. This is how the display was described:

“According to reports in the Israeli media and the Associated Press, the exhibition was comprised of a series of rooms. The Sbarro section of the exhibit was replete with body parts and pizza slices strewn across the room. The walls were painted red to represent spattered blood.

“Another part of the exhibit glorified the ‘martyrs’ who carry out suicide operations shown with a Koran and Kalishnikov in hand. A third section depicted a Palestinian behind a rock placed in front of a mannequin of an ultra-Orthodox Jew, with a taped recording broadcast on the loudspeakers saying ‘O believer, there is a Jewish man behind me. Come and kill him.’”

The exhibit was so rank that is was closed down a few days after it opened — not by the university administration but on orders from Yasser Arafat, who was concerned by the potential for international blow-back in the wake of 9/11.

The ADL describes the An Najah student council as “comprised of student groups known to be affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have largely dispensed with maintaining the myth that they are not anti-Semitic, but merely anti-Zionist and anti-Israel, and pump out a river to anti-Semitic propaganda that might as well have come out of Julius Streicher’s paper Der Sturmer. In fact, some of it is clearly plagiarized from there. Presumably their student acolytes at An Najah are cool with that.

The ADL says the council “is known for its advocacy of anti-Israel violence and its recruitment of Palestinian college students into terrorist groups,” and that it “glorifies suicide bombings and propagandizes for jihad against Israel.” Hamas has described An Najah as a “greenhouse for martyrs.”

As for the Nablus city government, 13 of the 15 members of the city council are affiliated with Hamas. They were elected in 2005. There haven’t been any elections in Nablus or anywhere else in the West Bank since then, because the Palestinian Authority lives in deathly fear that Hamas would win them.

Over the years Nablus has provided more than its fair share of assorted human bombs and garden-variety terrorists to the Palestinians’ assorted jihads. The most recent turned up in south Tel Aviv on Aug. 28 of this year.

His name was Muhammad Sa’afan, and he was trying to attack an Israeli nightclub with 1,000 teenagers inside.

Security stopped him, but not before he ran down two policemen with a stolen taxi and stabbed six other cops and club guards.

Cherin says the sister cities group’s trip to Nablus is an “essential, required step” because getting things done in Middle Eastern culture is based on making strong personal relationships. Strong, personal relationships, with the folks at An Najah U., huh? Boy, that’s reassuring.

Cherin says that the Sister Cities group wants to talk with officials from An Najah about using technology to connect students in Boulder with students in Nablus. It kind of makes you wonder what’s going to come out of that pipe — and if the sister cities group plans to file an environmental impact statement before opening it.

We can have a long conversation about how Nablus and An Najah University got to be the way they are, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are what they are: Bubbling cesspools of anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism and jihad.

With sisters like that, you’re better off if you’re an only child.

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