Dispute over demand to unmatch Bournemouth from Israeli town
An argument has erupted over efforts by pro-Palestinian activists to divide Bournemouth with the Israeli town of Netanya.
Bournemouth and Netanya, a seaside town in central Israel, have been ‘twinned’ since 1995.
The Bournemouth branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign aims to get ten percent of the people of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch to sign a petition supporting the severing of ties to protest what they call Israeli apartheid.
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But a counter-petition accused the activists of spreading lies about Israel.
In a video posted online, PSC activists said: ‘We are running a campaign and a petition, which we are trying to increase by ten percent of the population of Bournemouth and Christchurch, to bring this petition down to the square. and put it on the mayor’s desk.
“We don’t believe that a place as charming as Bournemouth should be associated with war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide.
A counter-petition to the bosses of the town hall urging them not to take the plunge, posted online yesterday, has since reached 250 signatures.
“The attempt to ‘dissociate’ Bournemouth from Netanya on the grounds of ‘apartheid’ is based on a lie,” he said.
“Israel is a multi-ethnic state in which Arabs and Jews have equal rights under the Basic Law, including the right to sit in the Knesset (Parliament), Arabic is taught in all schools and government policy is to increase the participation of Israeli Arabs in higher education and the civil service and to ensure equal access to health and housing services.
However, city hall officials said there were no plans to separate.
A spokesperson for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council said Jewish News: “We can confirm that there are no plans or ongoing conversations to unmatch with Netanya in Israel.”