Contact Sacramento’s Mayor & City Council

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2012 at 11:00 am

Contact the Mayor and City Council directly and express your disappointment in their 8-14-12 decision to ignore the concerns of Palestinian-Americans and others regarding the fact that there are members of our community who are prohibited from visiting Ashkelon, a city:  with a racist immigration policy; that discriminates against it Palestinian Muslim and Christian citizens; and  in which human rights and international law is systematically violated.
Disregarding the purpose and intent of sister cities, the Council went along with the Israel lobby and has now helped it fulfill its Israel advocacy objective of making Ashkelon a sister city of Sacramento.  The Sacramento Bee reported that the Council had received a  letter supporting Ashkelon as a sister city  written by the California Capitol Knesset, a group of California legislators that has taken the name of Israel’s governing body.  Sacramentans and Californians who don’t think our state legislators should be so tied to a foreign government are urged to express that to their electeds:;

Sacramento values its diversity, respects  civil rights and human dignity, and opposes discrimination against it citizens.  The Sister Cities that it  supports and officially sanctions should reflect these values — Ashkelon, Israel does not.

Cut & paste emails to Mayor and all City Council members:,,,,,,,,,

Email & call  Mayor & Councilmembers individually:
Mayor Kevin Johnson,, or through the website:
Councilmember Angelique Ashby, Vice-Mayor, 916-808-7001,
Councilmember Sandy Sheedy, 916-808-7002,
Councilmember Steve Cohn, 916-808-7003,
Councilmember Robert Fong, 916-808-7004,
Councilmember Jay Schenirer, 916-808-7005,
Councilmember Kevin McCarty,916-808-7006,
Councilmember Darrell Fong, 916-808-7007,
Councilmember Bonnie J. Pannell, 916-808-7008,

If you live in the city, find out what City Council District you live in, click here.  Even if you are not a resident of the city, you can still contact the Mayor and Council.

Write Sacramento’s Mayor and City Council members
Sacramento City Hall
915 I Street – Sacramento, CA 95814

Sacramento’s Sister Cities
Manilla/Pasay City, Phillipines
Chisinau, Moldova
Yongsan-Gu, South Korea
San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua
Bethlehem, Palestine
Matsuyama, Japan
Jinan, China
Hamilton, New Zealand
Liestal, Switzerland

More information:;


What You and the Sacramento City Council Should Know about Ashkelon, Israel

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2012 at 11:05 am

Ashkelon discriminates against its own citizens and against Sacramentans on the basis of religion, ethnicity, and national origin. 

●  Palestinian-Sacramentans  who have Israeli-issued ID cards are prohibited from visiting Ashkelon except with rarely-issued special permits. Other Palestinian-Sacramentans who wanted to visit Ashkelon would be typically be subjected to extensive interrogation, including strip searching, and not infrequently denied entry.

●  Palestinian citizens of Israel who live in Ashkelon,  primarily Muslims and Christians, have second class status, without the same rights benefits or access to land as Jewish Israelis. Israel has over 30 laws that discriminate against its non-Jewish citizens in an apartheid system.

► Approving Ashkelon as a Sacramento-sponsored sister city opens the city up to law suits because discrimination on the basis of national origin is prohibited in the U.S. and California constitutions.

► Human rights and International Law are systematically violated in Ashkelon.

● Ashkelon’s Shikma Prison holds hundreds of Palestinian political parishioners from the West Bank and Gaza in violation international law.  The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power (in this case Israel) from transferring and holding prisoners and detainees outside the occupied territory (in the case Palestine’s West Bank and Gaza.)  Despite this, Israel routinely holds and interrogates these Palestinians, often severing their connection to their families and even their lawyers.

● Amnesty International and other human rights groups have documented torture of Palestinian prisoners in Ashkelon’s prison.  Many of these prisoners are held indefinitely without charge and without trial.   They are subjected to solitary confinement, denied access to their families, and medical treatment.  Recently dozens of these prisoners were on a hunger strike protesting their inhuman and illegal treatment, joining nearly 2000 other Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons.

Ashkelon was created by Ethnic Cleansing and its victims are still denied their rights. 

● Ashkelon was built on the thriving town of Majdal Asqualan that was home to generations of Palestinian families until 1948 when the army of the newly declared state of Israel began its ethnic cleansing campaign, terrorizing the native Palestinian population and forcing them to leave and become refugees.  About ten thousand Palestinians remained and were kept in a  ghetto for two years until the Israeli army loaded them on truck in a second wave of ethnic cleansing and dumped them in near-by Gaza.

● In violation of International Law, the Palestinians refugees from this ethnic cleansing are still being denied their right to return to Ashkelon by the Israeli government.

 Ashkelon is a misuse of the sister city program. 

Ashkelon’s exclusionary practices contradict the Sacramento City Council directive that sister cities: “be inclusive of the citizens of Sacramento, including the diverse cultural and religious communities in the area.”

Sister Cities, started under President Dwight Eisenhower,were intended to foster people-to-people connections, outside of government.  According to Sister Cities International, sister city programs  are supposed to come from “a volunteer group of ordinary citizens”, not paid professional organizations.   Ashkelon is being proposed by a professional organization that advocates on behalf of a foreign government, the Jewish Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council, as part of its paid political advocacy.  This is a misuse of the Sister City program which is supported and sanctioned by the City of Sacramento.

●  Eisenhower also said that sister cities were a way to “the people themselves give expression of their common desire for friendship, goodwill and cooperation for a better world for all.”
  The Sacramento City website echoes this by stating that sister cities “promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation.”  These descriptions of sister cities absolutely reflect respect for human rights, without which they cannot be “mutual respect,” “goodwill,” or “a better world for all.”  Ashkelon does not reflect the spirit and intention of sister cities NOR does it reflect the values of Sacramento.


Communications, Endorsements, News Updates

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2012 at 10:00 am

► Published in IndyBay and Sacramento Press: Allowing Ashkelon to become Sister City Violates Sacramento’s ‘Deepest Humanitarian Values’.

► Sacramento Bee 8-13-12 editorial undercuts the Sister City program by calling for Sacramento to “link with Israel”.  Sister cities are supposed to link people, not governments.  Clearly the Bee supports the agenda of the  local Israel lobby affiliate to use the Ashkelon sister city proposal as part of its Israel advocacy, clearly stated on the JCRC web page.    The editorial is consistent with the Bee’s  uncritical support of Israel, even in the face of Israel’s threats to attack Iran, also reported 8-13 in the Bee.

Concerns about Ashkelon were expressed clearly to the Major and all Councilmembers in a March 12, 2012 letter.   Three months later, Councilmember Steve Cohn responded with a June 11 ,2102 letter.   On July 20, 2012, a letter was sent to Councilmember Cohn to address his responses point-by-point; it was ccd to the Mayor and City Council.

Concerns about the Ashkelon proposal have been voiced by several Sacramento human rights organizations including Sacramento Jewish Voice for Peace, Sacramento Area Peace ActionVeterans for Peace – Sacramento Chapter and others.

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) an  ultra-fundamentalist Christian group is now supporting the Ashkelon proposal as reported in David Horowitz’ The Israel Times.

Marylanders have tabled a proposed sister city with Beit Shemesh, Israel over concerns about segregation.  See article: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and Washington Jewish Week.

►News Updates:

South Africa Mayor cancels trip to Israel because it mistreats Palestinians

Australia’s Foreign Minister pushes Israel on child prisoners

Israeli jailors assault, punish Askalan prisoners

IPS military unit breaks into Ashkelon prison

UK report finds IDF tortures Palestinian children

Special Series on Palestinian Prisoners

Prison Administration Tortures Inmates in Ashkelon