LOS ANGELES, CA – Responding to news reports that Amsterdam would not be following through on their planned Sister City relationship with Tel Aviv, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today introduced a measure, co-presented by Councilmember Tom LaBonge, to urge Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard Van der Laan to move forward with the planned relationship between the two cities.
A vote to establish the relationship had been planned for July 1, but was has since been cancelled.
“As a City that opens its arms to the world and is committed to the promotion of global cooperation, cultural understanding and economic development through the Sister Cities movement, we in Los Angeles urge Mayor Van der Laan to reverse course and strengthen bilateral relations with Tel Aviv,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. “Against the backdrop of increasing anti-semitic incidents in Holland and throughout Europe, building bridges of understanding with the only pluralistic democracy in the Middle East has never been more important.”
According to the country’s main anti-semitism watchdog, the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI), anti-semitic incidents in Holland rose 71% in 2014.
The City of Los Angeles maintains 25 Sister City relationships worldwide, including with Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city. In 2014, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between California and Israel, Blumenfield established the Los Angeles/Eilat Innovation and Cooperation Task Force. The task force builds upon the 56 year old Sister City relationship to promote collaboration and advancement in technology investment, business development and research opportunities in clean technology, water resources, solar energy and environmental technologies throughout Los Angeles and the State of Israel.
Sister Cities International was created at President Eisenhower’s 1956 White House conference on citizen diplomacy and since its inception, has played a key role in renewing and strengthening important global relationships. Councilmember LaBonge is a longtime supporter and Chairman of Sister Cities of Los Angeles. On June 25, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that LaBonge would serve as Chairman Emeritus of the organization.