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Breakup Alert: Amsterdam Dumps Tel Aviv As Sister City

Facing pro-Palestinian criticism, the mayor of the Dutch capital reportedly nixed town twinning before metropolises could even walk down the aisle

Jonathan Zalman
June 29, 2015

Here are some examples of two cities—”town twins” or “sister cities,” as they’re dubbed—that are in love:

— NYC & Beijing. ♥.
— Vienna & Budapest. Swoon.
— Prague & Jerusalem. Sure, why not.
— Marlborough, Massachusetts & Akiruno, Tokyo, Japan. Yes’m.
— Winnipeg & Reykjavik. I mean, duh.
— Mumbai & L.A. Yup.
— Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines & Hsinchu City, Taiwan. Obviously.

And how about Amsterdam—what with its art and comedy and brothels and coffee shops and canals—which is already entered into a number of twinning agreements?

Last week, Amsterdam’s mayor, Eberhard Van der Laan, announced that he would be rescinding a “twinning” proposal with Tel Aviv, effectively annulling an impending partnership as sister cities. The Times of Israel reports:

…after announcing his intention to tighten connections between the two cities, the mayor came under a firestorm of criticism from local left-wing parties and pro-Palestinian activists, Channel 2 reported Thursday (June 25).

In an attempt to assuage mounting disapproval, Van der Laan tried to push a compromise by which Amsterdam would also become a sister city of the Palestinian metropolis of Ramallah.

Van der Laan said he would still work to advance cooperation between the cities, but did not make clear what form such cooperation would take, Channel 2 reported. But his compromise proposal failed to ease tensions, and on Thursday he announced he was revoking the proposal.

Ironically, budget airliner EasyJet announced a route between two cities that very day.

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.