Daily Israel Report

California Pulls 'Palestinian Cultural Day' Proclamation

A proclamation to declare June 5 “Palestinian Cultural Day” in California’s Alameda County was pulled off the agenda.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 6/10/2012, 5:54 PM

Rock throwing Arabs in Jerusalem
Rock throwing Arabs in Jerusalem
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A proclamation to declare June 5 “Palestinian Cultural Day” in California’s Alameda County was pulled off the agenda that same day, the Jewish News Week of Northern California reported.

Nate Miley, president of the county’s Board of Supervisors, asked that it be pulled, spurring an onslaught of accusations from pro-‘Palestinian’ groups that “Jewish pressure” was behind the decision.

“He wasn’t aware of it until we got emails opposed,” Seth Kaplan, Miley’s chief of staff, told the newspaper. “He asked to pull it because it is a controversial international issue beyond his expertise.”

The proclamation, noting that there are 20,000 ‘Palestinian’ residents in the county, called for a day to recognize their contributions.

Matt White, campus coordinator for the Israel advocacy group StandWithUs said he and the other pro-Israel speakers did not oppose the day itself but wanted one word changed in the proclamation, which noted that Palestinians “profess either a Christian, Jewish or Muslim faith.” White wanted the word “Jewish” omitted.

“Our argument was, have this day, celebrate Palestinian culture, but have it under the correct definition of ‘Palestinian,’” White said. “I support their right to celebrate Palestinian culture as long as it does not spill over into anti-Israel propaganda.”

That’s the position the Peninsula JCRC has taken on the Palestinian Cultural Day that’s been held in San Jose for more than 10 years, the newspaper noted.

Karen Stiller, the JCRC’s Peninsula director, says some years it is a celebration of culture, and some years — notably in 2008, following Israel’s incursion into Gaza — “it devolved into a forum to disparage Israel.”

“We’ve never said don’t hold Palestinian Cultural Day, we just want them to put the culture back in it,” she said. “That’s consistently been our message over the years.”