Voice4Israel is an organization dedicated to advocating for Israel and to education about Israel and Jewish life. It also comments on the local political situation when observing the dangers of anti-Israel language, anti-Semitism, and anti-Jewish policy.
With elections approaching in November, everyone is concerned about the health and safety of our community.
Attacking Israel from North Carolina
On December 2, Nida Allam filed as a candidate for Durham, North Carolina’s Board of County Commissioners. Allam is currently Third Vice Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party. Allam’s social media accounts, including her official Facebook campaign page, features anti-Israel posts suggesting that her vision for Durham includes foreign policy against Israel. For example, on her Facebook campaign page, Allam wrote about what she calls “the dehumanization of Palestinians through the US’ tireless support of Israel’s illegal colonization & occupation.” In 2018, Allam tweeted, “This is the United States of Israel.”
In recent years, elected officials in Durham have felt comfortable focussing on foreign policy against Israel. In 2018, the Durham City Council passed the “Israel Resolution” making Durham the first city in the United States to boycott police trainings specifically with Israel. 11 local rabbis wrote that the Council’s attack on Israel was a “punch in the gut” to the Durham Jewish community. The Council has made the local Jewish community feel targeted and attacked, which resulted in three separate lawsuits filed against Durham. Rather than oppose this foray into foreign policy, Nida Allam championed the attack. In 2018 Allam signed a petition given to the Council demanding that Durham ban police trainings with Israel.
Voice4Israel is concerned that Allam is campaigning for local office (Durham Board of County Commissioners ) by attacking Israel. As one Durham official told Voice4Israel, “local government should focus on paving the roads, not Israel.”
Voice4Israel reached out to Allam for comment for this column. She has not responded. Because of Allam’s current role in the North Carolina Democratic Party, we reached out to Party officials for comment. Second Vice Chair Matt Hughes responded, “as someone who is focused on local issues in North Carolina, you should know that no elected official has the ability to focus on issues related to Israel.” Voice4Israel agrees with Hughes that local officials, such as Durham Mayor Steve Schewel, should not be legislating anti-Israel foreign policy from Durham — we had hoped this would have been obvious to the Durham City Council and candidate Nida Allam.
In 2013, Allam also made her views on law enforcement clear, tweeting “Fuck the police.”
Jews and people of all faiths count on the police to protect us at our houses of worship and in the community. For example, in 2017 the Lerner Jewish Day School was evacuated because of a bomb threat. The Durham police immediately arrived to protect the community and investigate the threat. Anyone who attends synagogue, a multitude of churches in the Triangle, mosques, and other houses of worship knows that the fine women and men of our local police departments are always patrolling and protecting us.
The rates of murder and violent crime has spiked in Durham with a recent, alarming headline stating: “8 people shot, 2 of them dead, in less than 24 hours in Durham.” ABC News reports official Durham Police Department crime statistics for the first 9 months of this year indicate a 33 percent increase in the murder rate, a 19 percent increase in aggravated assaults, and an overall 6 percent increase in violent crime, compared with 2018.
The Durham City Council recently rejected adding additional police officers to the force — defying the recommendation of their own police chief — which has split local activists and the Council itself. The recent Durham City Council elections has made salient deep divisions among local activists regarding policing with charges of racism being publicly discussed in the media and on social media.
Voice4Israel understands and embraces the need for safety and tolerance in Durham. Opposition to policing, demeaning of Israel, and an atmosphere of scapegoating Jews have already been nurtured by the Durham City Council. Now two City Council members — Jillian Johnson and Charlie Reece — are publicly supporting candidate Nida Allam. The Jewish Community needs to know what Nida Allam stands for and who is supporting her.
A few days before Voice4Israel published this column, Allam made her Twitter account private, perhaps realizing that her views shared on social media may be a liability.
Voice4Israel Opposes All Hate Speech
On social media there have been comments made about Ms. Allam which Voice4Israel and others view as Islamophobic, anti-Muslim, and hateful. Though many of Allam’s views are objectionable and arguably antisemitic, such personal attacks against her and her faith are to be strongly opposed. We at Voice4Israel stand in strong opposition to Islamophobia and to all forms of hate speech.