The controversial pro-Palestinian advocacy group Jewish Voice For Peace has launched a campaign to convince young Jews not to participate in Birthright Israel trips, just as college students are returning to campus and registration for the winter visits gets underway.
Under the slogan #ReturnTheBirthright, JVP is working to convince 18-26 year-old Jews eligible for the all-expenses paid 10-day tours to reject the tempting offer.
A “pledge” on its website takes the form of an online petition in which young Jews declare: “We will not go on a Birthright trip because it is fundamentally unjust that we are given a free trip to Israel, while Palestinian refugees are barred from returning to their homes. We refuse to be complicit in a propaganda trip that whitewashes the systemic racism, and the daily violence faced by Palestinians living under endless occupation. Our Judaism is grounded in values of solidarity and liberation, not occupation and apartheid. On these grounds we return the Birthright, and call on other young Jews to do the same.”
This being Haaretz, they don’t bother to interview anyone who actually fully supports Birthright for the other side of the story. Instead, they interview someone from JStreetU, who pretty much admits that Birthright is awful, too, but he’s not sure it is awful enough to boycott:
Ben Elkind, J Street U director, said that for him, taking a Birthright trip was “an important piece of my engaging around Israel and the broader Israeli Palestinian conflict” and that he believes “it is important to encourage students to engage rather than not engage” with the issue.
“I empathize deeply with the questions and concerns” expressed in the JVP campaign, he said. “I think (people like) Adelson have not been a productive force in the politics of this issue, and I think there are reasons to have real concern about the lack of freedom of movement of Palestinians. But I am not sure the response needs to be to boycott Birthright. I think there are potentially more meaningful courses of actions.”
So I made a cartoon about JVP’s real position towards Birthright any indeed any dialogue with any Zionist.
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