The July 15 column by Gary Rosenblatt, "Of Balaam And Birthright: When A Curse Is A Blessing," brings up the recent Nation article by Kiera Feldman, which attacked Birthright Israel. He accurately mentions the author’s anti-Israel bias and argues that the vehemence of her critique underscores Birthright’s success as a pro-Israel program. (I’ve communicated with several people at The Nation on my displeasure with her article.)
But Rosenblatt does not indicate that it’s a problem if Birthright trips are now infusing participants, not just with a sense of connection to Israel, but also with talking points that justify Israeli policies that many (if not most) American Jews find troubling. These include expanding settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and the promulgation of Knesset legislation that suppresses democratic rights–such as outlawing discussion of the "Nakba" and (now) the right of individual Israelis to boycott West Bank settlement products and institutions.
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