Five American Jews visiting Israel as part of the Birthright Israel programme ditched the trip yesterday in protest at the programme’s “treatment of the occupation and joined a tour of Hebron led by anti-occupation army veterans’ group Breaking the Silence”, reported Haaretz.
According to the paper, one of those who left the group said Birthright, which brings young Jewish adults to Israel for a free trip, “is not providing the kind of education that we really need…and is telling a one-sided story. This is not fair, and we deserve the truth”.
Haaretz reported that the five individuals “live-streamed the incident on Facebook, where they are seen leaving the bus and arguing with their guide and with fellow participants. They also published a statement on a Twitter account”.
One woman who left the tour, Katie Anne, claimed on the live stream that “Birthright gave us a map of Israel that does not denote the West Bank”, adding: “They keep saying they’re apolitical but this is clearly to the right”.
After leaving the Birthright bus, the group visited Hebron and Bethlehem.
— Danielle Raskin (@DanielleRaskin1) June 28, 2018
Meanwhile, this week, IfNotNow, an anti-occupation movement led by young American Jews, launched a new campaign targeting the Birthright programme called #NotJustAFreeTrip, which seeks to “pressure Birthright to tell the truth about the Israeli occupation”.