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US Jews ditch Birthright programme to join anti-occupation Hebron tour

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'

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”.

Read: Israel settlers take over Palestinian home in occupied Hebron

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.

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”.

Read: Israel approves construction of 261 settlement units in Hebron

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