Wednesday, August 08, 2018

  • Wednesday, August 08, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
This important Haaretz article is behind a paywall, so here are the important excerpts (update: Jerusalem Post has it for free).

IfNotNow Hijacked Our Birthright Trip

Our trip was shattered by premeditated walk-out in which we, unwillingly, became part of the media spectacle that their activists had sought from the start. This is our side of the story.

The activists said that their questions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had not been answered during the first few days of the trip, and they were appalled at the way Birthright had hidden the truth from them and presented a biased, right-wing agenda. 

This is not an accurate portrayal of our trip. Their speech gave them the media attention they were seeking, but it was filled with misrepresentation and distortion. We, the remaining participants of Taglit Israel Outdoors Bus 428, are here to set the record straight.

Throughout their abbreviated participation, these protesters used every opportunity to vocalize their viewpoints, using group discussions, evening relaxation time, bus rides, and hiking rest stops to share their emotionally-charged rhetoric about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the group. 

At first, most of us were receptive to their questions – we considered them an important dialogue to include in a trip well-known to be heavily funded by right-wing American donors and the Israeli government. 

When one activist stressed the need to include conversations about the conflict in our trip, our group leaders generously allowed her to lead a dialogue on the evening of our first full day, during which we discussed and debated the topic for hours. From the first day, the trip schedule had been altered to make space for their ideas.

Many of us, like the activists, had come to Israel intending to ask difficult questions as a meaningful and integral part of our experience. After the first night, one of us even volunteered to lead an effort to pen a group letter to Birthright expressing our disappointment at the lack of importance given to the Palestinian crisis on the trip. 

The rhetoric flowing from select group members, however, quickly became unreasonably aggressive and directed at our tour guide, who never avoided the topic, silenced their speech, or seemed to take offense at their disregard for his perspective. He answered each question calmly, patiently, and to the best of his ability, providing an extraordinarily neutral view of the conflict and acknowledging his bias as a former IDF soldier when necessary. 

When questions became incessant and repetitive, our guide repeatedly reminded the group that our schedule included a geopolitical discussion with a professor of Middle Eastern history later in the week, and that the professor would be better equipped to answer some of their specific questions. In fact, during that lecture, the professor answered questions in an open and honest way and encouraged us to do our own research and fact-checking on the information he presented us with. 

However, the activists did not stick around long enough to attend that discussion. Nor did they make any effort to connect with or ask questions of the seven Israelis who accompanied our trip, having lived in the midst of the conflict throughout their entire lives. 

The narrative being portrayed in the media, and the carefully selected scenes from a particularly frustrating bus ride, do not fully capture our group’s willingness, even eagerness, to discuss the conflict. 

It became apparent only after the walk-off that everything had been premeditated. Four of the six protesters had already been working prior to the trip with IfNotNow, an activist group with the goal of changing how Birthright presents the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

These activists took advantage of the trip and took spots away from others in order to stage a political stunt, and then pretended that the structure of the trip surprised them. 

The activists had many options to see the other side of the conflict and to promote change. They could have, as our own tour guide encouraged them to do, extended their trip to visit the West Bank and hear from Palestinians. This would have allowed them to remain on the trip for its entire duration and calmly encourage further dialogue and education about the conflict within our group. They could have written a letter to Birthright, as our group had planned, to express their discomfort with the program’s omission of the Palestinian perspective. 

They were not interested in seeing both sides of the conflict, as they claimed. They came on the trip with clear "right and wrong" sides in their heads and refused to hear anything that might contradict their ironclad opinions. Instead of responsibly hearing from both sides, they chose to hear a one-sided narrative from the Palestinian perspective.

(The article is signed by 20 people who were in the group.)

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

Support EoZ by shopping!

search eoz



follow me

Follow by Email


Share on Whatsapp


For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!



The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs


Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent coexistence Community Standards conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO NIF Noah Phillips norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Trump Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive