Last week, I blogged here that J Street U was going to begin offering its own Birthright trip this summer.
New Voices Editor Ben Sales reports that Birthright has unilaterally cancelled the trip, less than a week after announcing it!
J Street U President Moriel Rothman’s statement begins:
Within 48 hours of our announcement that J Street U was facilitating its first Birthright trip, “Explore Israel: Progressive Zionism and Social Justice,” over 100 students had signed up expressing interest in participating.
Rothman explains Birthright’s rationale (emphasis mine):
Despite their initial approval for a trip that would provide such an experience, Birthright’s leadership has now decided that it is inappropriate for J Street U to organize a trip because we are politically oriented, according to Israel Experience. Nonetheless, comparable organizations with different politics than ours participate and help organize trips every year. For instance, AIPAC’s “Capital to Capital” Birthright trip is designed for Jewish political activists who are “significantly involved in the American political process.”
So, in Birthright’s universe, there is one set of rules for those they agree with and another set secret rules for those they don’t agree with.
It’s pretty disturbing to see Birthright abandoning their mission like this. If their purpose is to get as many young Jews to Israel as they can, how can they possibly explain cancelling a trip that registered 100 people in the first two days following the trip’s announcement?