Israel, Mishegas

J Street U and Birthright: together at last!

J Street U and me...
J Street U and me...
The New Voices blog pointed out today that J Street U, the college arm of J Street, will begin offering a Birthright trip this summer called, “Explore Israel: Progressive Zionism and Social Justice.”
As Ben Sales points in the post, this means two things. Both of these things were already known by some, but denied vehemently by others. So let’s take a look at what Ben says this announcement indicates:

  1. J Street is pro-Israel: For all of you who didn’t know this already, this trip proves that  J Street is, in fact, a group that supports a Jewish and democratic state in the Land of Israel. […]
  2. Birthright doesn’t necessarily have to gloss over Israel’s flaws: […] It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out, but it is a different approach from other Birthright trips.

The full post is here.

11 thoughts on “J Street U and Birthright: together at last!

  1. If you could group all the anti-Israel visitors into one group, it would make them much easier to watch. Yiddishekopf!

  2. In December 1999, I went on the very first Birthright trip, run by BBYO, which included examination of the Israel-Palestinian conflict from at least two perspectives. Our itinerary included a trip to the Gush and a presentation by someone representing settlers as well as a presentation by someone from PeaceNow. While there are surely more perspectives to be heard, e.g. Palestinians themselves, I felt that the trip tried to be balanced and did not feel like the trip was censored in any way. This clearly had a lot to do with who ran the trip. I have no idea whether the culture on Birthright trips has changed in the years since, but that was my experience.

  3. a trip to the Gush…as well as a presentation by someone from PeaceNow
    balance… yeah… meet these people, shake their hands hear their story. and then go see a powerpoint from someone not related to the people in question who has never experienced their reality. yup. balance, birthright style.

  4. this story is actually bogus. i have a friend that works for birthright and says J Street never was accepted as a birthright partner. it sounds like they’ve been rejected outright from sponsoring a bus. time for some fact-checking.

  5. Mr. Frank:
    As a communal professional who led and oversaw partnership Birthright trips, I was made aware that only Hillel is a direct Birthright partner, all other trips are partnerships between Israeli tour agencies (who are allotted a certain number of buses to fill) and Diaspora-side organizations who conduct the local marketing. Ergo, AJC doesn’t “have” an AJC trip, they conduct marketing in America for an Israeli tour agency seeking to fill seats on buses allotted to the Israeli tour company by Birthright. The trip belongs to Israel Experts, Authentic Israel, Israel Experience, Oranim (formerly), and others, not to the American logos otherwise known here in the States.
    Meaning, J Street U’s relationship with Birthright is little different from most other trip “partners”.

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