Lefty birthright Trip, Redux

You might’ve noticed Joseph’s post about The UPZ’s upcoming birthright trip has been removed. This was at The UPZ’s request. It caused something of a disturbance between them, Israel Experts (the trip provider), and birthright israel, so I’d just like to take this opportunity to clear things up:
Neither birthright, Israel Experts, nor The UPZ sanctioned that post. Joseph caught wind of the trip and promoted it all by his lonesome, the wording being his own and not language which any of those institutions chose nor would choose to describe the program and its intentions. Further, the post-birthright tours of East Jerusalem and the West Bank Joseph mentioned are not offered by birthright, Israel Experts, or the UPZ, but rather by Joseph himself, who regularly gives tours of those areas as a New Israel Fund fellow and volunteer with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. He should have been clearer in stating this fact.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused any of the parties involved. The official information about The UPZ’s upcoming trip follows, and we still invite anyone visiting Israel on a birthright trip, or otherwise, to contact Joseph if they’re interesting in learning more about the Jewish settlements and Palestinian communities surrounding Jerusalem, by e-mailing him at [email protected].
IsraelExperts, a birthright israel tour provider, will be running a special birthright israel trip in collaboration with the Union of Progressive Zionists (UPZ) this summer (tentatively to depart late May).
The UPZ is a non-profit organization committed to providing a network of support and educational resources for college students who wish to bring a message of hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians to their campuses.
This special birthright israel trip hopes to include meetings with Israeli and Palestinian representatives of the Geneva Initiative peace plan, tours of the Tel Aviv area and the Negev with an eye toward issues of equality in Israeli society, and meetings with members of the new kibbutz movement, who have founded communities throughout Israel dedicated to working for a more just Israeli society.
For eligility information click here.
Please note. This trip is contingent on those interested completing the registration process promptly.
Registration for this trip begins on Thursday, March 3 at 9AM EST, and is on a first come first served basis. To find out how to register, or if you have any questions contact [email protected] or call 1-800-772-2452. The trip is a gift from birthright israel.

21 thoughts on “Lefty birthright Trip, Redux

  1. Well Moby, good thing that’s all cleared up. I’m sure no one at UPZ or birthright israel will take umbrage with that message. I however am a little curious. Does one have to be a member of the Union of Progressive Zionists in order to “bring a message of hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians?”
    I would like to think that as a thinking and caring person, my fondest hope is for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Is a desire for peace the exclusive purview of secular lefties? I know that IsraelExperts, the trip provider for both this trip and our own Jewlicious trip to Israel goes to great pains to try and provide an educational and non-preachy trip where participants are urged to come to their own conclusions and / or study the matter further. I think all of their programming is underscored by the desire to live in peace with all of Israel’s neighbours.
    So what’s the deal? Hey, is Josh Berman the same guy who got kicked out of a mega event once for giving out fliers promoting the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions? What do those guys do now that house demolitions have been suspended by the Army? Just curious.

  2. Something is bothering me.
    Why is it that these liberal trips only visit Tel Aviv and the Negev?
    Why don’t they also visit Ramalah and Jenin to see their poor peace-loving disenfranchised palestinian friends?

  3. joe berman is the guy who got kicked out of the mega event, despite the fact that he got a table in advance and paid for it!
    also — dave you KNOW that israel hasn’t stopped demolishing “illegally constructed” civilian homes. they’ve only stopped demolishing families of terrorists’ homes, which make up the smallest number of demolitions.

  4. Uh… you know, if I lived in an illegally constructd home in say… Montreal or Brooklyn, that home would be subject to demolition as well. But whatever.

  5. “But whatever”
    Honestly CK, that’s the way I’ve been feeling these past few days with the likes of a few folks on this site. Actually, I believe I commented on your site more than this one.

  6. “you know, if I lived in an illegally constructd home in say… Montreal or Brooklyn, that home would be subject to demolition as well.”
    and if you weren’t allowed to build that house (on land which you own) simply for the fact that you were a jew you’d…

  7. “Why don’t they also visit Ramalah and Jenin to see their poor peace-loving disenfranchised palestinian friends?” -Joe
    Cuz they killa ’em! I find Palestinians are only peacefull when there is english speaking press around. I hope everyone in London chokes on their own hipocracy and ignorance.

  8. and if you weren’t allowed to build that house (on land which you own) simply for the fact that you were a jew
    Moby, you’re implying that Arabs aren’t allowed to build homes because they are not Jewish. Yet in Jerusalem over 6,000 homes have been built illegally with only 200 demolitions. You also fail to mention that many of the homes have been built on land not belonging to the builder (ie absentee Christian Palestinian land) or on land zoned for schools etc. You further fail to mention that the rules and regulations for home construction, including the possibility of demolition, fees etc. apply equally to both Jews and non-Jews.
    You can read more about it here. Had lunch with the author, a Law Professor. Seemed like a really cool dude.

  9. “Cuz they killa ’em! “-Bingo HaZeev!
    All these people here are hypocrits and fakers.
    Notice how moby avoids answering these questions – cause he knows the answer.

  10. To those who find Birthright to be too far to the right. Your wrong.
    I did Birthright with Mayanot, which I believe is under the auspices of Chabad. While our group (college kids from around the states) would have liked to go to Hebron and other Jewish places, we were taken to Rabin square and were taught Israeli songs of peace. Not to Bash Rabin (may he rest in peace) but he was pretty left. All we got from our Birthright guides was (something like) “Birthright is paying for this trip and therefore we have to visit these place.”
    I think that if we had to go to Rabin square and sing “Shalom” our “progressive” friends can take the same damn trip too.
    (While I’m at it I think we owe a great debt of gratitude to Birthright for providing such a tremendous service to world Jewery. I had a blast on Birthright.)
    I found it very balanced, if not a little leaning to the left (the place we visited and the narative of our guides, that is) but I dont think they should be providing ‘human shield’ types with the same. Maybe thats a little harsh but think for a second, is birthright a political program? Hell no! It is about bringing Jews to their home land. Dont screw up Birthright with politics.
    Peace and Love.

  11. tour features will include massive “nonviolent rallies” to destroy the Apartheid wall,and a bone crushing ,Adrenaline rushing attempts where you try to to stop D-9 Zionazi bullodozers with your face.Also a special “desecrate the Kotel feature” will let the participants put “obscenities into the Western Wall”.

  12. As a member of the UPZ in Canada (who also happens to be the pres. of my campuses Israel Action Club and someone who fights the fight daily) I’d like to try to explain the purpose of the UPZ trip (though I cannot speak officially for the organization).
    The trip is designed to talk about many things INCLUDING the conflict, but not only the conflict. First of all, it is still a birthright trip, so all the participants will get the opertunity to see Israel for the first time, not a small thing for members of a Zionist group. They will also be spending time learning about progressive neo-urban-kibbutzim that have started cropping up all over Israel and are flourishing. The UPZ is not a one issue group – it is about advocating, advancing, and facilitating a progressive Jewish state in Israel – which includes much more than just the conflict.
    Sometimes we Zionists forget that in our activism for Israel with regards to the conflict that we also have an obligation to build, sustain, and improve the state we already have.
    Chazak Ve’ematz (Strength & Courage)
    Tom Chervinsky

  13. alexbmn – stop trying to defame a group you know nothing about.
    The UPZ was founded by some of the oldest Zionist groups in existance, ones that helped build that country out of the swamps and deserts. That fought in the Warsaw ghetto, in the Palmach, in the IDF. To pretend that left wing Zionists don’t love or respect Israel is quite misguided.
    (FYI – UPZ was founded by Hashomer Hatzair, the oldest Zionist Youth Movement in the world; Habonim Dror, another significant youth movement Israel’s development; Meretz USA & the Labour Zionist Alliance (which is the US branch of the Labour party) , two of the oldest Israeli political parties.)
    If you doubt our committment to Israel ask yourself why it is that we still send trips that focus on doing volunteer work, making aliya, progressive living, and how to make Israel the best state it can possibly be. You might disagree with us, but don’t you dare question our motives – unless you’re willing to have the same accusations thrown back at you.

  14. Sometimes we Zionists forget that in our activism for Israel with regards to the conflict that we also have an obligation to build, sustain, and improve the state we already have.

  15. Israel.
    Well… Canada too… it is a nice coutry… cold’s kinda pissing me off… i miss hockey a great deal… But at least now I can make a t-shirt that say Toronto Maple Leafs 2004-2005: UNDEFEATED!

  16. my roommate responds with the following:
    The planning policy in Jerusalem is configured in order to prevent the
    Palestinian population in the city from becoming more than 30% of the
    Jerusalem population. This is a policy that was created after Israel
    annexed East Jerusalem in 1967. In 1973, the “Gafni Comission,” set the
    direction for these policies concerning the demographics of the city and
    made their intentions very clear. The planner of Jerusalem thinks that
    the way to stop the expansion of the Palestinian population in the city is
    to shrink the Palestinian areas in the city. They believe that if the
    Arabs do not have a space to live they will leave Jerusalem and head to
    the periphery (and lose their Jerusalem identity cards allowing them to
    reside or even be in the city). Thus, the city does not give building
    permits to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, for all different sorts of
    It is true that in East Jerusalem today there are thousands of “illegal”
    houses — and actually today it is closer to 20,000 than 6,000 — and it
    is also true that the city bulldozes about 100 houses a year. But this
    only goes to prove that there is a serious housing shortage in the city
    and the only reason they don’t bulldoze more houses is because they don’t
    have the money in the budget. Last year’s allocations for house
    demolitions in the Jerusalem municipal budget was about 3 Million NIS.
    It is also true that there are many houses built on stolen land, but the
    numbers are significantly smaller than what the city claims. On the other
    hand, this is also a byproduct of the occupation; since the Israeli
    government closed the Orient House (the quasi Palestinian municipality in
    East Jerusalem) in 2001 there has been no Palestinian authority to create
    law and order in East Jerusalem (and of course the Israeli police do not
    function there).
    If you are interested in receiveing a copy of the newly released book (in
    Hebrew) by Meir Margolit, the former head of the opposition on the
    Jerusalem City Council, which details these policies, contact
    [email protected]. Copies are being placed in the mail to Knesset as I
    write this 🙂

  17. I have to say….I have a friend going on birthright who is left wing, and i told him to shout on the rooftops, there is nothing inconsistent with being Jewish and being a progressive zionist. There is no need to deny the rights of the Palestinians in order to believe that Israel has a right to exist as a free and democratic and Jewish state.

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