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Jewish Voice For Peace Tells Teens Not To Go On Birthright

(JTA) — The pro-Palestinian group Jewish Voice for Peace is calling on young Jewish adults to eschew the free trip to the Jewish state offered by Birthright Israel.

The organization calls on the young Jews to reject Birthright Israel using the slogan #ReturnTheBirthright.

A manifesto on the organization’s website reads: “(T)oday, we must acknowledge that the modern state of Israel is predicated on the ongoing erasure of Palestinians. Taking a Birthright trip today means playing an active role in helping the state promote Jewish “return” while rejecting the Palestinian right of return. It is not enough to accept this offer from the Israeli government and maintain a critical perspective while on the trip. We reject the offer of a free trip to a state that does not represent us, a trip that is only “free” because it has been paid for by the dispossession of Palestinians. And as we reject this, we commit to promoting the right to return of Palestinian refugees.”

The manifesto concludes: “There are other ways for us to strengthen our Jewish identities, in community with those who share our values. Israel is not our Birthright.”

The eligible Jewish young people, ages 18-26 years old, are also asked to sign a petition which reads: “We are Birthright-eligible Jews between the ages of 18 and 26. We pledge that we will not go on a Birthright trip because it is fundamentally unjust that we are given a free trip to Israel, while Palestinian refugees are barred from returning to their homes.”

Some 600,000 Jewish young adults have visited Israel on the 10-day, all expenses paid trips funded by private donors and the Israeli government.

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