Birthright back­lash

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Young Amer­i­can Jews spark Birthright de­bate,” Dec. 5

As Amer­i­cans, we have an in­alien­able right to ex­press our opin­ions, po­lit­i­cal or other­wise. The par­tic­i­pants in the Birthright pro­gram had ev­ery right to ex­press and act on their po­lit­i­cal thoughts.

As the ar­ti­cle stated, the pro­gram tries to be apo­lit­i­cal and pays for later re­turn tick­ets from Is­rael should any par­tic­i­pants choose to re­main af­ter the con­clu­sion of the tour. If they so de­sire, they can visit the Pales­tinian ar­eas that they be­lieve are omit­ted for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons.

It’s im­pos­si­ble to think that young peo­ple are not aware of the in­nate problems in Is­rael. They could have de­clined this op­por­tu­nity to tour Is­rael free of charge. In­stead, by walk­ing off the tour, they gar­nered pub­lic­ity at the ex­pense of gen­er­ous donors. Mar­i­anne Bo­bick

Long Beach

Ku­dos to those young Jewish Amer­i­cans who walked off their Birthright tours be­cause of the fail­ure to fully ad­dress the Pales­tine-Is­rael con­flict.

While Birthright might claim to be “apo­lit­i­cal,” its very name sug­gests that Jews around the world have a “birthright” to the Holy Land that the Pales­tinian Chris­tians and Mus­lims who live there do not. It is in­spir­ing that these young Jewish men and women re­fused to be spoon-fed a san­i­tized ver­sion of Is­raeli so­ci­ety and are de­ter­mined not to ig­nore the harsher re­al­i­ties of the con­flict.

If Birthright truly wants to en­cour­age di­as­pora Jews to en­gage with Is­raeli so­ci­ety, the best way to do it is to present the un­var­nished truth about the con­flict and sup­port poli­cies (such as end­ing the oc­cu­pa­tion and il­le­gal set­tle­ments, and pro­mot­ing the two-state so­lu­tion) that will lead to a just and eq­ui­table set­tle­ment of the con­flict.

These young peo­ple are too smart to ac­cept any­thing less. David Saf­fan

Santa Bar­bara

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