Birthright is a wonderful program that has helped tens of thousands youth connect with Israel and their Jewish roots. The problem is that the program fails to provide an honest view of the facts on the ground in the Holy Land. Through subtle and not-so-subtle means, impressionable youth meet with only the most attractive members of the World's Most Moral Army, see the sights, get loaded up with the usual Holocaust-driven fear and anger at Yad Vashem, and get a dose of Jewish idealism (heroes don't commit suicide) at Masada. What they don't get is exposure to the ugly injustices within Israeli society and an understanding of the screwed up government--one that would never pass for democracy in any civilized nation by any civilized measure. On top of that, they are primed to hate the Arabs and fed a bunch of lies labeled as "history." Fortunately, some of our youth are bright enough to see the propaganda for what it is. They enjoy the trip, take a lot of pictures, get a bit connected. Then, thankfully, they return home and agitate for change. JVP must continue its important work as the antidote to the racist poison being fed to the next Jewish generation--the only real hope for Israel. Birthright can do so much more and, as a beginning, I'd suggest coordinating with Birthright Unplugged (check it out).
Netanyahu orders more demolitions of terrorists' homes in attempt to crack down on terror (Haaretz)
from the article: Young U.S. Jews aim 'occupy' movement at Birthright Israel