The vehemently anti-Israeli US group Jewish Voice for Peace a has launched a campaign attacking Birthright Israel, which sponsors trips to the Holy Land for Jewish young adults aimed at strengthening their Jewish identity, Jewish communities, and connection with Israel and its people. Now JVP, which openly supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and other extremist leftwing movements, has launched its “#ReturnTheBirthright” campaign, declaring proudly: “Israel is not our birthright.”
At a time when the number of violent anti-Semitic assaults taking place in the United States is rising dramatically, programs such as Birthright and Nefesh B’Nefesh are crucial to facilitate the immigration of American Jews to Israel as the most obvious remedy. It is within this context that one must regard the JVP agenda, which is, as NGO Monitor put it, “to dilute support for Israel in the Jewish community and the American public at large […] by deploying the language of demonization and delegitimization. JVP also acts to provide a façade of Jewish legitimacy to these campaigns.”
The Jewish Voice for Peace views itself as the “Jewish wing” of the Palestinian solidarity movement and seeks to “end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.” According to NGO Monitor, JVP’s funding sources are not transparent, and its website carries no information on its donors. JVP has received funding from the Violet Jabara Charitable Trust (an Arab-American foundation that also supports Electronic Intifada), the Firedoll Foundation, and the Wallace Global Fund, all of which contribute to numerous other anti-Israel groups.
Limited financial information on JVP is available through public IRS documents (990s) and databases, which report a total revenue of $1,181,372 in 2013, $1,424,461 in 2014, and $2,596,654 in 2015. In June 2015, it received a two-year grant of $140,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
The new attack’s manifesto states, among other fairly revolting statements: “As young Jews, we recognize that Israel is not our birthright. In 1948, Zionist militias expelled over 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and villages, an act of ethnic cleansing, known by Palestinians as the Nakba or ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic, that cleared the land for the creation of the modern-day state of Israel.
“Today, when young Jews are taken by Birthright guides on hikes through forests in Israel, they still sometimes stumble across the remnants of these destroyed Palestinian villages, covered over, often deliberately, by the Jewish National Fund’s tree-planting programs. Meanwhile, millions of these Palestinians and their descendants continue to live in refugee camps and elsewhere in the global Palestinian diaspora, unable to return to their homeland, while those that remain in historic Palestine continue to face discriminatory, second-class citizenship within present-day Israel, and permanent military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza.”
The message concludes: “We implore other young Jews on our campuses and in our communities: don’t go on a Birthright trip to Israel. Don’t take a trip sponsored by conservative donors and the Israeli government, where the ongoing oppression and occupation of Palestinians will be hidden from you, just because it’s free. There are other ways for us to strengthen our Jewish identities, in community with those who share our values. Israel is not our Birthright. Return the Birthright.”