For more than two decades, going on Birthright has been seen as a rite of passage for young Jews. But, as the Israeli Occupation deepens and Trump and Netanyahu grow closer, we can no longer allow a free trip that hides the truth be synonymous with being a young Jew in America.
In this political moment — as Trump opens more family detention centers along the border with Mexico, the Supreme Court upholds the unjust Muslim Ban, and the Israeli army kills over 130 protesters in Gaza — our generation refuses to be manipulated by the establishment’s false narratives.
So today, IfNotNow is announcing a new campaign, Birthright: #NotJustAFreeTrip.
Help get us started by signing our petition, demonstrating the growing consensus of American Jews that want Birthright to tell the truth — about the Occupation, about its donors, and about its explicitly political purpose.
Birthright desperately wants us to view it as simply an apolitical, free trip, but we know it is not. The program curates an experience that deliberately obscures the Occupation from view. Participants never have the chance to witness the brutality of checkpoints or spend time in Palestinian villages living under military rule.
Our generation will no longer allow ourselves to be manipulated by right-wing donors, Trump, and the radical Israeli government who tell us a story about Israel and Judaism that deliberately hides the Occupation. We demand the truth.
This summer — just weeks after the Israeli army’s unconscionable violence against Palestinian protesters and Donald Trump’s reckless Embassy move — we must do all that we can to transform the way our generation is taught about Israel. It has never been acceptable for Birthright to to obscure Israeli military rule over the Palestinian people, but the recent violence reminds us the urgency of real, lasting change.
This summer, young American Jews will be making sure that our peers know that Birthright is not just a free trip. We will give our generation — those who will be on Birthright trips this summer, those who are alumni of Birthright, and those that are planning on going in the future — a chance to see the full picture by providing them with the resources to understand what the Occupation really means for Palestinians, Israelis, and our Jewish community.
All summer we’ll be encouraging Birthright participants to get real answers to hard questions about the Occupation (check out our Birthright participant packet here) and collecting and publishing testimonies from Birthright alumni about what they did — or, more likely, did not — see on their trip (submit your own testimony here).
Young American Jews reject Birthright’s attempt to narrowly limit our access to the complex truths of life in Israel and Palestine.
This free trip comes with high costs, and we refuse to be fed a political agenda any longer.
You can also learn more by checking out www.NotJustAFreeTrip.com, our new campaign website which went live today.