IfNotNow participants state that they knew they could not go to east Jerusalem with Birthright, so were leaving the group to do so.

Diaspora youngsters enjoy a Birthright Israel trip to the Jewish state.
Diaspora youngsters enjoy a Birthright Israel trip to the Jewish state.. (photo credit: Courtesy)


Six young Jews from the US associated with the left-wing IfNotNow organization have again gatecrashed a Birthright trip in Israel, participated in part of the 10 day tour and then demonstratively left in protest at what they said is a lack of perspective provided during the visit on the Palestinian narrative of the conflict with Israel.

The group of participants associated with IfNotNow live-streamed their protest on Facebook.

It appears that only the six participants in the group associated with IfNotNow left the tour to visit east Jerusalem, but not any one else on this Birthright trip.

Another two Birthright participants from a different group joined the original group of six on the tour in east Jerusalem, which was guided by Hagit Ofran from Peace Now’s Settlement Watch division.

This is the latest incident is the second in what is a coordinated campaign by IfNotNow group to have youth associated with the organization sign up for the free Birthright trips, and then publicly protest Israeli rule in the West Bank.

IfNotNow, which says it seeks to “end American Jewish support for the occupation,” launched a new campaign in June called Not Just A Free Trip, in which it says it is using “a diversity of methods” to teach Birthright participants about “the daily nightmare of Occupation.”

One of the methods is to actively infiltrate Birthright groups without the organization’s knowledge, and influence the other participants regarding the political conflict with the Palestinians by offering them tours and other activities without Birthright’s permission.

On Sunday morning, one of the participants started speaking during one of the group’s activities saying that they knew they would not get a perspective on the Palestinian narrative of the conflict, and that they were therefore going to visit a family in east Jerusalem they said is threatened with an eviction order.

“We know we cant do this [go to east Jerusalem] within Birthright, we know you’ve been trying to answer our questions, and we know birthright isn’t going to show us this perspective, which is why we need to leave to build the world that we want,” one of the IfNotNow participants told the Birthright tour guide.

The guide for his part reacted calmly, and said he would be happy to facilitate a discussion later in the day about the conflict and issues in east Jerusalem.

He also said said that anyone who wished to leave the trip could do so freely, although they will lose their deposit for the trip, may have to pay to change their flight ticket, and that Birthright may charge them for the entire trip.

Another of the IfNotNow participants acknowledged that they it would not be possible to go to east Jerusalem with Birthright which is why they were leaving the group to go themselves.

One of the IfNotNow participants, Elon Glickman, made a video for IfNotNow’s website last year protesting the lack of education he had received in the Jewish day school system about the Palestinian narrative on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Birthright has not immediately commented on the incident.

The Reservists on Duty pro-Israel organization said that “It turns out that the extreme left organizations have a new hobby. To use Zionist donor funds to promote their despicable propaganda. If so far they have tried to cause friction between Israel and the rest of the world, they are now also trying to destroy the special connection between Diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel. Reservists on Duty have warned for a long time that the various hate organizations are using any ways possible to blacken the image of the State of Israel. We call upon these organizations to remove their hands from the wonderful and important Birthright project and to stop their sickly obsession with the Jewish state.”

As reported by The Jerusalem Post