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J Street U circulates a petition calling for a Palestinian vote in connection with Birthright travels



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Participants of the Taglit-Birthright Israel expedition visit the Wailing Wall in the Old Town of Jerusalem, 18 August 2014. Photo: Flash90.

JNS.org – Continuing the protest, the umbrella organization J Street U distributed the chapters to university campuses across the country, urging Palestinian speakers to participate in the expeditions led by Hillel in Israel.

In mid-October the chapters of J Street U presented almost identical petitions to their Hillel to hear Palestinian voices during their trips for free.

"We feel that our community appreciates the inclusion of many experiences and narratives," states U Street Berkeley. "The exclusion of Palestinians and Palestinian Israeli citizens from Birthright is contrary to our core values." We see Birthright's trip as an extension of our campus Jewish community, and therefore we expect it to live in the same community values ​​as a whole. "

"For those of us who took part in the Birthright expedition with Berkeley Hillel: We expected more," the petition adds. "We expected that we would receive a fair and balanced education about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instead we received a short, biased and misleading narrative with minimal follow-up or return to campus."

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In Washington, the petition of J. Street U at the US University states: "When traveling to Israel, we should learn about the history and culture of the country, but we should also learn about the Israeli occupation and hear the Palestinians living under occupation, like those of us who have been on Birth and similar journeys can confirm this, masking these truths creates a blind connection with Israel. "

In Tufts, chapter J Street U also issued a petition and met Hillel on campus on October 25.

Sara Legasey and Rachel Eilbaum, former and current coordinator of Tufts Hillel Birthright, told the host Daily that although Birthright travels differ in travel plans, each Tufts Birthright trip involves a variety of narratives.

"All our travels have included Israeli Arab and / or Palestinian speakers or meetings with other minorities in Israel," said Legasey and Eilbaum. "Each travel route is different and we can not guarantee a particular speaker for various reasons. Over the years, we have always introduced a variety of narratives, including Palestinian narratives, into our BirthRay educational program, and we will continue to do so."

From April 2018, there are 60 J Street U chapters all over Poland.

J Street U already offers trips to Israel and the Palestinian territories through a program called Ta Shema.

J Street spokeswoman Jessica Rosenblum did not answer many requests for comment.


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