The Birthright Programme embodies all the assumptions of an Apartheid state
An all-white, all Jewish cast having a good time whilst Palestinians continue to pay the price
I must confess that when I was 16 I went on the equivalent
of the Birthright programme. It was a
heavily subsidised trip for one month to Israel. In 1969 the colonisation of the West Bank had
barely begun. A Labour Zionist government
was in power but the racist framework was already over 20 years old. Travelling in a hot bus in the Negev desert
without any air conditioning and with Honky Tonk Women by the Stones at number one.
As long as you are Jewish you can be gay, straight or a young professional. You can either be a progressive though if you live in Israel that will be knocked out of you
I went over already sceptical about Zionism and after losing
my minders and hitch hiking around I became convinced that no good would come
of the occupation of the West Bank. The
emphasis throughout the trip was that we were ‘returning’ to our home and that
once kindled the spark would never die.
The only problem was that I didn’t feel any attachment to Israel, nor
did I think of it as home. It was too
hot for me and I missed by real home back in Liverpool with its temperate
Birthright however is the
programme that thousands of young Jewish people go on each year. If you are between 18 and 26 and have at
least one Jewish parent then you too are eligible for a free trip. The reason for this programme is in order to
encourage youngs Jews to emigrate to Israel and that is why, at its very heart,
Birthright is the foundation stone of Israeli racism.
The most important category is that you are of ‘Jewish descent’ – Palestinians need not apply
If Israel is in need of immigrants then there are thousands
of them languishing in the refugee camps of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. The only problem is that they are of the
wrong ethnic category. They are not Jewish. It matter not that they and their families
originated from Palestine and were expelled in 1948 or subsequently. They are not of the right race. And that is why Birthright is Birthwrong.