I read this article last night and was thoroughly disappointed.
“Birthright’s Hidden Cost” by Josh Nathan-Kazis — http://newvoices.org/editorial/birthrights-hidden-cost.html
Nathan-Kazis writes in his article (which you can read at the link above) that Birthright Israel (BRI) billionaire donor, Sheldon Adelson, has pushed Birthright to indoctrinate its participants with a right-wing agenda.
However, no where in this nicely written article is there any connection, statistic, or relevant fact that connects Adelson to indoctrinating Birthright Israel participants to a right-wing / pro-Netanyahu agenda.
Josh Nathan-Kazis does not draw out a case for this, rather, he explains how Birthright Israel is reliant on such wealthy donors, who like to take up certain causes.
Firstly, has Nathan-Kazis interviewed a statistically relevant number of Birthright participants over the past few years to make your conclusion about propaganda and indoctrination? If he did, why weren’t these findings included in his article? Clearly, he had none.
Secondly, the article does not discuss at all the fact that Birthright Israel does not actually run any of its programs. Rather, there are some 30+ organizations running various types and styles of Birthright Israel trips (called trip providers), all deciding how to educate and even indoctrinate its participants. It’s up to the trip provider, not Birthright Israel. BRI merely has a set rules and requirements each trip provider must follow, and working for one of them myself, I know that teaching a pro-Netanyahu or pro-right-wing agenda is NOT one of those requirements.
Thirdly, even if this analysis were true, how would indoctrinating non-Israelis affect the Israeli elections? Last I checked, BRI participants live in the Diaspora, which typically means they can’t vote in Israel (most of them at least).
While I do have my own personal problems with BRI, namely the lack of actual education that goes on during the 10-day program, this false analysis of a right-wing indoctrination is far from the truth.
I agree, it is important to look into the donors that fund an organization, but this article has not proved any connection between the cause (the donor) and the stated effect (right-wing indoctrination). Unfortunately, this is just another piece of shoddy yellow journalism.
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