October 08, 2007

What is Birthright Unplugged?

I'm sickened by the deceit of the anti-Israel group, Birthright Unplugged, whose mission it is to deny the facts that 1) Israel was restored to the indigenous Jewish people as a legitimate and sovereign nation with the imprimatur of the United Nations and 2) has been a member of the world body since 1949.

Birthright Unplugged is an anti-Israel group which partners with a number of radical NGOs, some of which receive EU funding, in order to advance an extreme anti-Israel narrative via its “alternative” tours. The groups meet with officials from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), ICHAD, and Allegra Pacheco (an American Jew) from UN OCHA; and receive materials from the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department, and Badil.

The goal is to deny the legitimacy of Israel and of “the concept of a birthright for Jewish people in this land that Palestinians were displaced from."

On this basis, Birthright Unplugged prepares the small number of participants as “Palestinian solidarity” activists and to promote boycotts and demonization in the media, universities and other venues.

Birthright Unplugged was founded in 2003 by Dunya Alwan and Hannah Mermelstein (Also Jewish, Hannah is too much of a she-coward to allow comments on her blog), two American citizens and members of the International Women's Peace Service (IWPS), a West Bank-based NGO which collaborates with Christian Peacemaker Teams and the radical International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Mermelstein also serves on the Board of Advisers of the Deir Yassin Remembered organization, which describes Israel in their literature as a "Zionist colonization" project functioning under "apartheid conditions."

Birthright Unplugged runs what it calls "alternative" tours of Palestinian areas, which according to its website, "are designed primarily for Jewish people, though we welcome people of all backgrounds." The program and itinerary includes meetings with officials of radical Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, designed to expose participants to a narrative that denies any Jewish historical connection to the land of Israel, rejects the legitimacy of the establishment of the State of Israel, and supports the Palestinian "right of return" -- a highly contentious position and a major obstacle to compromise.

The concept behind Birthright Unplugged can be traced to the IWPS 2003-2004 "Mikarov Program," which described itself as "a ten-day intensive workshop for Israelis in the West Bank". This activity included collaboration with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), Machsom Watch, and the Holy Land Trust. According to IWPS's website, the goal of the project was to recruit and train “Palestinian solidarity” activists.

According to its website, Birthright Unplugged "is funded largely by private donations from American Jews," with some funding from the Rachel Corrie Foundation and the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute (an American foundation which provides a channel for tax deductible donations to the International Solidarity Movement). For most of its operational budget, the organization relies on personal donations from the participants, who are asked pay US$350-500, depending on their personal financial resources. Birthright Unplugged encourages participants to fundraise independently to defer these costs and to contribute additional money to the organization, offering a model "fundraising letter" on its website.

Please note that in March 2003 Israeli troops captured a senior Islamic Jihad member hiding in an ISM office in Jenin.

A message for Hannah Mermelstein and Allegra Pacheco: no one will ever say kaddish for you because you are two detestable loathesome betrayors of your own people. May G-d show you no mercy for the Jewish blood you both have on your hands.

For more information on groups who only thrive to promote the deaths of Jews, see NGO Monitor.