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2018-09-07 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

September 7, 2018  RSS feed
Culture

Text: T T T

JTA writer avoids the real story

Letter to the Editor

The primary mission of the Jewish protest group IfNotNow (INN) is to end the West Bank occupation. Some like me would argue the group is radical, but their actions would require another article to explain. JTA writer Ben Sales described the protest of Birthright tours in the Jewish Press Aug. 10 issue. The story reported how tour participants spontaneously argued with tour guides explaining Israeli policy in the West Bank and then left the tours in protest. The truth is this was an organized campaign by INN that was openly promoted on their website all summer. INN targeted Birthright participants and invited them to attend workshops to encourage protest. Birthright donors were demonized as rich, right-wing extremists attempting to conceal evil motives. Of course, without a solid understanding of Israeli history, and the onslaught of anti-Israel narratives, some Jewish kids will be converted. What’s unacceptable is that Ben Sales either ignored or concealed the reason behind the protests. The headline should have simply read: “IfNotNow Targets Birthright Tours.”

I believe we’re raising a generation of anti-intellectuals. A common observation after reviewing INN news stories is there’s not a single constructive solution they offer; it’s strictly protest-only. When they refused an invitation to meet with the ADL after protesting at their headquarters, INN leadership claimed enough talk, time for action. A critic of INN called their behavior “infantile.” I would add “convenient.”

One look at their website and it’s clear why this group is impossible to nail down. How can one argue the merits if there are no specifics? How convenient to offer popular slogans without describing how to achieve them. One compliment I can give is I appreciate their history of peaceful protest. But I also hope they acknowledge it’s morally wrong to accept a free trip to Israel and then insult the people who donated it. Two factual statements: 1. Israel is one of our greatest allies and an amazing country. 2. The reasons and solutions to the occupation are difficult and complex. Let’s be open, honest, and teach that message to our youth.

Noah Jacobson
Tampa


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