Hot on the heels of the controversy surrounding Allison Benedikt’s recent piece comes another anti-Zionist article by a young American Jew. This time the author is Kiera Feldman, and she is railing against the Birthright program specifically. Her charges are sensational, accusing the Birthright program of brainwashing, deception and, absurdly, of essentially using sex to further their agenda.
Her piece is sophomoric and silly, and Philip Getz at Jewish Ideas Daily does a good job of taking it apart. Suffice to say that Birthright is one of the best tools we have for promoting identification with Israel among Jews in the Diaspora. No less than Natan Sharansky has recognized this, shifting the focus of the storied Jewish Agency away from aliya and towards greater support of Birthright.
The Nation is predisposed to be critical of Israel, and perhaps it is not surprising they ran a story such as this. However, this piece, like Benedikt’s is a strong example of the growing antagonism towards Israel among young American Jews. Is this a coincidence, or are sentiments like Benedikt’s and Feldman’s gaining traction in this generation? If so, then perhaps we need Birthright more than ever. This alarming trend needs to be addressed, in the U.S. and in Israel.