How Birthright Israel Works its Magic

How Birthright Israel Works its Magic

Birthright, the American Zionist organization that sends young diaspora Jews on free vacations to the Holy Land, relies on an overload of information and fun in the sun to accomplish its goal.

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Birthright, the American Zionist organization that sends young diaspora Jews on free vacations to the Holy Land, relies on an overload of information and fun in the sun to accomplish its goal.

According to Benjamin Netanyahu, if you go on a Birthright trip to Israel, “you’ll discover who you are, discover your connection to the land of your fathers, you’ll discover that in many ways you have come home.” The Nation’s Kiera Feldman decided to see what Bibi was talking about, so, in 2010, she packed her recording gear and joined a Birthright tour of Israel. She wanted to see what about the trip and the experience makes so many Birthrighters feel as though they have been transformed.

In this audio, Feldman discovers that Birthright, the American Zionist organization that has, since its founding in 1999, spent almost $600 million to send more than 260,000 young diaspora Jews on free vacations to the Holy Land, relies on an overload of information and fun in the sun to accomplish its goal. On the ten days of intense propaganda and overstimulation that made up Feldman’s trip, many of her fellow participants began to view the actions of the Israeli government in a new, more favorable light. For more on the program, read Feldman’s piece in this week’s issue of The Nation, “The Romance of Birthright Israel.”

Elements of this report first aired on WBAI’s Beyond the Pale and are included here with the kind permission of that program. This report also features music by YACHT and Travis.

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