Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Protesters from IfNotNow by the New York Public Library.

Protesters from IfNotNow by the New York Public Library. (Photo: IfNotNow Twitter account)

'Stop Lying to Young Jews': Protest by Anti-Occupation Jewish Activists Targets Birthright Tours

"Going to Israel in 2019 and not learning about the Occupation is like going to the Jim Crow South and not learning about segregation."

Eoin Higgins

Fifteen people were arrested Friday in New York when hundreds of activists from the Jewish advocacy group If Not Now blocked access to the entrance of Birthright, the Sheldon Adelson-funded organization that takes young Americans Jews on tours of Israel to instill within them support of that country's war on the Palestinian people.

If Not Now's goal in Friday's protest, the group said in a statement, was to push Birthright to include education on the occupied West Bank, Gaza, and Golan Heights territories. 

"Going to Israel in 2019 and not learning about the Occupation is like going to the Jim Crow South and not learning about segregation," said Alyssa Rubin, a student from Boston who traveled to new York for the protest. 

IfNotNow blocked off Birthright's doors and 3rd Ave.

The 15 people arrested formed a human chain in front of the building. 

IfNotNow protesters made their presence known across Midtown, including at Grand Central Station. 

"Today is Birthright’s last chance to choose the progressive values of our generation over the interests of its right-wing donors, like Sheldon Adelson and the Netanyahu government," said Zu Weinger Darmstadt, a student participant in the protest who came to New York for the action from the University of Michigan. 

Elon Glickman, an organizer with IfNotNow, addressed the problem of Birthright in remarks to the crowd. Remembering how he left his Birthright tour after the organization ignored the occupation, Glickman said that things must change within the group's priorities.

"It is so important that the Jewish community confront the crisis of the Occupation." said Glickman. "This is Birthright's last chance to do so."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Bloodbath': At Least 6 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Mass Shooting at Illinois July 4th Parade

"What freedom do we have if we fear being gunned down at a parade?" asked one progressive politician horrified by the reported carnage.

Brett Wilkins ·


On This July 4th, Abortion Rights Movement Says 'We're Not in the Mood for Fireworks'

"If we don’t have the ability to make decisions about if, when, and how to grow our families—we don't have freedom."

Brett Wilkins ·


Deadly Glacier Collapse in Italy 'Linked Directly to Climate Change'

At least seven people were killed when a glacier slid down a mountainside near a popular climbing route in the Alps on Sunday.

Julia Conley ·


'Organized Whitewash': US Claims Israeli Military's Murder of Journalist Not Intentional

"The odds that those responsible for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh will be held to account are all but nonexistent," said the human rights group B'Tselem in response to findings of U.S. State Department.

Brett Wilkins ·


Hundreds March in Akron Enraged by Police Killing of Jayland Walker

"The police can do whatever they want," said one local resident through tears. "They can take our children's lives and think it's okay."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo