Since when is it wrong for Birthright to nurture Zionism

Gary Rosenblatt

Officials of Birthright Israel are said to be worried about the impact of an in-depth, highly critical piece, written by a recent participant and published in the July 4-11 issue of the Nation.

They needn’t be.

In fact, like the biblical Balaam (the Moabite prophet who, when hired by King Balak to curse the Jews, ends up blessing them against his will), Kiera Feldman has unintentionally underscored the success of the project — asserting that it turns “blank slate” young Jews into pro-Israel advocates.

Feldman, 26, who wrote the piece titled “The Romance of Birthright Israel” (, herself did not qualify as a “blank slate” when she signed up for the free 10-day trip last year.

Self-described as “a baptized child of intermarriage” on assignment and funded in part by the Investigative Fund, loosely affiliated with the liberal Nation magazine, she makes clear that she is sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and opposed to Israel’s treatment of and attitudes toward Arabs.

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Gary Rosenblatt is editor and publisher of New York Jewish Week, where this column originally appeared.