Am. Muslims for Palestine Official: Jews Who Participate in Birthright Engage in Ethnic Cleansing

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On February 25, 2019, the Al-Jazeera English live streamed an episode of a show called “The Stream” on its YouTube channel that featured a debate about the Birthright Israel program. Taher Herzallah, American Muslims for Palestine’s Associate Director of Outreach and Grassroots Organizing, said that young Jews who participate in Birthright Israel are engaged in the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and the erasure of their history, and that it’s “ludicrous” that young American Jews can claim citizenship in a land to which their only connection is a religious one. Rami Allan, co-founder of the Palestine Solidarity Alliance of Hunter College, called on young Jews to boycott Birthright Israel and it denies the Palestinian right of return, and he said that young Jews should be on the “right side of history” rather than partake in a trip funded by Netanyahu government. American-Jewish filmmaker and writer Ariel Sobel argued that members of Jewish organizations that attend Birthright and stage walkouts are taking money away from low-income people who couldn’t otherwise attend the trip, and Herzallah responded: “Painting this a class thing is absolutely ridiculous considering that Sheldon Adelson, one of the richest billionaires in America, is the funder of the Taglit Birthright program.” He added that Birthright Israel is “a problem” because it whitewashes Israel’s crimes and strives to “establish a politic” in the minds of young Jews. According to AMP’s website, Taher Herzallah studied Political Science and International Affair at UC Riverside and has been arrested for protesting.