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Birthright now offering skateboarding, hip hop-themed trips to Israel

As if it wasn’t enough to offer Jews around the world a trip to Israel totally free of charge, the Birthright industry is now marketing “the only skateboarding trip to Israel” and a “hip hop” trip. This is in addition to the already popular “niche” tours that include those catering to the LGBT community, food enthusiasts and wheelchair-bound Jews.

The American Zionist youth movement Young Judea hosting these flyers on its website explains the skateboarding trip as “Based on the core Israel Now itinerary,  this program is specially offered to people who board. No posers. No pushers. Go to explore and to skate. Sessions in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem!”

Birthright flyer

The hip hop trip is defined as “specifically offered to hip-hop heads. Ciphers and Passports – it can’t get better. What does that mean? It is entirely unclear what these trips actually entail, but they are sponsored by Artists 4 Israel, an organization that describes its mission thusly: “We are the security fence against cultural terrorism.”

If you ask me, these flyers are committing some cultural crime. But anyway, why are these trips being offered? Is there a shortage of Jews going on Birthright trips? According to the website, Birthright has taken “over 340,000 young Jewish people from 62 countries.” Is there a specific demand by skateboards and hip hoppers?

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    1. Kolumn9

      Birthright has become commoditized and people want to feel like they are doing something special and unique. We are all unique snowflakes and all that. If organizers want to stand out they need to offer more creative ideas. As far as I understand, the basic idea behind the organization of birthright trips is that if you could get some x number of Jews to go on a trip that conforms to Birthright standards you get a free trip and there is probably some profit in it as well. The market is artificial but the dynamics that drive free market innovation are at work here. They are just getting started.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Danny

      Wow. Just when you thought you’ve seen and heard it all from Israel, Israel ups the ante. I guess this just goes to show that Israel is encountering rising backlash from Jews on U.S. campuses and is growing desperate. Otherwise, I can’t figure out what this kind of cheap marketing is supposed to accomplish.

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    3. Philos

      Well, I had the misfortune in a previous life of knowing one of the people that established this group Artists4Israel. They painted a lot in settlements, especially Ariel. They also vandalized my neighborhood with their “tags”, which I wasn’t too pleased about. Basically, they’re a bunch of well meaning imbeciles who smoke too much, don’t read enough and take what is spoon fed to them as truth. Most of them aren’t even Jewish, surprisingly enough, although the main coordinators are. You know the type, Jewish kids from New York and New Jersey with too much money on their hands into hip-hop but with a striking paucity of any friends with skin complexions other than white.

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      • Craig Dershowitz

        You have a problem with multi-culturalism?

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    4. Danny

      Maybe Israel is looking for some new conscripts to the Mossad. You know – “natural” attrition and all.

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    5. “It is entirely unclear what these trips actually entail, but they are sponsored by Artists 4 Israel, an organization that describes its mission thusly: ‘We are the security fence against cultural terrorism.'”

      Well, I can’t speak for the other terrorists around here, but I think A4I will need a lot more than these trips if they seriously hope to protect the Israeli populace and the Zionist dream in the face of my singing.

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      • To see The Wall and terrorism generalized so easilty says much about fortress nationalism–such as how comfortable it can make one feel.

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        • Kolumn9

          Indeed, and how much it makes sense after going through a time period where the response to your peace offers is buses and restaurants blown up and rockets shot at your cities.

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          • K9, that sentence doesn’t make any sense at all (and the bus bombings of the Second Intifada actually make it seem even more ludicrous, not less). The phrase ‘cultural terrorism’ in particular sounds like something straight out of Chairman Mao’s ‘Little Red Book’. I’ve no idea what Artists for Israel mean by it, and I’m not sure they do either.

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          • Kolumn9

            Which part of fortress nationalism doesn’t make sense in the case of a permanent state of conflict with a foe that thinks it is justified and legitimate to expressly target your civilians because he believes that you have no right to exist as a society?

            Notice that I wasn’t responding to you. I was responding to Greg.

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          • andrew r

            “it is justified and legitimate to expressly target your civilians because he believes that you have no right to exist as a society?”

            A very apt description of how Israel became a Jewish state.

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    6. David

      What a joke, how utterly pathetic and desperate. For every Jew who is sucked in by this juvenile spiel, ten are divorcing themselves from Zionism and its Frankenstein, Israel. If the 6 million who perished at the hands of the Nazis could somehow rise from the dead, they would stand shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinians. Zionism is moribund!!!

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      • XYZ

        You wish Dream on.

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    7. Mitchell Cohen

      If I was 19 or 20 and never visited Israel, I would personally prefer a cycling tour of Israel. But, hey, if skateboarding is your thing, have a ball dude….:-)

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      • Kolumn9

        Haha. I was thinking the same thing. Where are the cycling and surfing trips? 🙂

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    8. Piotr Berman

      I think that this is intelligent hasbara: when the arguments on your side are not the best, concentrate on cool images.

      I imagine that even if they find 5 people for the skateboard tour, it will look very spiffy in all kinds of materials promoting “brand Israel”. And even if nobody will show up, the poster is cool. The girl looks a bit scary, but her heart is in the right place.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Kiwi

      Well, I can relate one success story. I know a Jewish girl, a friend of mine, who came home a changed person. Before she left on the birtright trip, she felt moderately positive about Israel but she wasn’t really a Zionist. Now she is.

      Reply to Comment