Students from Zionist group challenge 'IfNotNow' to debate

'Your organization staged a series of public media stunts to demonize Israel but is conspicuously silent about Israel's right to exist.'

Mordechai Sones,

Will Club Z and IfNotNow debate?
Will Club Z and IfNotNow debate?
iStock

Students Ron Belman, Sam Wolf, and Phillip Yurchenko of the Northern-California-based Zionist group "Club Z" this morning tweeted to Simone Zimmerman, co-founder of the group "IfNotNow," challenging the group's leadership to a debate at Club Z’s Youth Zionist Leadership Forum this month (January 18-21, 2019) in San Francisco, CA.

In a signed letter, the students stated that IfNotNow has “staged a series of public media stunts to demonize Israel but is conspicuously silent about the country’s right to exist” and that the organization has helped to organize a walk-off from a Birthright trip.

The students say “those of us who had the privilege of traveling to Israel with Birthright saw the Jewish state up close – in all of its beauty, complexities, and challenges.”

In their letter, Club Z writes: "You describe yourselves as 'pro-Israel'. We have a different view about what that means."

"Your organization staged a series of public media stunts to demonize Israel but is conspicuously silent about the country’s right to exist.

"IfNotNow helped to organize a walk-off from a Birthright trip because, in the words of Simone Zimmerman, Birthright is 'an intentional part of the infrastructure meant to whitewash the occupation and to keep our community indifferent to human rights violations.' We are puzzled by these words because we know Birthright to be an entirely different experience. Those of us who have had the privilege of traveling to Israel with Birthright saw the Jewish state up close – in all of its beauty, complexities, and challenges."

The students call the 10-day Birthright trip "one of the greatest gifts that Jewish young adults could ever receive."

Concluding their letter, Club Z issues their challenge: "Here is your chance. We, the students of Club Z, challenge IfNotNow to a debate at our Youth Zionist Leadership Forum in San Francisco from Jan. 18-21, 2019. We’ll articulate the merits of Birthright and supporting the State of Israel, and you can share your opinion as well."




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