ON A CLOUDY, rainy Saturday, a group of about 50 people gather outside the Dung Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City. But this tour group isn’t headed to the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, or the Mount of Olives. Instead, they head downhill towards the predominantly Palestinian community of Silwan.
This tour group calls itself ‘Birthleft,’ establishing itself as the antithesis to government-sanctioned Zionist tour groups such as Birthright.
Groups associated with the left-wing have proven to be controversial in Israel, which recently passed a bill banning certain leftist NGOs from entering the country. And it is not the first time the Israeli government has been accused of targeting leftist NGOs.
Of the 27 groups listed on a 2016 bill on NGO transparency, 25 were considered ‘left-wing.’ Two others were ‘non-affiliated.’
“Often times on Birthright, there is one perspective,” Abby Kirschbaum, a committee member of the ‘All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective’ that runs the ‘Birthleft’ tours, tells i24NEWS. “We are making a radical stand, we provide an alternative viewpoint.”
But other Israelis say that left-wing tours such as ‘Birthleft’ fail to show a crucial component of the conflict.
FULL STORY Building ‘Birthleft’: Tour group aims to offer ‘alternative viewpoint’ on Israel (i24news)
Photo: Jewish cemetery above old Jerusalem (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Archives)