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Birthright…Palestine?

Birthright Israel has a doppelgänger called Birthright Palestine. The Palestinian program aims to "gather first-generation, western-born Palestinians (over the age of 18-years old) in their ancestral homeland, so that they can reunite and witness firsthand how their brethren are living under illegal Israeli military occupation."

Birthright Palestine participants are offered opportunities to volunteer in Bethlehem, take daily Arabic language classes, engage in cultural events, and party hearty. Although the program mimics the structure of its Jewish, Zionist counterpart almost exactly, there are some fundamental differences between the two. Shocking, I know.

One major difference is that Birthright Palestine doesn't support a two-state solution. Another is that they describe some of their destinations as the "1948 territories, which some people refer to as 'Israel.'" (Emphasis mine.)

Other differences: The Birthright Israel trip is a 10-day gift that covers roundtrip airfare, hotel, transportation, most meals and other associated land costs, while Birthright Palestine requires participants to cover their own airfare and pay approximately $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the length of their stay.

Though the site describes Birthright Palestine as a "concept created by the Palestine Center for National Strategic Studies (PCNSS)–a new non-profit, non-governmental Palestinian organization," the Birthright Palestine domain name is actually registered to Palestinian-American Nader Muaddi at an address in good ol' Pennsylvania, and Muaddi is an alum of the Palestine Summer Encounter–a strikingly similar program.

The first annual Birthright Palestine Program is launching this summer, and in case you're not convinced, more details about the experience can be found here.

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