US left-wing bloggers to visit Sderot
Prominent writers, members of progressive American organizations known for their heavy criticism of Israel will tour the country, meet with top officials. 'We want to provide them with an eye-opening experience that will help them better understand the complexity of the Arab-Israeli conflict,' says trip organizer Ira Forman
WASHINGTON – A group of influential bloggers from the left of the US Democratic party's spectrum will land in Israel on Thursday for a six-day visit.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry has long since been exerting considerable efforts to bring the prominent writers for an extensive tour of the country, in recognizing the influence many of the writers wield and the fact some of them represent websites that are less-than-friendly towards the Israel.
While Israel enjoys relatively balanced coverage in American mainstream media, there are numerous blogs identifying with the liberal left who are unwaveringly critical of Israeli policies, often referring to Israel as an apartheid state which, among other things, is responsible for Washington's decision to go to war in Iraq.
The unique tour was organized by the Solomon Project, which was founded in 1996 to "educate the American Jewish community about its rich history of civic involvement."
The bloggers, along with leaders from various progressive organizatios, will meet with Israeli bloggers, journalists and Knesset officials. They will also be briefed on the security situation in the region and Israel's civil society.
The group will be taken to view Sderot and Israel's 'narrow waistline' by helicopter in an effort to convey the true meaning of a return to the borders of June 4th 1967. The guests are also scheduled to visit with the top negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, Saeb Erekat and may also meet Prime Minister Ehud Olmert or Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni.
"We are looking forward to an informative and educational trip," said National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) Executive Director Ira Forman, director of research for the Solomon Project Research.
"It is important that progressive bloggers and leaders of progressive organizations learn first-hand about the current situation in Israel. We also want to provide them with an eye-opening experience that will help them better understand the complexity of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Among those participating in the tour are Daily Kos editor David Waldman and former Moveon.org lobbyist Tom Matzzie, who currently heads the anti-war 'Campaign to Defend America.'