The latest edition of a popular current affairs magazine in Britain equates youth programs run by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to Palestinian summer camps that train children to hate Jews and carry out terrorist attacks against them.
Immediately betraying his anti-Israel bias, journalist Matthew Holehouse suggested in the New Statesman that it is common knowledge that both Israel and the Palestinians indiscriminately attack civilians on the other side.
Holehouse then goes on to insist that British Jewish teens who travel to Israel to participate in IDF youth programs should be viewed no differently by the state than British Muslims who receive terrorist military training abroad.
“If these were British Muslim 19-year-olds firing machine guns and running assault courses in Pakistan or Yemen, would we not have them all arrested at the airport?” asked Holehouse.
Michael Freeman, whose Federation of Zionist Youth is one of the organizations that sends British Jewish teens to the IDF programs, issued a statement blasting Holehouse for drawing moral equivalency between the Israeli army and the indoctrination of Palestinian children to kill.
Wrote Freeman: “Mr. Holehouse attempts to make the spurious connection between a terrorist training camp - designed to indoctrinate children with hate and encourage them to become suicide bombers whose aim is to kill and maim innocent civilians - with a program that aims to allow youth from abroad to understand the Israel army's role in society and meet their Israeli peers, who are all conscripted at 18 due to the existential threat that Israel faces.”
Freeman noted that while the Palestinian camps in question are solely focused on teaching Arab youth to hate Israel and the Jews and to seek the Jewish state's demise, there is simply no parallel activity at the IDF programs.
In addition to very limited army-type training, participants in the IDF programs “teach English in schools, volunteer in hospitals, work with Magen David Adom - in some cases working on the Gaza border with Palestinians, work in old age homes and other places.”