The Times of Israel’s Haviv Rettig Gur responds to a Slate article which argued that the responsibility for the death of Max Steinberg, 24, lies in part with Birthright.
He writes, in part, that
the real failing of Benedikt’s piece lies not in the strange refusal to check her assumptions against data, but in the blunt disrespect she pays to the deceased by assuming his life choices are a sign of psychological or moral failure.
Maybe Max was especially lost, or especially susceptible, or maybe he was just looking to do some good and became convinced by his Birthright experience that putting on an IDF uniform and grabbing a gun was the way to do it.
Max, you see, was an idiot. Who falls in love with a country in ten days? Who joins the army of a foreign nation without first making sure his mother can articulate adequately to journalists his emotional and intellectual journey?
“I didn’t know Max. But I know many who made the same choice (as does Benedikt) — and often went back after their service to the American Jewish community. From them I have learned that one does not have to be an idiot to do what Max did, that Max was not hoodwinked by a clever public-relations machine.
Click here to read the full op-ed.