Dear Machal/Bnei Akiva,
I actually am not sure what your governing organization is, because my only information is gathered off of the backs of teenagers t-shirts.
You see, I was in Washington, DC yesterday (and it was so fricking hot) to see the National Museum of the American Indian. It was pretty lame, but we can talk about that later. As I walked around the Mall I saw 5 or 6 groups of young teenagers (with no discernible supervision!) in yellow t-shirts, carrying signs, and accosting strangers. The t-shirts said something like "help our captured soldiers" on the front, and on the back said "Machal" "Shevet Shvut" and the date. I googled "shevet shvut" and the only thing that came up was Bnei Akiva sites, and that seemed about right so I'll go with that.
At any rate, you may be wondering why I am writing this letter. You see, whomever you are, I think that your behavior in sending out young teenagers to accost strangers in DC, asking them to write their congresspeople to ask for the release of the captured soldiers bothers me for a number of reasons:
1) You are forcing/coercing kids to do this for you. Presumably these kids are on a Summer program, did they sign up for this specifically? It is pretty hot out there, and an unpleasant job. Are their parents aware that this is what their minor children are doing? It seems rather exploitive to me, and even dangerous, giving the heat, lack of supervision, and the fact that you have left small groups of children/teenagers alone in a city.
2) Even if these children are consenting, I have a problem with those who cannot vote lobbying those who can. There are other ways to influence politics, and if they wanted to raise money for a PAC, or hold a consciousness-raising event, fine. But it sits ill with me for them to ask constituents to lobby their representative when those asking are not in a position to do so. They can take none of the "risk," and don't really have to put themselves out there in the same way, so it seems unfair to ask others to do so.
3) I am a Zionist (CJ would say post-Zionist, but we can talk about that later), I am an American, and I am ticked. By lobbying people on the streets of DC, you are helping to spread the belief that Jews vote in America based on Israel. I hate when people do that, and I hate when people think that, that is the case. I would consider this a chillul hashem*, as you are, in fact, hurting other Jews. I have a Jewish friend who wants to work in the government, and he has to answer awkward questions about his allegiance to Israel in interviews. And that is just anecdotal. It is well known that Jews in the intelligence community have to answer many more questions than non-Jews, and why? Why? Because people like you behave in a way that makes Americans think that Jews are first Jews and second Americans, when for many people, that is not the case. We live in America, and I firmly believe that America's foreign policy should not be decided based on what is best for a third party state. I love Israel, I love the land, and I believe that the soldiers should be returned, but I don't think that there is any benefit in lobbying Congress. Lobby the UN, or the states that are giving sanctuary to Hamas and Hezbollah, but not Congress.
I hope that you will read this, and maybe identify yourself as whichever organization, so that I can properly address my complaints.
*A chillul hashem is an act that makes Jews look bad, and a crime against G-d.