More Questions Raised about the Olive Tree Initiative as Hamas Member Aziz Dweik is Re-Arrested

Note: On December 28, 2010 The Orange County Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism,  formally asked  the Orange County Jewish Federation, Hillel and the Rose Project. to adopt the Jewish Community of San Francisco’s guidelines for funding. Among other things, the guidelines prohibit funding for any activities that “advocate for, or endorse, undermining the legitimacy of Israel as a secure independent, democratic Jewish state, including through participation in the [BDS] movement, in whole or in part.” On March 21, 2010, we published the Pledge in memory of the Fogal Family.  To date those entities, The OC Jewish Federation, Hillel and the Rose Project have not bothered to respond.

IDF Arrests Hamas Speaker of PA Parliament Who Met UC Irvine Students

by Jerry Gordon     

New English Review       Saturday, 21 January 2012

On Thursday, the IDF arrested the Hamas Speaker of the Palestinian Parliament, Aziz Dweik near Ramallah.  Dweik had been detained by the IDF in 2006. Dweik had figured prominently in the controversial Olive Tree Initiative at U.C. Irvine, when students had met students had met with Dweik during a visit to the West Bank  in 2009.  Orange County Jewish activist, Dee Sterling of Ha-Emet, the Truth had discovered through a California Public Records search evidenced that a Jewish Federation of Orange County (JFOC) affiliate, the Rose Project, had funded the Olive Tree Initiative program at U.C. Irvine.

Here is the Jerusalem Post report on Dweik’s arrest, “IDF nabs head of PA parliament” near Ramallah:

IDF soldiers arrested senior Hamas official, Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian Authority parliament on suspicion of involvement with terrorist groups on Thursday, the IDF and Hamas said. Hamas said Dweik was taken into custody at a checkpoint near Ramallah and it accused Israel of trying to prevent rival Palestinian factions from completing a unity deal. Dweik was arrested by Israel in 2006 and spent two years in jail.

Hamas won a parliamentary election in 2006 and seized control of the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a brief civil war a year later, since when parliament has been inactive. Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah faction agreed a reconciliation deal last year, but it has yet to be implemented.

We noted the encounter between Dweik, the UC Irvine students and the involvement of the JFOC in a July 2011 NER investigative article, “Does the Olive Tree Initiative Lack Credibility?”

JFOC loses its Credibility- the smoking gun letter. The JFOC’s credibility problem surfaced from a response to a California Public Records Act (PRA) request by local activists from Ha’Emet. That information surfaced a “smoking gun” letter sent by JFOC President Elcott to UCI Chancellor Drake in October, 2009 revealing a meeting between OTI students and Hamas representative Dweik. The JFOC leaders seized upon this letter as evidence that they had brought this to the attention of UCI administrators seeking an investigation. The JFOC leaders never informed the community. Continue reading

Article: The Olive Tree Initiative “Creates a dangerous moral equivalency”

The Olive Tree Initiative and Terror

Posted by  Frank Crimi Bio ↓ on Oct 6th, 2011  Frontpage Magazine.

The danger of sending American college students on Olive Tree Initiative trips to the West Bank was underscored by the recent discovery of 13 Hamas terror cells and a foiled suicide bombing plot in Jerusalem.

Since its founding in 2007, the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI), a self-described non-partisan educational program, has been a lightening rod of controversy.

With chapters already operating on four UC campuses and more scheduled to open, the OTI has steadfastly maintained its mission is to bridge differences among college students on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through what it calls “civil discussion” and “open minds.” Continue reading

More evidence of the potential dangers of sending students on Olive Tree Initiative Trips

Israel security forces foil multiple terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, arrest dozens of Hamas militants

By Anshel Pfeffer Haaretz

Shin Bet security service intercepts explosive after it was smuggled to Jerusalem, it emerges Wednesday; dozens of Hamas militants operating in 13 separate cells arrested by security forces.

The Israeli Shin Bet security service foiled a suicide terrorist attack last month in Jerusalem, it emerged Wednesday. An explosive belt was seized only 24 hours before the planned attack, after it was already smuggled into Jerusalem.

The interception of the planned attack was part of a large-scale operation by the Shin Bet, the IDF and the police against the Hamas military infrastructure in the West Bank and Jerusalem. During the operation, dozens of Hamas militants – operating in alleged 13 separate cells – were arrested.

The main cell charged with carrying out the attack was based in Hebron. Continue reading

To Those In The Olive Tree Initiative Who Have Met With Or Support Meeting With Hamas:

The Facts About Hamas

by Ricki Hollander  C.A.M.E.R.A   May 4, 2011

(Video by Memri)

Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) is considered a terrorist organization by much of the non-Arab international community including Israel, the U.S., Canada, Japan, the U.K., Australia and the European Union. Its declared goal is to destroy the Jewish state and replace it with an Islamic one. Continue reading

UC Irvine OTI Student: “I think it would be impossible to claim we can understand the area without considering Hamas.”; CAIR weighs in on the OTI

Following this line of thinking, one must wonder if  OTI employs this sort of naive logic with  the Ku Klux Klan or other dangerous white supremacist groups?   Hamas is  virulently anti-Semitic and dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel. Meanwhile, despite OTI’s “efforts”,  nothing has changed on campus.  Also noteworthy,  according to this article:  ” Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), believes the students are pioneering an important educational project by engaging with the region hands-on.”   

Olive Tree Initiative aims to hear both sides in Middle East conflict

Group of UCI students takes trips to Middle East to talk to officials, activists in both Israeli and Palestinian territories.

April 23, 2011|By Joanna Clay, joanna.clay@latimes.com

 

At multicultural UC Irvine, the Middle East and U.S. policy in that region can create fervent debate.

While tensions sometimes escalate on campus — as they have with the Irvine 11 case against student protesters — in 2007 a group of students decided to respond to Middle East tensions in a way that wasn’t polemical or political.

Instead of debating the different sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict from the confines of the UCI campus, they would travel to the region — meeting with officials, academics, religious leaders and activists — and come back to the community with the results of their conversations.

They called their organization the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI).

Since its inception, the group has organized three university trips and two community trips. Fifteen to 20 UCI students go on the two-week trip, splitting their time equally between Israel and the Palestinian territories.

“I think OTI is a really great example of an innovative campus program that has developed a really constructive way of addressing campus tension,” said Megan Braun, a UCI graduate who went on the 2010 trip.

Other UC campuses, such as UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz and UCLA, have taken a cue from OTI’s accomplishments by starting chapters of their own.

OTI recently came under fire for meeting Aziz Duwaik during a 2009 trip to the region. The student group had intended to meet with a member of the Palestinian Authority, but that official didn’t make it to the meeting. Duwaik, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, filled in for the official. And unbeknownst to the OTI delegation, Duwaik was also a Hamas representative in the West Bank. Continue reading

ZOA: UC Irvine’s 8 month investigation of MSU Hamas/Galloway Fundraiser “whitewash”

ZOA Condemns UC Irvine For Continued Whitewashing of Muslim Student Union’s Wrongdoing, Despite Evidence of Fundraising For Terrorist Group Hamas

UC President Yudof Supports

Irvine’s Whitewash

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) condemns the University of California, Irvine for once again irresponsibly whitewashing the misconduct of the Muslim Student Union, a registered student group on campus – despite the University’s finding that the Muslim Student Union engaged in unauthorized fundraising on campus on May 21, 2009, and despite evidence that the funds may have been illegally provided to the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.  The ZOA also criticizes UC Irvine for absolving university employees who attended the Muslim Student Union’s fundraising event, even though the employees knew or should have known that the fundraising was unauthorized and nevertheless did not stop or report it. Continue reading

UCI Attorney: No “wrongdoing” on the part of University Employees in connection with Galloway/Hamas Fundraiser

“…..the investigation found the fund raising occurred without (emphasis added) university permission  The investigation was  unable to determine  whether the failure was reckless, negligent or intentional”

Continue reading

Statement from the Israeli Consulate General regarding the Mavi Marmara incident:

Sent: Monday, May 31, 2010 2:55 PM
Subject: The Gaza Flotilla and the Maritime Blockade of Gaza

The Gaza Flotilla and the Maritime Blockade of Gaza

Israel regrets all loss of human life and injuries which came as result of the unfortunate events aboard the vessel Mavi Marmara on Monday, May 31. Continue reading

Is this UCSD student calling for the genocide of the Jewish people?

Listen very carefully to this disturbing video. (courtesy of Reut Cohen)

Is UC Irvine “dragging its feet”?

This week the Orange County Independent Task Force on anti-Semitism  (OCITF) received a carbon copy of a letter from the Zionist Organization America (ZOA) to UCI  Chief Campus Counsel Diane Giocaris. The letter suggests that UCI is “dragging its feet”, with respect to an investigation of alleged fund raising  for Hamas by British MP George Galloway and his Viva Palestina organization at  a May 21,  2009 , Muslim Student Union (MSU) sponsored event.  Hamas has been designated as a  Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the U.S. State Department. To read ZOA’s letter click here

In a letter dated September 30, 2009 to ZOA and copied to the OCITF, MS Giocaris stated  “…With regard to your allegations regarding the conduct of University employees and that MSU violated University policies, we have initiated an internal review of these matters, and will proceed as expediciously as possible…” To read Ms. Geocaris letter click here

ZOA Letter to UC President Yudof: UC Santa Cruz allegedly solicited funds for Hamas

“……Once again, a University of California campus was used to solicit funds that may have ended up in the hands of the terrorist group Hamas.  But this time, it was not a student group that solicited the funds or a speaker sponsored by the student group, which is what occurred at UC Irvine in violation of University of California polices and possibly in violation of federal law.  At UC Santa Cruz, it was the University itself doing the soliciting….Excerpt from ZOA  letter to UC President Mark Yudof

To read the letter click below

letter to Mark Yudof re MECA & Viva Palestina 11-06-09

ZOA letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr./ US Attorney George S. Cardona

Below is a  letter from the Zionist Organization of America  (ZOA)  to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and  US Attorney George S Cardona expressing concern and requesting an investigation of fund raising activities conducted by the Muslim Student Union (MSU) and George Galloway in May 2009.  The Orange County Independent Task Force on anti-Semitism (OCITF) has received a carbon copy of the letter.

Read the ZOA Letter Here

ZOA letter to UC Irvine: MSU/Galloway May ’09 campus event may have illegally raised funds for Hamas

On September 22, 2009, the Orange County Independent Task Force on anti-Semitism (OCITF) received a carbon copy of a letter from the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) to UC Irvine General Counsel Diane Giocaris. The letter describes “…very disturbing information concerning the Muslim Student Union (MSU) and a program it conducted during its anti-Israel and anti-Semitic event at UCI last May.”

On May 21, 2009, as part of “Israel: the Politics of Genocide,” the MSU featured George Galloway, a member of the British Parliament, whose topic was “Viva Palestina, Galloway’s convoy to Gaza…”.  ZOA’s letter alleges that: “Prior to the program, MSU specifically affirmed in writing that this was not going to be a fundraiser. Yet, according to the ZOA, at the program,  both MSU and Mr Galloway  solicited funds for Viva Palestina from the over 850 people in attendance and we are concerned that the funds may have been delivered to Hamas in Gaza in July 2009.”  Hamas has been designated by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and providing material support and resources to an FTO is a violation of federal law.   The letter states that several University policies were violated during this event and that at least four campus administrators were present, but did nothing to stop the unauthorized and “potentially illegal” fund raising activities.

Earlier this year, Galloway was refused entry into Canada for allegedly providing material support to Hamas.

The OCITF urges community members to contact UCI Chancellor Michael Drake and urge him to immediately investigate these very serious allegations.

Chancellor Michael Drake
University of California, Irvine
Office of the Chancellor
Irvine, CA 92697-5125
(949)-824-5111
chancellor@uci.edu

to read the entire ZOA letter click here:

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