OCITF Statement on Olive Tree Initiative Speakers

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We attended  Mr. Rishmawi’s 2:00 PM presentation on Monday and in our view it was demonstratively one sided.  We fully recognize his first Amendment right to free speech, however, based upon our information, and given the track record of Mr. Rishmawi’s involvement in anti-Israel enterprises such as  (co-founding of ) the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and the Palestine Center for Rapprochment (PCR),  we have concluded that it is antithetical to the overall interests of the the Jewish community  for Jewish organizations to continue financial support for other organizations, such as the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI), as long as those groups continue to expose students to speakers whose one-sided rhetoric or whose mission is the de-legitimization and destruction of the State of Israel. The concept of  the right of  Israel to exist should unite the Jewish community and there is no point in the Jewish community sponsoring speakers who oppose that concept. There are already organizations at U C Irvine  who are sponsoring those kinds of speakers.

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