UCLA Students Letter Expresses Deep Concern about the Olive Tree Initiative

 
The OCITF is posting  the attached letter with the permission of the author:
 
 Dear Mr. Shalom Elcott,
  I have recently been made aware of the OTI. As a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, I am concerned about the OTI and its goals. Below is a letter expressing my concerns (I have also attached it to this email). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Yours,
Naya Lekht
 
To Shalom Elcott, President and CEO of the
Orange County Jewish Federation:
 
            My name is Naya Lekht. I am a PhD candidate in the department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Los Angeles. Recently, I have been made aware of the OTI (The Olive Tree Initiative) of UC Irvine. I am extremely concerned about this program, as I strongly believe that it is doing much harm to both Jewish students on campus and the image of Israel in the public arena.
            I am particularly troubled by several tenets and goals of the OTI. First and foremost, in times when Israel is demonized and unjustly singled out for perennial rebuke in the world, it is morally wrong to bring speakers who further implicate and vilify Israel. Part of the OTI goals is to better acquaint students with various ideas and narratives about the conflict in the Middle East. By drawing an equal sign between those voices who support Israel and those who wish to destroy Israel the OTI is, in effect, legitimizing a narrative that argues for the extermination of the State of Israel. Continue reading