According to this letter dated October 8, 2009 and addressed to UCI Chancellor Michael Drake from Orange County Jewish Federation leaders, students on the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI) trip met with Aziz Duwaik , ‘a notable Hamas figure”, in a non scheduled “unapproved” meeting on September 16, 2009. The letter reveals that Duwaik is considered by Hamas to be the leader in the West Bank . Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.
Furthermore, the students were allegedly told by OTI officials not to tell anyone of this meeting with Duwaik , ostensibly: (1) “in order to avoid being detained upon entering Israel from the West Bank or being held at the airport before leaving the country.” (2) ” to avoid confrontation with anyone who would have disagreed with this meeting had they known about it in advance…”. The Letter noted that “As it’s largest funder the Federation has strongly supported the concept and development of the OTI from it’s inception.” However, it suggested that Federation officials were “deeply troubled” by the Duwaik incident.
On December 28, 2010 The Orange County Independent Force on Anti-Semitism issued an Open Letter Concerning the Olive Tree Initiative at UC Irvine to leaders of the Orange County Jewish Community. In the letter we urged the Jewish Federation, The Rose Project and and Hillel to adopt the The Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties Funding Guidelines. As of this date, that letter has gone unanswered.
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