Another Anti-Israel Divestment Resolution Scrapped at UC San Diego

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Divestment Resolution Scrapped   

By Laira Martin The Guardian, U C San Diego

Efforts stalled Wednesday to pass an A.S. Council resolution that called for the UC system to divest funds from non-neutral corporations currently providing technology to the Israeli Defense Forces. This is the second year the resolution, proposed by Students for Justice in Palestine, has been brought before council.

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Once again, OC Federation asked to endorse pledge to deny funds to those who support BDS and those who seek to destroy Israel


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. The following  letter is endorsed by the Orange County Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism: 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,


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

The American Jewish Committee has it wrong

The Reality of Campus Anti-Semitism

Jonathan S. Tobin04.22.2011 Commentary Magazine

Should the federal government intervene when an American university permits its campus to become unsafe for Jews? When the prevailing atmosphere on campus is hatred against Israel and all things associated with the Jewish people?

After a long and involved debate, the Obama administration finally did the right thing last October and stated definitively that such conduct is impermissible at institutions that receive federal funding. Continue reading

Why Did Hillel Co-Sponsor Speaker Who Supported Goldstone Report?

According to an email we received from Orange County Hillel:  On Monday April 11, 2010  “Chapman’s Hillel and Muslim Student Association have come together to host the first joint event between these two organizations in Orange County’s history. ” (Note:  It is peculiar that the email announcement we received from Hillel did not mention either of the speakers by name)  One of the two guest speakers was Rabbi Zev-Hayyim Feyer.  According to his website, Rabbi Feyer is a member of the Rabbinic Council of the  Jewish Voice For Peace and a member of the Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence .  Shomer Shalom and the Jewish voice for peace  support  Boycott Divestment and Sanction  (BDS). Here are  Shomer Shalom Elders’ letters to UC student government supporting divestment . Rabbi Feyers name appears on the following letter of support  of the Goldstone report:   Rabbis thank Judge Goldstone for upholding principles of justice, compassion and truth Continue reading

International Solidarity Movement “Peace activist” Murdered in Gaza

Parents: Are the Olive Tree Initiative Trips  Safe For Your Student ?


04/15/2011 09:34

Vittorio Arigoni found strangled in abandoned house; Erekat calls killing “dark page in Palestinian history”; Hamas says intention was to kill.

Security personnel in the Gaza Strip found the body of a pro-Palestinian activist from Italy who was killed and left in an abandoned house in the Gaza Strip following his abduction by militants, a Hamas official said on Friday. Continue reading

And Cartoons at UC Irvine Too?

This poster appeared along with others on ring road at the last Muslim Student Union  (MSU) Israel bashing event in May 2010. The picture shows an American GI with a Jewish Talit (prayer shall) and a Torah scroll in his helmet.  Is this what passes for civil discourse among tongue-tied community leaders and university administrators?

The poster below appeared on the MSU “Apartheid” wall a couple of years ago. (Hat tip to Gary Fouse)

More: Anti-Semitic? You be the Judge

Vile Anti-Semitic Cartoons in Wake of Goldstone Retraction

Courtesy of ADL’s website:

Ad-Dustur, April 7, 2011 (Jordan).

Written in Arabic: “Goldstone Report”.

Ukaz, April 7, 2011 (Saudi Arabia).

The figure on the right represents Judge Goldstone and it is the “Gaza War Report” that he is eating Continue reading

Front Page Magazine Weighs in on Hillel, The Olive Tree Initiative and the “Tale of Two Rishmawis”

The following is an opinion piece from Front Page Magazine:

A Chapter That Should Be Expelled from Hillel

 by Nichole Hungerford on Apr 11th, 2011 and filed under Daily Mailer, FrontPage   

African American Student Leaders:”Use of word ‘apartheid’ by Students for Justice in Palestine in its characterization of Israel is patently false and deeply offensive”

Black student leaders slam ‘apartheid’ characterization

04/09/2011 10:09

Letter says “decency, justice and hope compel us to demand immediate cessation to deliberate misappropriation of words.”

NEW YORK ­ African American student leaders from a variety of historically black colleges and universities took out full page ads in numerous American college newspapers Thursday, displaying an “Open Letter to Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP),” to convey that they were offended by SJP’s use of the term” apartheid” at recent Israel Apartheid Weeks at campuses across the country. Continue reading

In an Apparent Contradiction, Is UC Irvine Now Calling OTI Meeting with Hamas leader a “Misstep”?

As reported earlier, in an article in the OC Register, UC Irvine official Cathy Lawhon was quoted as saying ” meeting with people of many different points of view is consistent with (Olive Tree’s) mission.” “Their stated mission is to hear varying points of view, and to take people of varying points of view over there,” Lawhon said. “It’s not a homogenous  group at all.” Lawhon went on to say  “more trips to the Mideast have taken place since 2009, but that she is unaware if additional meetings with Duwaik or other Hamas officials were held.”

This statement was apparently ignored and contradicted in a different  UC Irvine official  response letter  to The Zionist Organization of America .  According to that officials letter : ” The meetings should not have happened. This was discussed specifically and at length with the Olive Tree Initiative leadership and board after their return to the United States in the fall of 2009 in an effort to avoid similar missteps in the future.”  Missteps? Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. State department and it’s charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews.

Here is  the ZOA’s  response

Parents: Are the Olive Tree Initiative Trips Safe For Your Student ?

(Courtesy of Rabbi Fischer)

Palestinians arrest suspect in murder of Israeli actor Juliano Mer-Khamis

By Avi Issacharoff Haaretz

PA police arrested and are interrogating former al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades militant who was released from Israeli prison more than five years ago, and is now a suspect in murder of Mer-Khamis.

Palestinian security forces arrested on Tuesday a suspect in the killing of Israeli actor Juliano Mer-Khamis in Jenin on Monday.

According to a security official, Palestinian police have been probing the man – a former al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades militant who was released from Israeli prison more than five years ago – but he has yet to confess to the murder. Continue reading

ZOA: OC Federation “Should Disassociate From Olive Tree Initiative; Take The Necessary Steps To Restore The Community’s Faith In Its Words And Action”

ZOA Urges UC Irvine To Terminate Olive Tree Initiative, And Federation To Stop Funding It, After Students Secretly Meet With Hamas Leader

Courtesy of the Zionist Organization of America ( ZOA)

In letters sent on April 1, 2011, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) called on the University of California, Irvine (UCI) to terminate a university program called the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI) – set up to build understanding and dialogue about the Arab-Israeli conflict – and called on the Jewish Federation of Orange County (the “Federation”) to stop funding and supporting the program, after it was revealed that students who participated in an OTI trip to Israel, including Judea and Samaria, met with a top leader of Hamas and then were instructed to keep the meeting a secret.  The revelation about the secret meeting was made in a letter dated October 8, 2009, from leaders of the Federation – Jeffrey H. Margolis, Co-Chair, Rose Project; Dr. James Weiss, Co-Chair, Rose Project; and Shalom C. Elcott,  President & CEO of the Federation – to UCI Chancellor Michael Drake. Continue reading

ZOA letters to OC Jewish Federation, UCI Chancellor Drake Express Outrage Over UCI Students Meeting with Hamas Leader

Letters to UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake and Jewish Federation Federation and Family Services leaders have been forwarded to the Orange County Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism from the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). We join with the ZOA in expressing outrage over the 2009 alleged secret meeting of Olive Tree students with a known Hamas leader Aziz Duwaik and reiterate our call for the Jewish Federation and Family services to cease any and all connection with the Olive Tree Initiative. Hamas  has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization . We once again call upon the Federation leaders to adopt The Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties Funding Guidelines.