On Tuesday evening, October 26, 2011, members of the Orange County Independent Task Force on anti-Semitism attended an event called “Conflict and Identity” hosted by the Olive Tree Initiative at UC Irvine. It was billed as an opportunity to “meet the students who just came back from their trip to Israel, Jordan and the West Bank.” The presentations contained precious little of the students experiences “on the ground.” Instead, in our view this program was a decidedly skewed, and a thinly veiled political diatribe against the State of Israel which included selective historical revisionism and simplistic conclusions. During the presentations, most of the students blamed or intimated that Israel was responsible for the “breakdown in the peace process”. One of the more troubling aspects of this program came from a female presenter who appeared to justify suicide bombings, by suggesting that we need to understand why they occur. Even more troubling was the continued endorsement of the OTI, by the so-called “Rose project” of the Orange County Jewish Federation and Family Services some whose leadership was in attendance.
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.
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