Olive Tree Initiatives “nefarious”connections?

The ‘Flytilla’: Brought to You by Friends of the Olive Tree Initiative   

Posted by  Nichole Hungerford on Jul 11th, 2011

Evidence continues to mount over the nefarious nature of the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI), a controversial student program that originated at the University of California, Irvine and is rapidly spreading to other campuses. Radical anti-Israel activists with long-standing involvement in the program have been identified as lead organizers of what has been dubbed the “flytilla,” a recent stunt aimed at putting the Israel delegitimization campaign back in the headlines. Sending young college students to meet with such Israel-hating extremists — including a leader of the terrorist organization Hamas — is what the OTI’s powerful patrons consider “holistic” education. Continue reading

Has The Jewish Federation of Orange County (JFOC) ” been dishonest in the disclosure of its funding of the Olive Tree Initiative?”

The Patrons of Anti-Israelism

Posted by  Nichole Hungerford on Jun 23rd, 2011

Frontpage Magazine

Last week, a troubling article appeared in The Jerusalem Post on the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI), a shady student organization run primarily through the University of California, Irvine that is rapidly spreading. The subject of intense criticism, the OTI has been infiltrated by (among others) activists from the terrorism-supporting International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and has sent students to meet with a leader of Hamas. Even so, what appeared in the Post does little to hold the organization accountable — or its powerful supporters in the Jewish Federation of Orange County (JFOC).

The OTI has been covered extensively at FrontPage, most recently in an article detailing a 2009 student trip to Israel and the West Bank on which students met with one of the foremost leaders of Hamas, Aziz Duwaik (trips to Israel to meet with “dialogue partners” are a central function of the program). The meeting occurred just months after Duwaik’s release from Israeli custody. Afterward, students were told to coverup the meeting and to essentially deceive officials in order to avoid trouble crossing borders and leaving the country. A spokeswoman from UC Irvine told FrontPage that there was no investigation into the incident that she knew of, nor has there been any evidence of an investigation subsequently. That is to say, neither the university nor the OTI’s funders have shown any interest in understanding the OTI’s dealings with Hamas, and in particular, how it is possible that the OTI arranged this meeting and what internal connections brought it about. (Duwaik, incidentally, was detained again in May by the Israeli Defense Force.)

The fact that there was no investigation is most puzzling, as JFOC sent a letter to Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake ostensibly insisting that an investigation be preformed. Yet with no investigation conducted, the federation continues its support. 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