Frontpage Magazine Editors: “the JFOC has much to answer for”

The Attack on Frontpage from the Jewish Federation of Orange County

May 15, 2015 by   42 Comments

Unable to withstand criticism from their shameful attacks on Jewish students and pro-Israel activists exposed by Frontpage, the Jewish Federation of Orange County (JFOC) has taken to the media to slander our publication. These calumnies must not go unanswered.

On May 4th, Frontpage made public serious reports of misbehavior on the part of the JFOC at a student-run pro-Israel event held at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). One of the most notable revelations of the piece was a report that JFOC representative Lisa Armony was witnessed attempting to move pro-Israel activists waving Israeli flags away from anti-Israel protesters who ambushed the event.

Writing on behalf of the JFOC in the Jerusalem Post, http://www.jpost.com/landedpages/printarticle.aspx?id=403008,  Armony’s primary complaint was that Frontpage’s coverage was based on “unsubstantiated” information from “unnamed sources.”

In fact, the information directly related to Lisa Armony and the JFOC in this incident was based on anamed eyewitness’ account of Armony’s activity. Gary Fouse, a lecturer at UCI and credible witness, confidently affirmed to Frontpage what he saw. We subsequently reported this eyewitness account, taking the utmost care with the accuracy of its presentation. As such, accusations that Frontpage’s coverage of this incident was flawed are simply false. Continue reading

Advertisements

UC Irvine Pro-Israel Student Group Leader Alleges Opposition from JFOC Leader

Pro-Israel Student Group Meets Opposition from Jewish Leadership

May 4, 2015 by  FrontPage Magazine

On Thursday, April 23rd, courage, contempt and cowardice collided during a pro-Israel campus event called “iFest” that took place at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). In the middle of the festivities, the president of the student group Anteaters for Israel (AFI), which organized the three-day event, was berated and brought to tears by the president of the Jewish Federation of Orange County (JFOC), who was among the iFest attendees. According to AFI leadership, the incident affirmed that the organization’s decision to purposefully disassociate from the JFOC due to its years of questionable leadership and interference in AFI’s pro-Israel activism on campus was the right course of action.

UCI’s 8th annual iFest featured the theme “Explore Israel” and was held April 22nd-April 24th. One night of iFest programming consisted of a candlelight vigil and a tribute for members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli civilians killed by terrorists over the years. Students from the campus chapters of Hillel, Chabad and Jewish fraternal/sororal organizations spoke at the vigil. The next day AFI “organized a beautiful festival where students enjoyed falafel and BBQ, learned about Israel and won prizes, painted and created art for charity, raised money for Save A Child’s Heart, and collected 170 signatures for a ‘Solidarity Letter with Israel,’” said AFI president Sharon Shaoulian. Shaoulian also reports that the iFest Shabbat dinner held Friday was attended by more people than the previous two years and that it was the best attended Shabbat of the year, with over 85 students attending. A number of sponsors contributed to iFest, including the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), StandWithUs, CAMERA on Campus, the Israel on Campus Coalition, and Hasbara. Continue reading

More Questions Raised about the Olive Tree Initiative as Hamas Member Aziz Dweik is Re-Arrested

Note: 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.

IDF Arrests Hamas Speaker of PA Parliament Who Met UC Irvine Students

by Jerry Gordon     

New English Review       Saturday, 21 January 2012

On Thursday, the IDF arrested the Hamas Speaker of the Palestinian Parliament, Aziz Dweik near Ramallah.  Dweik had been detained by the IDF in 2006. Dweik had figured prominently in the controversial Olive Tree Initiative at U.C. Irvine, when students had met students had met with Dweik during a visit to the West Bank  in 2009.  Orange County Jewish activist, Dee Sterling of Ha-Emet, the Truth had discovered through a California Public Records search evidenced that a Jewish Federation of Orange County (JFOC) affiliate, the Rose Project, had funded the Olive Tree Initiative program at U.C. Irvine.

Here is the Jerusalem Post report on Dweik’s arrest, “IDF nabs head of PA parliament” near Ramallah:

IDF soldiers arrested senior Hamas official, Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian Authority parliament on suspicion of involvement with terrorist groups on Thursday, the IDF and Hamas said. Hamas said Dweik was taken into custody at a checkpoint near Ramallah and it accused Israel of trying to prevent rival Palestinian factions from completing a unity deal. Dweik was arrested by Israel in 2006 and spent two years in jail.

Hamas won a parliamentary election in 2006 and seized control of the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a brief civil war a year later, since when parliament has been inactive. Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah faction agreed a reconciliation deal last year, but it has yet to be implemented.

We noted the encounter between Dweik, the UC Irvine students and the involvement of the JFOC in a July 2011 NER investigative article, “Does the Olive Tree Initiative Lack Credibility?”

JFOC loses its Credibility- the smoking gun letter. The JFOC’s credibility problem surfaced from a response to a California Public Records Act (PRA) request by local activists from Ha’Emet. That information surfaced a “smoking gun” letter sent by JFOC President Elcott to UCI Chancellor Drake in October, 2009 revealing a meeting between OTI students and Hamas representative Dweik. The JFOC leaders seized upon this letter as evidence that they had brought this to the attention of UCI administrators seeking an investigation. The JFOC leaders never informed the community. Continue reading

OC Jewish Federation now “asks” the University to “do the right thing”

Statement, via email from Shalom Elcott CEO of the Jewish Federation of Orange County”

“Jewish Federation Orange County remains hopeful concerning the current campus Judicial process. We ask the University to do the right thing regarding the 11 Muslim students arrested during the Oren even and  ” close the door on hate speech!”  We will continue supporting the University during this process and fully understand the significance of this investigation before rushing to judge”

By contrast  a press release issued by the Jewish Federation on  April 7, 2010: Continue reading

Is the Middle East Studies Student Initiative (MESSI)at UC Irvine endorsing “A Call To Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Israel”?

According to the MSU web site Israel Apartheid week: A Call to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Israel is co-sponsored By:

Asian Pacific Students Association (APSA), Indian Subcontinental Club (ISC), Kababayan, Middle East Studies Student Initiative (MESSI), Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), Pakistani Student Association (PSA), the Radical Student Union (RSU), Society of Arab Students (SAS), Worker-Student Alliance (WSA).r

https://i0.wp.com/www.msuuci.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/IAW_FRONT.jpg

According to a statement by Jewish Federation President and CEO Shalom C. Elcott:

“In contrast to the behavior of the Muslim Student Union, it is important to note that members of MESSI (Middle East Studies Student Initiative, which includes Muslim and Arab students) participated in co-sponsoring the Ambassador’s appearance.  Several Muslim and Arab members of MESSI have also participated, along with Christian and Jewish students, in the Olive Tree Initiative, a Rose Project-supported program that sends a diverse group of UCI students to the Middle East for encounters with Israelis and Palestinians.” See Outrage at UCI: Federation Response

According to MESSI’s  web site, Hillels current Executive Director served on the  “community advisory committee” from at least 2008-2009. On January 31, 2009,  MESSI co-sponsored  an  all day anti-Israel event entitled  “Wither the Levant “. See Also: Improper and Unauthorized Use of Official University of California Seal

If MESSI is supporting this boycott and divestment movement, then a strong public message  of  condemnation  from these “leaders” is   appropriate.