Has the Olive Tree Initiative done anything to reduce the anti-Israel rhetoric at UC Irvine?

This photo was taken from the so-called “apartheid wall” which travels throughout the State of California college campuses and recently concluded its stay at UC Irvine.  Please notice what the drawing describes as “occupied territory”.  It should speak for itself.  The question is:  Has the Olive Tree Initiative had any discernible positive impact in terms of the hateful rhetoric during “hate week” at UC Irvine and other California Campuses?  Why not ask the UC Irvine Muslim Student Union, Malik Ali, Ben White, Hatem Bazian or the so-called “Irvine 11”?

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More bad news about the Olive Tree Initiative?

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.

Bringing the War on Jerusalem to American Universities

By Frank Crimi On April 2, 2012 @ 12:01 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage

The Olive Tree Initiative (OTI), the self-described “non-partisan college educational program” operating out of numerous universities, has, since its founding in 2007, received the support of a bevy of rabidly anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish individuals and groups, many with connections to terrorist organizations and their apologists, including Hamas.

One such notable OTI supporter is Palestinian political leader Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI), a Palestinian political party founded in 2002 as a purported “democratic third force” between the “corruption” of the Palestinian political umbrella group Fatah and the “extremism” of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Barghouti has not only served as a lecturer for the OTI for many years, but in 2009 his organization, the PNI, was thanked for being an “Institiutional Supporter” of the program. An overview of Barghouti’s background validates why critics of the OTI believe the organization’s purpose is to manufacture anti-Israel advocates, all the while masquerading as a group dedicated to promoting “understanding” between Israelis and Palestinians.

Barghouti’s antipathy for Israelis may run in his family, given that his cousin, Marwan Barghouti, led the First and Second Intifadas and is currently serving five life sentences for murder in Israel. While Barghouti has publicly portrayed himself as a promoter of non-violence and an advocate of a two-state solution, he has also shown a disdain for the political process, having once proclaimed that “there’s no use in meetings with Israelis and there is no peace partner in Israel.”

Nevertheless, the reality is that Barghouti has played a leading role in the Fatah-Hamas coalition, a role which includes sidling up to the genocidal terrorists of Hamas and portraying Israel as bastion of apartheid and a perpetrator of crimes against humanity.

For example, Barghouti, who is a leader in the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, the economic warfare campaign against Israel, often uses “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing” rhetoric in describing Israel.

Barghouti’s most recent effort to delegitimize Israel was as a prime organizer of the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ) on March 30, an event also supported by Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and the theocratic totalitarians of Iran.

According to event organizers, the GMJ was a protest march in which Arab and foreign activists were to descend upon Jerusalem in an attempt to “confirm that the policies and practices of the racist Zionist state of Israel against Jerusalem and its people are a crime not only against Palestinians but against all humanity.” 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

Disturbing article about BDS, “Alternative Travel” and the Olive Tree Initiative

Posted By Nichole Hungerford On January 4, 2012 @ 12:02 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage

Many were disturbed at a recent video of young Jews — the hope of the next generation — “occupying” a Birthright event and spewing noxious anti-Israel rhetoric in and outside the gathering. But considering the competition Birthright is up against, it’s not difficult to see how such a scene was produced. The fact is, not only have anti-Israel activist made 21st century blood libels fashionable, but they have found a way to turn a profit from them in the process. More and more, sojourners to the Holy Land are falling into the orbit of the growing “alternative travel” or “justice tourism” industry, which specializes in politicized tourism to Israel and adjacent territories. As the name indicates, alternative travel is entirely focused on exposing tourists, not with mainstream, commonly accepted information on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but with an “alternative” account predicated on needless Palestinian suffering at the hands of their brutal Israeli oppressors. Continue reading

Article: The Olive Tree Initiative “Creates a dangerous moral equivalency”

The Olive Tree Initiative and Terror

Posted by  Frank Crimi Bio ↓ on Oct 6th, 2011  Frontpage Magazine.

The danger of sending American college students on Olive Tree Initiative trips to the West Bank was underscored by the recent discovery of 13 Hamas terror cells and a foiled suicide bombing plot in Jerusalem.

Since its founding in 2007, the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI), a self-described non-partisan educational program, has been a lightening rod of controversy.

With chapters already operating on four UC campuses and more scheduled to open, the OTI has steadfastly maintained its mission is to bridge differences among college students on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through what it calls “civil discussion” and “open minds.” Continue reading

More evidence of the potential dangers of sending students on Olive Tree Initiative Trips

Israel security forces foil multiple terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, arrest dozens of Hamas militants

By Anshel Pfeffer Haaretz

Shin Bet security service intercepts explosive after it was smuggled to Jerusalem, it emerges Wednesday; dozens of Hamas militants operating in 13 separate cells arrested by security forces.

The Israeli Shin Bet security service foiled a suicide terrorist attack last month in Jerusalem, it emerged Wednesday. An explosive belt was seized only 24 hours before the planned attack, after it was already smuggled into Jerusalem.

The interception of the planned attack was part of a large-scale operation by the Shin Bet, the IDF and the police against the Hamas military infrastructure in the West Bank and Jerusalem. During the operation, dozens of Hamas militants – operating in alleged 13 separate cells – were arrested.

The main cell charged with carrying out the attack was based in Hebron. Continue reading

In Memory of Rabbi Aba Dunner 1938-2011

18 July 2011

Rabbi Aba Dunner dies at 74

World Jewish Congress

British rabbi Aba Dunner, the longtime executive director of the Conference of European Rabbis, has died in London at the age of 74. He was the leading activist for the cause of Orthodox Judaism in Europe and was widely respected across the Jewish world. He had been seriously ill for some months. Born in Königsberg (then Germany, today Kaliningrad, Russia) in 1938, Aba Dunner was the eldest son of the Rosh Beis Din of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations in Britain, Rabbi Josef Hirsch Dunner.

The World Jewish Congress said in reaction to Rabbi Dunner passing: “He was one of the leading activists for the cause of Orthodox Judaism over the past decades and was widely respected across the Jewish world. He was at the heart of the building and strengthening Jewish institutions in Europe. Within the World Jewish Congress, Rabbi Dunner and the Conference of European Rabbis – which he led for many years – were actively engaged in addressing the concerns of Jews and Jewish communities and in strengthening dialogue with other faith communities. He was a dedicated fighter for achieving peace and freedom for all peoples, irrespective of their origin, religion or ethnic background. He will be sorely missed by all those who had the pleasure to work with him over the years. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife and his family. May the memory of the righteous be for a blessing.”

Note: On January 19 2011 Rabbi Dunner sent an email  letter to OC Federation leader Shalom Elcott and copied to the OC Task Force  The letter requested that Elcott ” cancel any support for Olive Tree (Initiative) and to desist from sending anyone to their programmes.” He also suggested that  the  Federation “should carefully monitor what they are doing and take action to counteract their activities.” Apparently, Elcott and local Jewish  community leaders have ignored his counsel.  Rabbi Dunner will be missed. We wish to extend our heartfelt  condolences to Rabbi Dunners Family– OCITF