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

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

Olive Tree Initiative Leader: “Each side has engineered a campaign so clever, so manipulative and self-destructive..”

The following  is an excerpt  from a comment posted by a Jewish  member of the Olive Tree Initiative in response to our post  Olive Tree Initiatives “nefarious”connections?   His entire comment can be read by scrolling down to the bottom of the post to the comment section.  Are these the words of a student who has become overwhelmingly supportive of Israel, or do they belie the naive notion espoused by proponents of the Olive Tree Initiative, including Jewish Federation Leaders? :That Jewish students become overwhelmingly pro-Israel by belonging to an organization which gives a platform to those who unambiguously wish to harm Israel and the Jewish people.

Judge for yourself:

“….each side believes they know the truth, and takes unprecedented steps towards disseminating such truths. Additionally each side perceives themselves in the right, and expects international solidarity against the “other”. The conflict has evolved into an international industry, a media enterprise whose sole concern is to gain popular support at the expense of civilians. Each side has engineered a campaign so clever, so manipulative and self-destructive that its intention to sway the international community ends up cultivating deep resentment and entrenched hatred.”

See Also: UCI Hillel President: “Hamas, it seems, is effectively giving up on the notion of a total Palestinian takeover…”

JPost: “Elcott and Margolis do admit that students meet with speakers who support BDS and the branding of Israel as an apartheid state.”

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

JPost: “Elcott and Margolis do admit that students meet with speakers who support BDS and the branding of Israel as an apartheid state.”

So, sending students into a dangerous neighborhood and into the arms of those who seek to destroy Israel and the Jewish people  to get their “perspective”is appropriate, so long as they get the other point of view?  And this is what we call  leadership? 

A very balanced itinerary?

By BEN HARTMAN JPost.com
06/15/2011 23:20

Is the Olive Tree Initiative, an interfaith program that brings American students here to learn about the Israeli-Arab conflict, offering its participants the appropriate mosaic of views?
Shalom Elcott thinks you may have gotten the wrong idea.

In Israel this past week for Shavuot, the Orange County Jewish Federation president and CEO said that criticism of his group’s support for the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI) was misplaced and not based on an honest examination of the program.

“We could all agree that we don’t love all the speakers, but we have to work with American Jews to develop a greater understanding about how important that diversity of opinions in Israel is. Our job is to work with OTI and open the door to the best possible teachers and people who know the facts on the ground and make sure they’re engaged on the trip,” he said. Continue reading