The Olive Tree Initiative
The Olive Tree Initiative (OTI) is an interfaith program that includes a trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, touted by administrators at the University of California as a remedy to antisemitic bigotry and harassment on UC campuses. However, OTI has been revealed as deliberately exposing students to individuals and organizations that call for harming Jews and the elimination of the Jewish state.
The 2013 Student Participant Report on the OTI:
A 2013 report, written by a student participant, examined the organization, itinerary, facilitators, content themes, and student reactions of a recent OTI delegation and found the experience to be permeated with a systemic and severe anti-Israel bias.
View the Executive Summary of the 2013 OTI Report – HERE.
View the Full 2013 OTI Report – HERE.
Backlash Received from the 2013 OTI Report
After “discovering” the AMCHA-published student participant report on the Olive Tree Initiative, Electronic Intifada released an article with the heading “Documents Reveal Zionist Group Spied on US Student Delegation to Palestine.” Electronic Intifada further pushed out a petition signed by 283 individuals, calling on President Yudof to investigate AMCHA. Finally, Electronic Intifada created the hashtag for Twitter conversations about AMCHA’s “spying” of #StopAMCHA – generating tweets directed at the AMCHA Initiative and about AMCHA Initiative as a ‘Zionist hate & spy group’.
AMCHA’s Initial Response to OTI in January 2012:
We sent a letter to UC President Yudof informing him that a terrorist leader that the students met with was arrested by Israel and reiterating our call for the University of California to rescind support for OTI.
January 20th, 2012 – AMCHA Initiative’s letter to UC President Yudof
On January 19th, Israel arrested Aziz Dweik, a Hamas leader who met with UC students on a University-funded Olive Tree Initiative trip in 2009. In light of Dweik’s arrest, the AMCHA Initiative sent a letter to President Yudof on January 20th reiterating our call for the University of California to rescind all support for the Olive Tree Initiative.