The Story so far:
1. UCI Hillel President promoted and sent out facebook invitations, to an event where George Rishmawi would be talking. The facebook invitation was created by The Olive Tree Initative. He is described as co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The ISM is known as a vehemently anti-Israel organisation.
2. George S. Rishmawi is a co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a well-organized movement that spreads anti-Israel propaganda and misinformation. His CURRENT website proudly lists him as co-founder of ISM. He is featured prominently on the ISM website in 2007, where he is again listed as co-founder. This contradicts the statement by Shalom Elcott that he "cut his ties to ISM in 2004".
3. Orange County Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism posts the upcoming visit of George Rishmawi.
4. A member of the community, Dee Sterling, in collaboration with other concerned citizens, sends out a letter to the Jewish Federation expressing concerns about their sponsoring of a speaker that was a founder of an anti-Israel organization that promotes violence.
5. The director of Hillel, Jordan Fruchtman, when questioned by Israel News Investigations, subsequently denied that Hillel was bringing the ISM to campus.
6. The Jewish Federation of Orange County sends out an email to thousands in the Jewish community stating that "the speaker is George S. Rishmawi. However, the person being described in the letter being circulated is George N. Rishmawi".They describe George N as "a despicable character" but go on to defend George S. Rishmawi and demand a retraction from Dee Sterling. Please note that this is a misquote and Dee Sterling's letter does not mention George N. Rishmawi.
7. Jordan Fruchtman, Executive Director of Hillel sends out a defamatory letter which is described by Rabbi Dov Fischer as an "explicit ad hominem character assassination" of Dee Sterling.
8. UCI Students sign a petition against Dee Sterling without receiving her original letter (See 7 above). The UCI Hillel Student President publically admitted that the majority of students did not give their permission to be included as signatories on the petition. Twenty six of the signatories are not current students.
9. The Simon Wiesenthal Center writes to the Federation of Orange County expressing serious concerns about the invitation for George Rishmawi to speak at UCI. "What kind of group would funnel impressionable Jewish students into this “wolf in sheep’s clothing” program that aids and abets the enemies of Israel in their pernicious mission?"
10. Tammi Rossman-Benjamin details the Anti-Israel speakers the UCI students met on the last OTI Trip More.........
11. Rabbi Dov Fischer, writes an open letter to the Federation describing George Rishmawi as "a speaker who advocates overthrowing the Jewish State". Rabbi Dov Fischer also posts
12. Lee Kaplan, undercover investigative journalist, responds to the Federation’s attack on Dee Sterling. In his letter he explains that it is irrelevant which Rashmawi is speaking. "Which ever one he is, he is speaking on behalf of the ISM". Kaplan writes: “The ISM has a long history of terrorism support"
13. Dee Sterling Replies to The Jewish Federation of Orange County.
14. Despite these community concerns the event was held on November 22nd, 2010.
15. Orange County Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism comments on Olive Tree Initiative Speaker.
16. Report on The Olive Tree Initiative (OTI), George Rishmawi and the Siraj Center by Roberta P. Seid, PhD, Historian and UCI lecturer on Israel.
17. Orange County Jewish Life writes an Article and Editorial on the Controversy relating to the Olive Tree
Initiative. Rabbi Dov Fischer and Gary Fouse write letters in response to those articles.
The Orange County Story
"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act" George Orwell
• The Jewish Federation of Orange County funds and supports the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI).
• This program sends Jewish, Christian, and Muslim students to the Middle East where they meet with virulently anti‐Israel speakers, such as co‐founders of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) which is on the ADL list of top 10 anti‐Israel groups.
• They also meet organizations that support, promote, and have ties to insidious campaigns against Israel.
• We ask that the Jewish Federation of Orange County immediately stop funding and supporting OTI. We further ask that Hillel of Orange County stop promoting OTI and disassociate itself from the initiative.
• Read the Full story Below...........................