Jewish Self-Hatred and the Olive Tree Initiative
The phenomenon of Jews embracing the hateful and mendacious rhetoric of those committed to their annihilation has been so commonplace throughout history that a body of psychological literature on “Jewish self-hatred” emerged decades ago. This maladaptive response to antisemitism has been compared to the psychodynamics of abused children who blame themselves for their predicament and harbor fantasies of appeasing their tormentors, thus ending their torment with “good” behavior. Chronic besiegement also often results in an emotional and moral identification with the aggressor even to the extent of collaboration.
For example, Jewish members of the ironically named “peace movement” continue to protest Israel’s alleged wrongdoings and proffer concessions to Arab-Palestinians who are bent solely on unmitigated terror and the eventual destruction of Israel. These self-hating Jews refuse to modify their stance even in the face of Arab-Palestinian refusals to recognize Israel as the Jewish national state, Muslim praise of suicide bombers and other Jewish mass murderers, and Islamic feting of murderers as role models, as well as the indoctrination of children to hate and kill Jews. Although their very existence is threatened, many Jews harbor the delusion that Muslim Jew-hatred can be eradicated by the right “land for peace” concessions or heartwarming interfaith dialogue despite doctrinal evidence to the contrary. If it’s not relinquishing the Sinai or Gaza that does the trick, these Jewish “peace movement” members would offer up the Golan, Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria.
A prime example of this kind of suicidal thinking was the Oslo Accords wherein Israelis embraced Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as a “peace partner” although he refused to publicly denounce terrorism and maintained his chief goal of eradicating Israel. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that the so-called Oslo Accords led to the worst terrorist violence in Israel’s history and failed to end anti-Israel propaganda and the glorification of martyrdom in Arab-Palestinian schools and mosques as promised. The Accords exposed the lies and treachery inherent in negotiations with Muslim terrorists and reinforced the Chamberlain lesson that appeasement is met with increased demands and aggression. Yet, the Israelis succumbed once again in 2005 with the forcible removal of 11,000 Jews from Gaza.
Today, the most recent example of such thinking is Jewish support for and involvement with the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI), which began at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) campus. Created in March 2007, ostensibly to foster “educated discourse” between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian groups on campus, the group actually has links to Muslim Brotherhood operatives. Having spread to other UC campuses and on the brink of going national, the OTI’s actual strategy serves the purpose of turning U.S. students into pro-Palestinian anti-Israel advocates through specially designed tours to Israel and the Palestinian territories. It seeks to promote the Palestinian narrative and demonize and undermine the Jewish state all the while with the support of Jewish organizations that are wittingly facilitating the indoctrination process of students against the state of Israel.
Muslim Brotherhood Objectives
In 1983, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) representatives from throughout the Middle East, the Gulf States, Europe and the United States met in Amman, Jordan, to unanimously approve the “global project for Palestine.” This multi-phased, long-term plan for a “cultural invasion of the West” centered on the destruction of Jews and Israel. All the participants agreed that total “liberation” of Palestine from Israel and the creation of an Islamic state in its place would be the cornerstone of their plan for global Islamic domination. They also agreed to militarize the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood and coordinate global activities in support of the new jihadist movement centered on Israel’s annihilation.
Hamas, whose charter identifies it as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine,” was created in 1987 to carry out plans “to liberate Palestine from the river to the sea.” The Hamas Charter goes on to say, “There is no solution to the Palestinian problems except by jihad. Anything else – acts of diplomacy – are a waste of time. The liberation of the land is an individual duty binding all Muslims everywhere. Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.”
The focus of the Muslim Brotherhood in America has been da’wa, or proselytization, in the service of expanding the organization’s clout in the U.S. and delegitimizing, dehumanizing and marginalizing the Jewish state. The MB is represented by myriad organizations, including the Hamas-related Muslim Student Association (MSA), omnipresent on university campuses throughout America. Every year, the MSA sponsors a sinister campaign of lies against Israel called “Israel Apartheid Week” in which the group falsely accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing that the MSA compares to the Holocaust. MSA members disparage Israel’s security fence as unfairly impacting Arab-Palestinian transit, even though it was actually erected to prevent suicide bombers from killing Israelis and has successfully reduced attacks against Jews by over 90%. In addition, as part of their campaign to destroy Israel, the MSA calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the Jewish state.
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM), like the MSA, is active on U.S. university campuses and is also affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood’s partner Hamas. In addition, the ISM has ties to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. ISM operatives, who receive funding from the MSA, have even admitted to helping these terrorist groups. Although it bills itself as “non-violent,” ISM members are engaged in both violent and non-violent activities, including acting as human shields for terrorist groups and interfering with Israel’s counterterrorism efforts, and endeavors to indoctrinate students against Israel.
OTI touts its mission to expand dialogue and diversity to gain a nuanced perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet OTI architects sought to accomplish their true goal of undermining support for the Jewish state by surreptitiously introducing students to representatives from the ISM, Hamas and other anti-Israel groups who falsely presented themselves as peace-loving victims of Israel aggression. Students met with terrorism supporters, representatives of Muslim Brotherhood organizations and advocates of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, including ISM co-founder George S. Rishwami, twice-arrested Hamas official Aziz Dweik, Palestinian Legislative Council member and Holocaust denier Hanan Ashwari, Al Mubadara co-founder Mustafa Barghouti, Fatah leader Nabeel Shaath, Palestinian Intifada organizer Sari Nusseibeh, Al-Awda director Mazin Qumsiyeh, Hezbollah supporter Ibrahim Sarsur and others. Student participants on OTI trips visit the grave of lifelong terrorist and former president of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, whose primary goal was the destruction of the state of Israel.
One of the OTI tour guides was a young woman who led a tour for the anti-Israel NGO Sabeel prior to signing on as the Israel office director of a Jewish advocacy group. Sabeel promotes its anti-Israel agenda in Protestant churches in America, supports a one-state solution in which Israel would cease to exist as a Jewish state and advances BDS objectives against Israel.
Jewish Support for Olive Tree
Under the subterfuge of “interfaith outreach” and “fair and balanced dialogue,” several American Jewish organizations have supported the OTI and been complicit in exposing students to blood libels about Israel and sanitized view of terrorism as “resistance operations.” The powerful Orange County branch of the Jewish Federation – one of the largest Jewish organizations in the world whose top priorities include “strengthening of Jewish communities in Israel and around the world” – and Hillel, the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, have supported OTI financially and logistically since its inception. Both groups, supported by Jewish philanthropy, enthusiastically promote OTI and recruit students for tours, despite being fully apprised of OTI’s subversive nature and intention to undermine the Jewish state.
With their active sponsorship of the Olive Tree Initiative, both the Jewish Federation and Hillel have indirectly abetted challenges to Israel’s security by consorting with groups that are actively involved in attacks against the Jewish state. These groups have engaged in such activities as BDS, the flotilla movement and the upcoming March on Jerusalem, expected to bring one million people to march along Israel’s borders to end “apartheid and ethnic cleansing” and to demand freedom for “Palestine and its capital Jerusalem.” At least two OTI speakers, Qumsiyeh and Rishwami, are involved in planning this latest assault on Israel’s legitimacy.
Despite horrific examples of subterfuge against Israel and the fact that the program is successful in its efforts to indoctrinate American students, the Jewish Federation and Hillel remain steadfast in their support for OTI. Even the despicable actions of MK (Member of Knesset) Ibrahim Sarsur have not dissuaded them from sponsoring and promoting the program. Sarsur was among those with whom OTI participants met during OTI’s 2010 Middle East trip. However, in June of 2011, Sarsur – an Israeli Arab who claims loyalty to Israel while calling for its annihilation and comparing Israelis to Nazis when addressing the Muslim world – was videotaped praising Hezbollah, calling for the terrorist group to destroy Israel, and advocating for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate centered in Jerusalem.
Remarkably, when asked to sign a petition to withdraw funding from groups that endorse BDS and to do so as a pledge in remembrance of the Fogel family massacred by Arab-Palestinians in Itamar in March 2011, the Jewish Federation of Orange County declined. The organization along with Hillel maintain that they are contributing to interfaith understanding by endorsing OTI. They welcome the opportunity to partner with universities to recruit students for OTI trips so that they can “hear the other side and dialogue.” This despite lectures featuring such canards as Israel is a Nazi-like apartheid state that is stealing land and water and torturing and massacring Arab-Palestinians that indoctrinate students against the Jewish state.
We have come full circle with the problem of Jewish self-hatred when the new antisemitism targets the Jewish homeland instead of Jews themselves as a primary source of conflict and injustice in the world and seeks to delegitimize its very existence, while ignoring actual genocides and occupations in Egypt, Syria, Cyprus and North Korea. This obvious double standard when it comes to Israel is, in fact, a not-so-stealth manifestation of antisemitism. Jewish organizations that fail to recognize the subterfuge and elect to serve as partners in the indoctrination of American youth against the Jewish state are actually hastening their own demise. They are engaging in a partnership with their own enemies to promulgate false narratives that excuse genocide and encourage a second Holocaust.