From Orange County Jewish Life:

Debates have always been part of the college environment, and students have always been encouraged to look at both sides of a given issue.  When the issue is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the venue is UCI and the ability to fire off a response is instantaneous, the methods of handling such a debate are going to be questioned.  Recent events in Orange County have shown that the debate over how to handle the debate is almost as emotionally charged as the debate itself. Is there an appropriate way to introduce students to both sides of the issue?  Is there moral equivalency?  Is there indoctrination of impressionable young minds?  Are Jewish community dollars involved?  People in the community are asking questions and demanding due diligence, and community leaders are providing answers and vowing vigilance about a program called the Olive Tree Initiative. Nearly four years ago, the Olive Tree Initiative was created as a student-driven bridge-building mechanism.  According to the organization’s website, “In March 2007 a diverse group of UCI students from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Druze and non-religious backgrounds with varying perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict founded the Olive Tree Initiative. The students were inspired to create a forum where they could discuss and learn about their different perspectives on the situation in Israel/Palestine and to embark on an educational trip to the region.”

For the full story, please visit

connect with us


© UC Irvine School of Social Sciences - 3151 Social Sciences Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697-5100 - 949.824.2766