The Olive Tree Initiative (OTI): George Rishmawi and the Siraj Center Raise Concerns

July 19, 2011

He said that Peace Now claimed that 83% of settlements are on confiscated Palestinian land when in fact they had claimed the number was 40% and much of their data had proved to be based on incomplete records and was incorrect.
…and the Jewish Federation of Orange County is involved with these haters.

George Rishmawi may no longer be formally with ISM, but his perspective and approach are not likely to improve the understanding of Olive Tree Initiative (OTI) students, help them develop conflict resolution skills, or help pave the way to conciliation and peace either on the UCI campus or in the Middle East. That Rishmawi and his group are so integral to OTI’s programming casts doubt on the value of OTI itself. Speaking at UC Irvine on Nov. 22, 2010, Rishmawi said he broke with ISM several years ago over personal differences with co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf, but his current goals are quite similar to those of ISM when it was originally founded: bring young “internationals” to the West Bank on tours and to live with selected Palestinian families, encourage them to become “ambassadors” who will repeat the narrative Rishmawi orchestrates, and inspire them to participate in “non-violent” actions like protesting the security fence in Bil’in. more via Roberta P. Seid, PhD 

George Rishmawi co-founded the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) along with Adam Shapiro, Huwaida Arraf, and Ghassan Andoni. Led by Palestinians working closely with American recruiters, the ISM invites individuals from the West to come to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and disrupt the counter-terrorism efforts of the Israeli Defense Force. Rishmawi directs the activities of ISM volunteers on the ground.

Rishmawi is also a director of Alternative Tourism, a group that was formed in 1995 to act as a propaganda organ for Palestinian terrorist elements that have no interest in peace – portraying Palestinians as victims of unyielding Israeli oppression and brutality. Alternative Tourism was established to greet and aid ISM volunteers who come to Israel. In April 2003, two Pakistani Muslims from Great Britain entered Israel through Jordan as clients of Alternative Tourism; they met with ISM leaders for an entire day in Gaza before proceeding on to Tel Aviv, where they bombed a popular beach bar, Mike’s Place, killing three people.  image via a non reputable source: Bob May