On May 9th, the president of the Jewish Federation & Family Services of Orange County, California (JFOC), Shalom Elcott, was loitering on the plaza during the first day of anti-Israel "Apartheid Awareness Week," organized by the Muslim Student Union (MSU) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). There, he encountered Professor Amihai Glazer. Glazer is one of 60 faculty members who signed a letter expressing the view that anti-Semitism did indeed exist on the UCI campus — including Islamic anti-Semitism. The conversation got heated when Elcott hit Glazer with coiled-up flyers after Glazer told him he had "a credibility problem."

One potential problem was the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI), currently at UCI and spreading to other university campuses. The objective of the OTI program, sponsored by the JFOC Rose Project, was to send Jewish and non-Jewish students to Israel and the West Bank, exposing them to a variety of views from Israeli and Palestinian representatives and affording an understanding of all sides of the issues.

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