UC Berkeley lecturer apologizes for anti-Semitic retweet

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Joshua Jordan/File

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UC Berkeley ethnic studies lecturer Hatem Bazian came under public criticism Nov. 20 for retweeting a meme that many have since called anti-Semitic.

The meme, originally posted on Twitter by a user named Ron Hughes, portrays a Jewish man holding his hands in the air with text below stating, “I can now kill, rape, smuggle organs & steal the land of Palestinians.” The tweet also contains a meme with a photo of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, and it compares converting nations to Judaism to legalizing nuclear warfare and seizing countries.

In an email, Bazian said he only saw the meme of Kim Jong-un when he initially retweeted the post July 31.

“The (meme depicting the Jewish man) is extremely offensive and (I) would not in a million (years) think about sending such an image as it is anti-Semitic and does not make or offer any point of view in relations to Palestine or the Palestinian cause,” Bazian said in his email.

Bazian issued a public apology Nov. 21 on his Facebook profile, stating that the meme is not representative of his views or his “anti-racist work” to combat anti-Semitism and Islamophobia with Jewish groups that support a self-determined Palestine. He added that, as a Palestinian, his concern is with Zionism and Israel’s policies toward Palestinians.

Bazian has long been involved in pro-Palestine advocacy, founding Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Berkeley in 1992. The organization now has chapters in universities across the country.

UC Berkeley’s Students for Justice in Palestine could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Campus senior Adah Forer, co-president of campus group Tikvah: Students for Israel, said in an email that Bazian’s statement was “not a genuine apology.” Forer said she believes Bazian has used his apology to promote his ideas and condemn Zionism.

“Zionism is the liberation movement of the Jewish people, and the false statements Bazian makes about Palestinians living as second-class citizens in Israel is appalling,” Forer said. “He is using his platforms to spread hate, incitement, and misinformation, thus miseducating his followers and creating a deceitful narrative of the situation.”

Tikvah: Students for Israel also issued a public statement on its Facebook page Nov. 20 condemning the post as “truly revolting” and anti-Semitic.

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said in an email that although the campus does not consider all criticisms of Israel’s policies to be anti-Semitic, the images Bazian retweeted “clearly crossed the line.”

“UC Berkeley unequivocally supports the University of California Regents’ ‘Principles Against Intolerance’, which are clear in their general condemnation of bias, hatred, prejudice and discrimination,” Mogulof said in his email. “We also adhere to and strongly support their specific statement that, ‘Anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination have no place in the University.’ ”

In her email, Forer said Bazian should face disciplinary action from the campus. Forer said she believes that if a campus faculty member had circulated similar imagery regarding another ethnic group, there would have been a “far stronger outcry.”

“I am very clear and open in my political views and have no interest in using anything that is racist or demeaning toward a religious, racial or ethnic community,” Bazian said in an email.

Contact Cade Johnson at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @cadejohnson98.

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  • SMH

    .

    Oh, but *JEWISH* racists who are anti-Black, anti-Brown immigration bigots, virulent Islamophobes, and wanton misogynists coming to UC Berkeley — invited as speakers and sponsored by the Berkeley College Republicans — well that’s just “free speech” warranting $1,000,000 (suddenly available and taken from campus funds) worth of riot police protection, and the central campus put on lock-down under martial law, huh?

    You can say anything about anybody as long as it doesn’t offend ZIONISTS Jews — the most narcissistic FUKKING RACIST *HYPOCRITES* in human history — with Zionism itself being well over a century-long repugnant *RACIST* ideology. Oh, the sheer *CHUTZPAH* of ÁZIONIST Jews complaining about anti-Semitism!

    .

    • SamXie

      Joseph, have they finally released you from the state hospital? Are you staying in people’s park, or did you find someone to put you up? Don’t forget to take your meds, this time.

  • SamXie

    Hatem Bazian has a well documented history of Jew-hate (It doesn’t stop groups like Jewish Voice for Peace from working with him, interestingly enough)

    From Canary Mission https://canarymission.org/professors/hatem-bazian/

    “As a graduate student at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in the 1980’s, Bazian fomented an anti-Semitic environment that persists at SFSU until today.

    Bazian served as president of SFSU Associated Students, the Student Union Governing Board and GUPS.

    As president, Bazian waged a “campaign” against Hillel and blocked the appointment of a Jewish student to SFSU’s Student Judicial Council “on grounds that the individual supported the state of Israel and was therefore, by definition, a racist.”

    In 1994, Bazian organized a press conference to support an anti-Semitic mural that depicted Malcolm X’s face surrounded by dollar signs, stars of David, skulls and crossbones and the words “African blood.” Jewish students were forcibly excluded from the event.

    Bazian also reportedly assaulted the offices of SFSU’s student newspaper for being a “haven for Jewish spies.”

    Under Bazian’s leadership, GUPS rejected an invitation from SFSU’s Jewish Student Action Committee to forge a “peace treaty” during the first intifada.

    After graduating from SFSU, Bazian continued his studies at UC Berkeley, where he headed the campus MSA and founded SJP in 2001.

    At a July 2014 anti-Israel rally, surrounded by current GUPS SFSU members, Bazian accused Israel of committing “genocide”

    Calling for an American “Intifada”

    At an April 2004 rally held in San Francisco in support of the Iraqi insurgency, Bazian called for an “intifada” [violent uprising] in the United States.

    Bazian asked the crowd: “Are you angry? Are you angry? Are you angry? Well, we’ve been watching intifada in Palestine, we’ve been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don’t have an intifada in this country?… and it’s about time that we have an intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here. And we know…they’re gonna say it’s some Palestinian being too radical, well you haven’t seen radicalism yet!”

    During a 2014 anti-Israel rally, Bazian stated that “we need to give them [the U.S. political leadership] [a] genetic mutation and constitute a Palestinian spine for them… we need to harass them.”

    In 2011, Bazian headlined a national speaking tour called “Never Again for Anyone” — launched on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The tour was organized by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN), the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) and AMP.

    According to an official statement by IJAN, the goal of the tour was to reveal how Zionists “exploited Nazism” and the genocide of European Jewry to build a Jewish state.

    Another goal of the tour was to analogize Zionists with Nazis by comparing Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto.

    During a 2016 talk to promote his book — “Palestine… It Is Something Colonial” — Bazian argued that European Zionists “partnered with anti-Semites rather than actually challenging the basic assumption of anti-Semitism” by fleeing Europe and founding a Jewish state.”

    • SMH

      .

      *FFUKK* U REPUGNANT ZIONIST JEWISH *RACIST* *HYPOCRITES*!!

      .

    • SMH

      .

      “Another goal of the tour was to analogize Zionists with Nazis by comparing Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto” : Actually — and quite IRONICALLY — the Zionist-/Israeli/ZIO-nazi *JEWISH*-CREATED Gaza ghetto is _*MANY* TIMES LARGER_ than was the Nazi-created Warsaw ghetto.

      See online: “20 PARALLELS OF ZIONISM WITH NAZISM”

      .

    • D.Plorable

      The fact of the Transfer Agreement between the Zionists and Nazis is not disputable though commonly ignored. As a practical matter however is it most likely that it was merely a strategem on the part of the Nazi regime to get rid of the people most likely to lead resistance against the repression that lead to the genocide. Recall the Mufti of Jerusalem’s infamous consultation with Hitler documented with the photographs that every radical Islamist must wish never existed. There is little doubt that the grand design was to ultimately wipe out the Jews in both Europe and the Middle East.

      • SamXie

        The collusion between the Palestinians and the Nazis is quite well known. Hitler gushed over the red hair and blue eyes of the Palestinian Grand Mufti, who in turn trained 30,000 members of the Bosnian SS. The Palestinian Grand Mufti was to be in charge of the “final solution” to the problem of the Jews in the Middle East and North Africa.

  • jrabin

    Why is someone who is propagates racism still on the Berkeley faculty? How can a Jewish student take his course without being intimidated where he or she would express view that are at odds with this vile instructor? Why is the University paying this racist a salary?

  • rychastings

    surprising no one. everyone has known that this is who this guy is

  • jim hoch

    “not a genuine apology.” You think? But it will be enough for Cal.

    • California Defender

      Cal is upset that he brought attention to their teaching of intolerance, but not the intolerance itself.

    • Dan Spitzer

      BDS advocates have long maintained that there is no correlation between calling for sanctions vs Israel and anti-Semitism. Bazian is a worldwide leader of the BDS movement. Given what he tweeted and using elementary logic, the connection between BDS and anti-Semitism should now be crystalline to those with any neurons functioning.

  • Dan Spitzer

    There can be no more blatant violation of the Regents’ Principles Against Intolerance than the tweets posted by Hatem Bazian. Had the subject matter featured representatives of any other minority besides a Jew, the poster as an employee of the university would be summarily fired. And any reasonable reader and member of our community knows it.

    Imagine the outcry if an African American, Muslim, Hispanic or Asian had been depicted in a similar vein and what would happen to a professor of UC Berkeley who promulgated such tweets.

    It matters not what Bazian’s stance on politics are. The tweets he posted are anti-Semitic bigotry at their most extreme and its author should no longer be retained as a paid lecturer for the university. Given that Bazian is an untenured professor, the university should sever its ties with him forthwith.

    • California Defender

      It’s not only Bazian. The problem of intolerance and hate at Berkeley is systemic. It’s part of the fabric of the university and fortified in its structure from the top down.

  • Bloody terrorist! Deport him!