Hatem Bazian: Berkeley’s Israel Boycott Advocate

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Hatem Bazian, a senior lecturer in the department of Near Eastern studies at the University of California at Berkeley, provided the introduction at a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) event at Berkeley on October 26, 2010, called “What Can American Academia Do to Realize Justice for Palestinians?” Bazian is an endorser of the Israel Divestment Campaign and a signatory to the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. He is a committed anti-Israel propagandist and activist.

In his introduction, Bazian was unabashed about promoting a politically active role for academia:

In academia are two narratives: academia produces embedded intellectuals in bed with power, and there’s an academia that challenges power, who say [sic] that the role of the intellectual is to speak truth to power.

Accordingly, his remarks were peppered with exultant references to Berkeley’s glory days:

This is a place that gave major contributions: the women’s movement, the anti-war movement, the labor movement, ethnic studies. This is a place where ideas were possible; this is a place where people wrote history.

Bazian urged “the same students who stopped the war in Vietnam, who stopped the levers of the machine” to “stop the normalization of Israel and the silence of the U.S.” by pressuring American academia to cut off all ties with Israeli institutions. He was proud of the accomplishments of the BDS movement, boasting that

I am comforted at a national level with the conferences I have just been to. We activists from North America and activists from Europe met recently in Montreal and Chicago to discuss boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. People are committed to planning and organizing from college campuses.

He went on to outline his expansive view of the BDS movement, one in which common cause can be made with various other struggles, no matter how disconnected:

Specifically for here on campus, it requires us to be highly organized. The apartheid movement was very strategic with alliances [and] a large coalition—but across the board so that the bombs on Palestinians in refugee camps connect to the inner cities of the U.S.A. . . . We have to think of it as a continuum. We need an agenda that seeks change across the board.

Bazian’s reference to apartheid in South Africa is a staple of the BDS movement. But it is an inaccurate comparison, as is the “inner cities” of the U.S. to Palestinian “refugee camps.” Such decontexualized verbal borrowings cannot be the work of an unbiased intellectual, as they confuse and blur meaning in order to incite passions.

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  • Popcorn

    His name says it all…..Hate'em, meaning first the Jews, then the Christians, then the non believers, then the Buddhists and Hindus, then the Americans, then the British…..Hate'em hates em all. It's all brainwash, Kool Aid for the pseudo intellectual campus vermin.

  • Abigail

    And then there's Gretta Duisenberg, who wears her anti-Semitism as a badge of honor, then sues anyone who says so – especially, of course, anyone who actually DOESN'T hate the Jews.

    (please read and add your voice to those who oppose her efforts to silence the truth.)

  • hugolawrence

    If Mr. Bazian is referring to people of his ilk as "american academia" then I would say: please, cut your ties with Israel, and be quick about it. They don't need your deceived and ignorant ideology(nor does anyone else)." If you have something constructive to contribute in a civilized manner, join the group of those who do. Otherwise sit down and be quiet.

  • jim Lopey

    It's unfortuante that people like Bazian are allowed an academic platform in which to spread his radical and hateful ideas. The Israeli/Palestinian issue is complex. What isn't complex is that "Israeli bashing" seems to be in vogue. Remember that from November 2000-April 2004, 377 Israelis died and 2,076 were injured in HAMAS attacks. From 2005-2010 there were 3,000 attacks against Israel (attributed to HAMAS). HAMAS views the land held by Israel as a "Waqif" or non-negotiable holy ground. How does one negotiate when a goodly number of radicals are leading the Palestinians? Peace can only be attained when extremists move toward the center.

  • gmr

    Well done Cinnamon. I'd have to guess that this guy is a fraud because IIRC the term academia (including the "academics") is inherently about looking at all sides of an issue in a quest for knowledge. It seems this fellow only wants one side to be smiled upon, making the term academia a misnomer. "Anti-Semite" might be a better term.

  • http://TheHappyPoet Selma Soss

    Justice for the Palestinians? Does this guy know that children in the Palestinian
    territories are sent up as suicide bombers? Women are buried alive with their
    heads sticking out and stones thrown at them. People are beheaded for crimes.
    What are his objectives? Tell him to get a real job.

  • Stonefellowi

    If Hatem Bazian is an academic at Berkley, then he is supported by the state of California with taxpayer's money. He has freedom of speech, but not to use his taxpayer supported
    academic position to promote his hate. When will the Jewish idiot liberals in the Bay area wake up? The hater activist academic in South Florida was removed by the state. California can do the same. Why waste our taxes on this person? He can then be supported by Arab money, which supports his campaign..

    • Raymond in DC

      I fear the "Jewish idiot liberals in the Bay area" will NEVER wake up. They just helped reelect Boxer and Brown. And a few years ago hosted Rachel Corrie's family at the JCC where they were showing a film about their "martyred" daughter – the one who threw herself in front of an IDF bulldozer and suffered the consequences.

  • http://yahoo.com Robert

    its good to american academics standing up for the Palestinians. Notice not one, not one single pro Israel post mentions that Israel occupies other peoples lands, or has 1.5million people in an open air prison or that Israel refuses to allow Palestinians to rebuild their homes after Israel destroyed them or that Israel refuses to allow freedom of movement to young palestinians to study abroad. They don't mention that Israel refuses any economic freedom for the Palestinians. That is what BDS hope to achieve.

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