Hatem Bazian: Berkeley’s Israel Boycott Advocate

Pages: 1 2

Lisa Taraki, a sociologist at Birzeit University near Ramallah on the West Bank and co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, was the main speaker. Like Bazian, she relied heavily upon inflammatory language, labeling Israel a “colonial, settler, Zionist enterprise” that maintains power through “colonial rule, apartheid, and military occupation.” She also invoked Berkeley’s anti-war movement, likening it to the Arab-Israeli conflict:

I used to mingle with the anti-war crowd when I was a student at Mills College [in Oakland, California]. I tasted the tear gas on Telegraph Avenue, yes, and later tasted the same tear gas by the same manufacturer in Palestine.

She then outlined her vision for the BDS movement:

What Palestinians are beginning to realize now with the failure of the political process and dialog, is a new logic of BDS; not a logic of persuasion but of pressure. . . . There is a great deal the academic community can do to express solidarity and effectively work for change. . . . In the U.S., no one would have dreamed there would be a campaign like this; now they have 500 endorsements from American academics. . . . It’s not a boycott of individual Israelis, but of institutions, and the major cultural institutions are complicit in the domination of oppression. . . . The problem is the Israeli state and what upholds its power . . . virtually all Israeli institutions are complicit.

Although both speakers claimed they were not boycotting individuals, it is impossible to boycott institutions in the abstract. Real people are harmed. The academic boycott would in effect discriminate against students and faculty on the basis of national origin and religious and/or ethnic identity. Activists, for example, were urged to pressure universities to end study abroad programs in Israel, student exchanges between American and Israeli universities, and foundation grants to Israelis or Israeli institutions. The campaign calls for a thorough shunning of every element of Israeli society. Thirty-eight Nobel scholars have already condemned this move as “antithetical to principles of academic and scientific freedom, and antithetical to principles of freedom of expression and inquiry.”

The UC Berkeley chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine was the primary sponsor for the BDS event, while the Muslim Identities and Cultures—a working group of the university’s Townsend Center for the Humanities—was a co-sponsor. As noted in a letter of protest sent by California academics Leila Beckwith, Roberta Seid, and Tammi Rossman-Benjamin to UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, this “establishes an official association of the University of California at Berkeley with the promotion of a boycott against Israel.” In response, the Townsend Center claimed that it “would not fund any group that does not act in the spirit of intellectual openness,” nor was it “endorsing any position that could be construed as hateful of any religious or ethnic group.” But under its aegis, Bazian and Taraki promoted a mean-spirited discourse replete with phrases extracted from other contexts in order to legitimize a campaign of discrimination.

Is this really a campaign with which UC Berkeley wishes to be officially associated?

Berkeley resident Rima Greene co-wrote this article with Cinnamon Stillwell, the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at stillwell@meforum.org.

Pages: 1 2

  • 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.
    http://blogs.forbes.com/abigailesman/2010/11/08/g

    (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.

  • http://location-jeu-gonflable-montreal.com jeu gonflable montreal

    Thats lovely stuff you have got in here. Have been hunting for this all over. Great work

    Hope you would like to read about location de jeux gonflables