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Along the same lines, Bazian criticized the documentary series, Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West and The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America. Rather than debating the substance of the films, Bazian charged them with supporting this supposed wave of Islamophobia.
In fact, FBI statistics reveal that two-thirds of all religiously motivated hate crimes in the U.S. are committed against Jews; anti-Jewish incidents outnumber anti-Muslim incidents by a factor of ten. A recent study conducted by the Center for Security Policy, “Religious Bias Crimes against Muslim, Jewish and Christian Victims: American Trends from 2000-2009,” shows that hate crimes against Muslim Americans have remained relatively low and trending downward since 2001. Given this evidence, one might ask why, instead of the focus on “Islamophobia,” there isn’t a center for the study of anti-Semitism at UC Berkeley?
Bazian later resumed bashing Israel, alleging—against all evidence—that “it was Israel that prevented the two-state solution, not the Palestinians.” Similarly, he made the following conspiratorial claim:
They [Israelis] still think the transfer [of Arabs] is the best approach . . . all of them, not one family, not one tribe should be left. . . . The highest levels of the Israeli government still believe that to solve the problem is to transfer the Palestinians.
Regarding the counter-terrorism training Israel has provided to American police and military forces, he concluded, “So who do you think those officers see as terrorists? Who do they look like?” That both Israel and the U.S. are targets for Islamic—not Irish or Basque—terrorists was left out of the equation.
Bazian lamented American financial support for Israel, insisting that the U.S. “budget is heavily invested in the military industrial complex” and spending a fair amount of time trying to back up this assertion, however faulty. Indeed, a video with excerpts of his talk posted at YouTube includes text with facts and figures that successfully contradicts Bazian on this point.
Meanwhile, events were transpiring outside the venue—where 25 or so pro-Israel protesters holding Israeli and American flags were gathered peacefully—that lent an air of paranoia to the evening. Unbeknownst to those of us sitting near the front of the church, security guards and tour volunteers were ejecting seated members of the audience in the rear whom they recognized as pro-Israel activists—either from the protest in front of the church or other local events. Similarly, they refused entrance to at least one person attempting to buy a ticket.
It was a replay on a smaller scale of the scene at Rutgers University on January 29, 2011, when sponsors and campus endorsers of the tour—having advertised the event as “free and open to the public”—suddenly began charging for tickets when a number of pro-Israel protesters tried to enter. Meanwhile, they allowed others in for free.
Adding to this pattern, audience members at several other stops on the tour reported that they were not allowed to photograph or record events.
The thuggish and discriminatory behavior of the event’s organizers; the calculated inclusion of Hajo Meyer; and Bazian’s radical, conspiratorial commentary are all standard fare for the “Never Again for Anyone Tour,” not to mention the morally reprehensible and historically false premise of the entire enterprise. Perhaps it’s time for organizers to apply the “Never Again” slogan to themselves.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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