URGENT: Dr. Hatem Bazian Under Attack; We Need Your Help!
(WASHINGTON DC 11/28/2017) UC Berkeley Professor and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) Chairman, Dr. Hatem Bazian, is under attack for inadvertently retweeting an offensive meme earlier this year. He has recently been targeted by zealous pro-Israel groups calling for his immediate dismissal from the university. This vicious campaign comes despite the fact that Dr. Bazian acknowledged the mistake—having not realized the full content of the image as it appeared on his phone—and immediately deleted the post once it was brought to his attention.
Dr. Bazian has since issued an apology on his social media accounts for unintentionally sharing the distasteful image, believing it contrary to the values and principles he upholds, and to his longstanding efforts to combat racism in all its forms—including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia:
A retweet was brought to my attention today and I went over my account from the past and do sincerely apologize for re-sending it, the image is offensive and does not represent my views or the anti-racist work that I do including fighting anti-Semitism in partnership with progressive Jewish groups that express solidarity with Palestine's rights to self-determination and have a strong track record on countering Islamophobia. At the time, I saw the image of the North Korean Kim Jong Un and tweeted it without giving it much thought as I was teaching a course in Spain and France. I did not realize or read the full text in detail until it started re-appearing on my twitter feed again from a number of pro-Israel groups that target Palestinians. As a matter of policy, I don't respond, as I focus on my work and ignore the attacks. As a Palestinian, my issue is with Zionism, a settler colonial movement and Israel's policies directed at Palestinians under occupation and those that live as second or maybe fourth class citizens in the state and not with Judaism or Jews, as diverse communities. The image in the tweet and the framing relative to Judaism and conversion was wrong and offensive and not something that reflects my position, be it in the past or the present. I take responsibility for my words and statements and stand by my own work relative to Palestine, BDS and opposition to Zionism and settler colonialism and those who take issue on the content of my scholarship and work are welcome to disagree and offer a defense of their point of view in the open market of ideas. In the future, I will make sure to include that retweets don't represent an agreement or support for the ideas that are shared and only my own postings reflect my positions on issues. Dr. Hatem Bazian, Berkeley, Nov. 21st, 2017
Throughout his life, Dr. Bazian has called for open discussion, fair debate, and mutual understanding. Dr. Bazian has further dedicated his life to countering racism and oppression domestically and internationally including leading the fight in defense of Affirmative Action and the Anti-Apartheid movement to name a few. This politically-motivated campaign is nothing more than a deliberate and well-funded effort to silence Palestinian and Muslim voices, and serves as no more than a distraction from the principled cause to which he has dedicated his life: speaking out against the brutality of Israel’s occupation, the denial of rights, and Zionist settler colonialism.
AMP calls on all people of conscience to urgently contact the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Office in support of Dr. Hatem Bazian and to urge the university not to buckle to pro-Israel organizations’ pressure. Tell the university to stand by Dr. Bazian and to not suppress a critical Palestinian-Muslim voice and leading researcher on the subject of Islamophobia, based on an honest mistake.
Chancellor Carol Christ
University of California, Berkeley
200 California Hall # 1500
Berkeley, CA 94720-1500
Phone: (510) 642-7464