UC Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian
UC Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian

Jewish groups at UC Berkeley urge action against lecturer and SJP founder Bazian

A coalition of four UC Berkeley Jewish student groups sent a letter to university administrators, urging “decisive action” in response to anti-Semitic tweets sent by Ethnic Studies lecturer and Students for Justice in Palestine founder Hatem Bazian.

The Nov. 30 letter, co-signed by the Chabad Jewish Student Group, Berkeley Hillel, Tikvah and Bears for Israel comes after recent revelations that in July, Bazian retweeted images comparing Jews to Nazis, including a stereotyped image of a Hasidic Jew.

UC Berkeley’s administration condemned Bazian for the messages, which Bazian later deleted, apologizing for his actions.

In their Nov. 30 letter, the groups note Bazian has a history of what they call demonstrating “a consistent pattern of spreading or justifying anti-Semitism,” such as sharing on social media last May a video “claiming that Israeli soldiers killed young Palestinians for their organs.”

While condemning the tweets, Cal spokesperson Dan Mogulof told J. that Bazian expressed those views on his personal Twitter page and that the university would not interfere with free expression.

The co-signers of the letter addressed the free speech issue, saying, “While we fully support academic freedom and free speech, we believe Bazian’s record is severe enough to warrant more than just condemnation.”

Without directly calling for Bazian’s firing, the letter went on to cite the examples of professors at other American universities who were fired or suspended for propagating anti-Semitic messages.

UC Berkeley administrators have yet to respond to the letter.

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Dan Pine

Dan Pine is J.'s news editor. He can be reached at dan@jweekly.com.