Pro-BDS UC-Berkeley Professor Slammed for Antisemitic Tweet Accusing Jews of ‘Organ Theft’
Update: This story now includes a statement from UC Berkeley.
Jewish groups have strongly condemned a University of California-Berkeley professor who shared antisemitic images on Twitter that accused “Zionists” of illegally trafficking in human organs.
Professor Hatem Bazian — a lecturer at UC-Berkeley’s Ethnic Studies Department and a prominent campus advocate of BDS — shared the tweet on July 31. Accompanying a message built on words like “Zionist,” apartheid,” “genocide,” and “organ theft” was a photo that showed a smiling Hassidic Jew with the caption, “Look, Mom, I is chosen,” with the Twitter hashtag “#Ashke-Nazi.”
The UC-Berkeley student group Tikvah: Students for Israel, who said it discovered the tweet (the watchdog group Canary Mission, however, claimed credit for originally bringing the tweet to public attention), was among those who condemned Bazian.
“Tikvah, the Zionist Voice at UC Berkeley, condemns every form of antisemitism and expects that people be held accountable for their actions,” a student from Tikvah wrote on Facebook on Monday. “Bazianhas shown his true colors after retweeting a truly revolting, Anti-Semitic tweet.”
The post continued: “It is unacceptable for a lecturer at a highly acclaimed and diverse university to be allowed to spew propaganda and discriminatory content, whether it is in the classroom or online. We are calling on the UC Berkeley to condemn Professor Bazian’s actions and hold him accountable for his Anti-Semitic behavior. We also expect a public apology and a pledge to attend sensitivity training by Professor Bazian.”
Noa Raman, Pacific Northwest campus cirector for the pro-Israel education group StandWithUs, noted that while “this incident is deeply disturbing, it is unfortunately not shocking.”
“This professor has a long history of promoting hate, including as the co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP),” Raman said. “Now that he is sharing the kind of blatant anti-Semitism we usually see from alt right and far left extremists, it’s time for UC Berkeley administrators to stand up for their students and make a clear statement of condemnation.”
In what was presented as a personal apology, Bazian said on Tuesday the tweet “does not represent my views or the anti-racist work that I do including fighting antisemitism 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.”
He continued: “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.”
In a statement, UC Berkeley said that it “unequivocally supports the University of California Regents’, “Principles Against Intolerance”, which are clear in their general condemnation of bias, hatred, prejudice and discrimination. We also adhere to and strongly support their specific statement that, ‘Antisemitism and other forms of discrimination have no place in the University.'”
The statement continued: “While we do not believe that all criticism of Israel’s governmental policies is inherently antisemitic, the social media posts in question clearly crossed the line, and we are pleased they have been deleted. We deeply regret the impact these posts have had on members of our campus community and the public at large. UC Berkeley is and will remain committed to fostering and sustaining a campus community, and a world, where everyone feels safe, welcome and respected.”