UC Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian
UC Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian

UC Berkeley responds to Jewish groups’ call for action against SJP founder Bazian

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A UC Berkeley official has responded to an open letter sent to university administrators by four Jewish student groups that urged “decisive action” in response to anti-Semitic tweets retweeted by Ethnic Studies lecturer and Students for Justice in Palestine founder Hatem Bazian.

In his written response to the Nov. 30 letter, Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Oscar Dubon asked to meet with the groups: Chabad Jewish Student Group, Berkeley Hillel, Tikvah and Bears for Israel. He agreed the retweets “crossed the line between criticism of Israel and unacceptable anti-Semitism,” adding that, “there is much debate and disagreement when it comes to where the line between political criticism of Israel’s governmental policies and intolerable, anti-Semitic content that targets the Jewish people can and should be draw… Israel is not just a country; it is a central part of Jewish identity. This makes the struggle to ‘draw’ such a line so challenging, but does not diminish the profound impact of anti-Semitism, which we should call out and denounce when it strikes our community.”

The tweets featured images comparing Jews to Nazis, including a stereotyped image of a Hasidic Jew. UC Berkeley condemned Bazian for the messages, which Bazian later deleted, apologizing for his actions.

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.