Palestinian UC Berkeley Professor Apologizes for Retweeting anti-Semitic Cartoons

'My issue is with Zionism, not with Judaism or Jews,' the professor says in apology, the Jewish News of Northern California reports

The cartoons that UC Berkeley professor Bazian retweeted from twitter user Ron Hughes
The cartoons that UC Berkeley professor Bazian retweeted from twitter user Ron Hughes Credit: twitter

A UC Berkeley lecturer has apologized for retweeting cartoons that the school said "crossed the line" into anti-Semitism, the Jewish News of Northern California reported.

Professor Hatem Bazian, a Palestinian who teaches at Berkeley's Asian American and Asian Diaspora studies department, apologized, saying "the image is offensive and does not represent my views or the anti-racist work that I do."

The cartoons were originally tweeted by a user named Ron Hughes on July 31st and Bazian has since deleted his retweet.

One cartoon showed a Jewish man with his arms raised, juxtaposed with the caption, "Mom, look! I is chosen! I can now kill, rape, smuggle organs & steal the land of Palestinians." Another included in the retweet was an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un with the title, in caps, "I just converted all of North Korea to Judaism."

The cartoon, which said "God chose me" above a display of nukes and Kim Jong-Un's kippah-clad head, then appealed to Donald 'Tlump', saying that "now my nukes are legal & I can annex south Korea & you need to start paying me 34 billion a year in welfare." The tweet seemed to insinuate that if the hermit kingdom was Jewish, like Israel, it would be allowed to pursue an expansionist policy.

The University of California's Regent's "principals against tolerance" were violated in the posting of the tweets, UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said.

“While we do not believe that all criticism of Israel’s governmental policies is inherently anti-Semitic, the social media posts in question clearly crossed the line, and we are pleased they have been deleted."

In an email to the Jewish News of Northern California, Bazian said he didn't read the text in the Kim Jong-Un cartoon carefully enough, saying “as a Palestinian, my issue is with Zionism and not with Judaism or Jews."

"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,” Bazian told the Jewish News.

“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."

Noa Raman, the Pacific Northwest campus director for StandWithUs, said that this professor has "a long history of promoting bigotry. I'm glad the UC Berkeley administration spoke out now,” she told the Jewish News.

“I hope this is just the beginning of them standing up against the hate Jewish students and others face on campus,” she said.

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