Middle East studies in the News
by Alan D. Miller
April 15, 2004
A story has broken recently on Little Green Footballs and WorldNetDaily about Dr. Hatem Bazian, a UC Berkeley lecturer who alleged called for an uprising against the United States modeled on the Palestinian Intifada. From WorldNetDaily:
"Well, we've been watching intifada in Palestine, we've been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don't have an intifada in this country?
Because it seem[s] to me, that we are comfortable in where we are, watching CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, and all these mainstream ... giving us a window to the world while the world is being managed from Washington, from New York, from every other place in here in San Francisco: Chevron, Bechtel, [Carlyle?] Group, Halliburton; every one of those lying, cheating, stealing, deceiving individuals are in our country and we're sitting here and watching the world pass by, people being bombed, and it's about time that we have an intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here.
And we know every – They're gonna say some Palestinian being too radical – well, you haven't seen radicalism yet!"
Little Green Footballs has a link to a video of Dr. Bazian's speech.
The following is a previously unpublished column that I wrote a few months after September 11th. I think that these recent events only serve to confirm my point.
Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
"Our Army Loves Death More Than Life."
This wasn't another of Osama Bin Laden's videotaped rants against the United States. This was a sign held by protestors at a rally in support of suicide terrorism... at the University of California, Berkeley.
The date was March 8, 1996; less than a week after the end of a spate of suicide bombings in Israel which killed more than sixty people. The protestors, a group of Muslim students at UC Berkeley, were declaring their support for HAMAS, the Palestinian terrorist group that carried out the brutal attacks. One student, speaking from the microphone, declared his willingness to become a suicide bomber
"We are Hezbullah," read another sign. Prior to September 11, Hezbullah had killed more Americans than any other terrorist group. Its leaders grace the State Department's most wanted terrorists list. And in Berkeley, students were showing their support for these murderers.
This was all over five years before the horrific events in New York and in Washington. What are those students saying today?
Hatem Bazian, the spokesman for those protestors back in 1996, has been particularly vocal in the wake of September 11. He wants people to know that Islam does not condone acts of terrorism carried out against civilians. "The (attacks) do not represent the Islamic faith. Rather, it is isolated individuals that are taking these acts."
A few years ago, however, he was using Islam to justify acts of terrorism against civilians. At a fall 1996 lecture he questioned the faith of Jordanian Muslims who do not harm Israeli tourists visiting their country.
With all his new found opposition to terrorism, Bazian isn't supporting the war against bin Laden. "Being a patriot does not mean you have to believe in war," Bazian said at a recent Berkeley rally. A reasonable position, perhaps, but given his past support of groups that share bin Laden's ideology, is it reasonable to believe that he has changed? Has the tiger really changed his stripes?
Bazian is not the only American Muslim leader to have changed his tune after September 11. And some, it seems, haven't changed their tune. Take the case of Salam al-Maryati, the director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, who suggested that the State of Israel be put on the suspect list for the September 11 attacks.
What distinguishes September 11 from suicide terrorism in Israel? Can we say that the problem with bin Laden is not his methods but only his choice of target? That had his attacks been carried out on civilians in Tokyo, Tel Aviv, or Riyadh they would have been legitimate? This is exactly what those who distinguish between terrorism against Americans and terrorism against Israelis are saying.
Of course, this isn't only about Israel, and this brings us back, once again, to Hatem Bazian. The line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has been blurred at the Berkeley rallies, with speakers condemning both Zionists and Jews generally. Rally participants have held signs with slogans such as "Zionism is Nazism" and "Zionism is anti-Semitism," and one of the pillars of the Nazi propaganda trilogy, The International Jew, was distributed at a 1997 Islamic conference which Bazian organized.
A telling sign of Bazian's vision is found in one of his post-September 11 statements. "Here at Berkeley, we have Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim students all co-existing peacefully together," Bazian said. "If we can do it, so can the rest of the world." There is no place for Jews in his vision of peace.
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