Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hatem Bazian at UC-Irvine

Hatem Bazian

On Monday evening, Hatem Bazian, a Palestinian-born professor at UC Berkeley, spoke at UC-Irvine, sponsored by the Muslim Student Union. His topic was the historical roots of the Middle East conflict.

At the outset of his talk, Baziam informed us that his presentation was copyrighted, and therefore, anybody wanting to use the video of it would have to obtain his permission.

Bazian began his history of the Palestine region with the Canaanites. What struck me about his historical account was that if you had absolutely zero knowledge of the history of the Holy Land, you would have inferred from Bazian that the Jews first appeared sometime in the late 19th century with the coming of the Zionist movement of Jews from Europe. I was thinking; "what about the Jews?" "What about the city called Jerusalem, which was the capital of the Jews some 3,000 years ago?"

Mere oversights.

It was only with the Zionist movement and the influx of Jews post WW II that Baziem began to acknowledege their existence-you know-when they dropped in out of Europe to steal the Palestinian land. He made a fleeting reference to the "migration" of Jews from Arab lands (actually, some 700,000 were driven out after Israel became a state).

Mere oversights I guess.

Somewhere in his speech, Baziam to "some smart-aleck" who might come up and question what he was saying..... (Must have been anticipating me). Anyway, suffice to say that Bazian's thesis is that the land belongs to the Palestininans and the Jews stole it.

During the Q&A, I (a smart aleck) asked him about three quotes that had been attributed to him in recent years by Discover the Networks and Steven Emerson in his book, "American Jihad." The quotes are as follows:

1 Purportedly, at an April 10, 2004 anti-war rally in San Francisco, Bazian said, "We're sitting here and watching the world pass us by, people being bombed, and it's about time that we have an intifada in this country that changes fundamentally the political dynamics in here." He reportedly added, "They're gonna say, 'some Palestinian being too radical'-well you haven't seen radicalism yet."
(Source-Discover the Networks)

2 At a conference of the American Muslim Alliance in May 1999, Bazian reportedly quoted the hadith about the the Day of Judgement and a Jew hiding behind the tree and the tree calling out to the Muslim, "Oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him", to which Bazian reportedly added, "And that's in the hadith about this, this is a future battle before the Day of Judgement".
(Source-Steven Emerson-American Jihad) I pointed out that I was aware that Bazian had publicly denied this statement.

3 At a protest rally by the Students for Justice in Palestine in 2002, which followed an earlier protest where 79 demonstrators were arrested, Bazian reportedly said, "If you want to know where the pressure is on the university, look at the Jewish names on the school buildings."

These were yes or no questions; Did he say these things or not? What I got was a rather longer answer to each.

To the first quote, he did not deny the statement adding that he is an open activist mentioning other causes he had been involved in. At that time, he was protesting the Iraq war and that he did in fact want to bring changes to America. (I am paraphrasing.)

To the second, he said something about me getting my dates and or sources wrong. (Because of this answer, I returned to the microphone for a follow up.)

To the third, he stated that it was impossible for him to know whose names were on all the university buildings, but if someone could come up with a video of him saying it, then he acknowledge the statement. I took that as either an evasion or he didn't remember(again, I am paraphrasing).

In order to clarify his answers to the three quotes, I returned to the microphone for a follow up to determine if his answers were yes or no. When I returned to my seat, he suggested that I should check my sources and referred me to his interview with Bill O'Reilly regarding the hadith quote. ("That's my answer.").

So I did, and here is a transcript:

Later, Another older gentleman asked Bazian about his claims of the Jews, comprising 6% of the population, having driven out the 94% Palestinians (over a long period).

"With the help of the British", replied Bazian, as the gentleman returned to his seat shaking his head in disbelief.

I would have liked to ask him if he knew Professor Andrew Gutierrez, the guy up at Berkeley who likes to heckle students protesting against anti-Semitism, but I didn't want to hog the microphone. Maybe next time.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I watched the question and answer period and either I am seeing him differently after taking a break or he has lost it.

He is the type of guy who will say the League of Nations and UN had no power to do anything until they started passsing resolutions they agree with.

He talks about Palestinians planting things? Small point but the population in the area was in decline until Jews started moving in and working the land. So I am not really sure where he going with that stuff. And the land was underdeveloped if you look at the population now compared to then.

The partion was based upon demographics. It wasn't based upon land ownership. It also wasn't based upon defendable borders.

He starts with the assumption that is all Arab land and the Jews stole it all with the help of the British. That truely is the far off Arab perspective.

He fails to note that about 70% of the land that was partioned to be Israel wasn't owned by Arab farmers. It was owned and controlled by the Mandate govt. That is how things rightly or wrongly worked.

The Arabs whose land was taken should be compensated and Israel was willing to do that in the peace talks in 2000/2001. I have seen reports that just as much or more in assets were lost from Jews who either were forced or left Arab lands. No one realistically believes they will be compensated. However, Israel would like this fact to be recognized.

No one really says Arabs didn't live there. The early Zionists made it a point not to buy land from locals.

He doesn't seem to accept what was proposed at Camp David and by Clinton. This is the most frustrating part. He will claim what those who were there are all not telling the truth.

His narrative of what happened to Palestinian refugees is way too simplistic. Not all were forced out. Some rich left because they didn't want to deal with the war. Some Jews begged Arabs to stay. Others left by false rumors.

The bottom line was that if the Arabs didn't start a war the Jews would not have had a reason to expel any Palestinians.

Gary Fouse said...


What's really scary is that this is what is teaching our kids in college.

Anonymous said...

His narrative on the refugees leaves a lot out.

I suggest those who want to more read Benny Morris (not just websites or Norman Finkelstein cherry picks from his work)

One of his lectures is on youtube