Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Hatem Bazian's Defense of Marc Lamont Hill

UC Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian, who was born in the West Bank and is one of the nation's foremost anti-Israel agitators, has penned a column in his blog defending Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired by CNN after his controversial UN speech defending violence by Palestinians. Bazian thinks the firing was unjust.

Recently, I cross-posted a similar column by University of Michigan professor Juan Cole. Bazian, at least didn't try to make the stretch that Hill's use of the phase, "from the river to the sea" only referred to the West Bank (which borders the Jordan River) and Gaza (which borders the Mediterranean). Bazian insists that Jews are free to remain in a Palestine which extends from the river to the sea and no implication of genocide against Jews is intended. Of course, given the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it takes no imagination to see what the fate of the Jews would be in "Palestine" since implementation of the right of return would make Jews a minority. A Jewish minority in a Muslim majority nation? We know how that story would end.

In addition, Bazian ignores the other aspect of Hill's speech which caused so much anger; Hill also defended the "right" of the Palestinians to use violence as a tactic.

Contrary to Bazian's claim, Hill has not been unfairly treated for his words. He has exercised his right of free speech, but he is not immune from criticism. He is still a professor at Temple, which no doubt, will respect his right of free speech (unless he converts to conservatism and becomes pro-Israel). As for CNN, they decided they did not want his name associated with their brand. Commentators come and go with regularity on these cable news channels. Just ask Michael Avenatti, who has quietly disappeared from CNN after his arrest for allegedly beating up a young woman in Los Angeles.

Of course, for Bazian to throw in the name of Colin Kaepernick out there as another example of a black man being punished for his speech, is absurd. The San Francisco 49ers rightly decided they didn't need the services of a second string quarterback who was alienating their fan base by his kneeling during the National Anthem and comments about America in general-not to mention his modeling socks with police-as-pigs images on them. In fact, Kaepernick had made himself a free agent anyway. Even if there has been a joint decision by all NFL team owners not to hire him, since when can we force a major league sports franchise, which is answerable to its fans and the community in which they operate, to hire Kaepernick or anyone else?

But I digress. We are talking about Marc Lamont Hill and Hatem Bazian here.

America has no shortage of African-American activists who speak out, like Hill, generally from the point of view of the left. Indeed, it is black conservatives who demonstrate real courage in speaking out because they are so ostracized, not only from within their own community, but from white liberals as well. Bazian's effort to align the Palestinian cause with that of African-Americans is weak and cynical. It is Islamist opportunists like Bazian who not only try to make common cause with other minorities against the injustices of America (real or perceived), but against Jews as well. Bazian's own history of agitating against Jewish students goes all the way back to his days as a student at San Francisco State University. He has a litany of anti-Jewish statements on the record-which continue to this day. He denies he is anti-Jewish per se, but the record argues against him.

As a Palestinian, Bazian apparently does not understand that while people like Hill have the right to express their opinions without fear of being hauled off to jail, in the real world of work and human relations, words can have consequences. Unlike Bazian and Hill's employers (UC Berkeley and Temple respectively), some businesses and companies are free to decide they don't want their name associated with employees who bring them embarrassment.

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