Dr. Hatem Bazian is a native Palestinian who is currently a lecturer in the Near Eastern Studies and Ethnic Studies Departments at UC Berkeley. During his academic career, he has taught courses on Islam, Islamic law, Sufism, Arabic, and Politics of the Middle East at Berkeley, San Francisco State University, Berkeley Graduate Theological Union, and Diablo Valley College. He is also a co-host and assistant producer of "Islam Today," a weekly California radio program devoted to Muslim issues around the world.
At an April 10, 2004 anti-war rally in San Francisco, Bazian told the cheering crowd, “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.” He added: “They’re gonna say, ‘some Palestinian being too radical’ — well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet!”
At the same event, a Catholic priest addressing the crowd gave pronouncements “in the name of Allah.” Signs were sold proclaiming “Support Armed Resistence [sic] in Iraq and Everywhere,” next to tomes of Marx, Trotsky and Che Guevara. A student marcher carried a sign saying “Long Live Fallujah,” and another held a Bush effigy aloft on a noose.
Bazian is an outspoken anti-Zionist. In May 2002 he was the sole speaker at a two-day Middle Eastern “cultural assembly” at San Francisco’s George Washington High School -- an event whose rhetoric was so inflammatory that it generated formal letters of apology from the school administration to the public. The proceedings featured, for instance, a student singing a rap song comparing Zionists to Nazis while other students paraded with Palestinian flags in the background.
Steven Emerson, in his book American Jihad, quotes Bazian sermonizing at an American Muslim Alliance conference in May 1999, promoting the Islamic State of Palestine. Excerpts from the quote read, “In the Hadith, the Day of Judgment will never happen until you fight the Jews . . . and the stones will say, ‘Oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him!’”
After a 2002 Students for Justice in Palestine rally at UC Berkeley resulted in the arrest of 79 protesters, Bazian spoke at a follow-up rally protesting the arrests. "If you want to know where the pressure on the university [i.e., to prosecute the demonstrators] is coming from, look at the Jewish names on the school buildings," he said.
Denying charges that he is an anti-Semite, Bazian says, “[The charge of] anti-Semitism is used as a means of neutralizing the opposition so the mainstream American public will distance itself from the ‘extremists.’”
In the post-Saddam Hussein era, Bazian has attended numerous Muslim Student Association (MSA) events decrying the war and blaming Israel for American foreign policy decisions. In February 2004 in Montreal, Bazian gave an MSA-sponsored lecture at McGill University titled, “The New American Empire and its Adventures in the Middle East.” In this address, he cited neo-conservative think tanks, “Israel-centric” public officials, the Christian Right, and the oil industry as the four major forces driving American foreign policy. “The New York conservatives wanted to make the Middle East a safe neighborhood,” said Bazian “but not for Arabs; they wanted to make it a safe neighborhood for Israel.”
One of Bazian's more notable colleagues on the UC Berkeley campus is Professor Hamid Algar.