(JTA) – Several University of California, Berkeley Jewish student groups called on the university to take action against a lecturer over his antisemitic tweets. In a letter to the university administration, the groups said Berkeley had not gone far enough in addressing the tweets by Hatem Bazian, a lecturer in the Department of Asian American and Asian Diaspora studies. “While we fully support academic freedom and free speech, we believe Bazian’s record is severe enough to warrant more than just condemnation,” said the letter. “We also know that there is a precedent for the removal of non-tenured faculty who promote hate on social media and elsewhere.” The letter was signed by several groups, including Chabad Jewish Student Group at UC Berkeley, Bears for Israel, Berkeley Hillel and Tikvah: Students for Israel, Fox News reported.
Bazian has come under fire for a number of tweets targeting Jews. One tweet that Bazian shared on the social media platform had a picture of a man with sidelocks and a black hat with the message: “Mom, look! I is chosen! I can now kill, rape, smuggle organs and steal the land of Palestinians ‘Yay’ #Ashke-Nazi.”
Another showed an image of North Korea’s leader wearing a yarmulke with the words “God chose me,” and the message: “I just converted all of North Korea to Judaism. Donald Tlump (sic): Now my nukes are legal and I can annex South Korea and you need to start paying me 34 billion a year in welfare.”
Bazian apologized for the tweets in a Facebook message, saying “the image is offensive and does not represent my views or the anti-racist work that I do including fighting anti-Semitism in partnership with progressive Jewish groups that express solidarity with Palestine’s rights to self-determination and have a strong track record on countering Islamophobia.” The university also condemned Bazian, saying the tweet represented “unacceptable anti-Semitism” that “clearly crossed the line.”
But Jewish students believe the university should go further. “While I believe that the university condemning Bazian’s actions is a great first step in combatting this issue, I don’t think enough was done to make sure it does not happen again,” Adah Forer, co-president of Tikvah: Students for Israel, told Fox News. In an op-ed Tuesday in the Berkeley student newspaper, Forer and two other Tikvah leaders called for further action against Bazian. “If universities want to define the lines between hate speech and politics, they need to hold their instructors accountable when they cross the lines,” the students wrote. “Do not sweep this incident up along with all the others. We cannot reward Bazian for this behavior. Bazian must go.”