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Students for Justice in Palestine founder celebrated by British Labour’s Corbyn at book event

British Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn is known for his friendliness with the Palestinian cause, so perhaps it wasn’t a surprise to see him posing with the founder of a virulently anti-Israel student group.

The Algemeiner reports that Corbyn attended a London book signing Wednesday for Hatem Bazian’s latest work, Palestine … it is something colonial, which argues the Israel-Palestine dispute should be seen “through the lens of settler colonialism.”

Bazian not only founded Students for Justice in Palestine, whose chapters sometimes clash with administrators and Jewish students, but he’s a senior lecturer at the University of California-Berkeley and helped found America’s only accredited Muslim college, California’s Zaytuna.

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He is also faculty sponsor for a student-taught class on “settler colonialism” at Berkeley that was briefly halted after critics said it promoted the elimination of Israel.

A photo of Corbyn standing side-by-side with Bazian that was used to illustrate The Algemeiner report does not appear on the Flickr page for the event, which was hosted by the Islamic Human Rights Commission.

That photo of the two was included in an email blast Thursday by the pro-Israel watchdog group Canary Mission, which was the source of the Algemeiner report. Corbyn and Bazian appear together in two commission-posted photos, but not in the same intimate pose.

Canary Mission said in its email:

The fact that Britain’s opposition leader took the time to attend Bazian’s event and show solidarity with one of the most notorious fathers of anti-Israel agitation in academia indicates that Bazian’s influence is increasing. … As an activist professor at UC Berkeley, Dr. Bazian was the intellectual pioneer who perfected the technique of co-opting the values of the left for the purpose of demonizing Israel in the minds of an entire generation of progressive students. …

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As the UK’s opposition leader, Corbyn’s schedule must undoubtedly be overwhelming. The fact that he took the time for such a display of solidarity with Bazian indicates that he views the “Israel issue” as central to his foreign policy agenda.

According to the commission’s event page, the book calls Palestine “the last settler colonial project to be commissioned in the late 19th early 20th centuries and still unfolding as we enter into the 21st Century”:

Zionism settler colonialism has salient features such as the normative deployment violence, religious justification, having a garrison state to sponsor it, transforming the land and geography and constituting a new colonial epistemology related to it as well as the expulsion and negating the existence of an indigenous population. The book offers a theoretical basis for approaching Palestine as a subject without falling into pitfalls of an internationally supported ‘peace process’ that on the one hand affirms the settler colonial rights, problematizes the colonialized and dispenses with the ramifications.

Corbyn refused to retract a statement in which he called Hamas and Hezbollah “friends” and is accused of failing to “properly address rampant Jew-hatred and antisemitic anti-Zionism within his own party,” according to The Algemeiner.

Read the report and Canary Mission email.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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