Ben Shapiro’s beliefs deeply disturb leftists at Stanford University who not only disagree with the conservative commentator, but don’t even believe he should be allowed to speak on their campus. They even assert that Shapiro (a devout Jew) espouses white supremacist ideology.
The conservative cultural icon delivered a speech at the institution on November 7th but leftists had already registered their opposition before the speech even began, publishing an op-ed that declared, “we do not protest because we are too sensitive to hear opinions we don’t like. We protest because we are strong enough to defend ourselves.”
The op-ed signed by the “Coalition of Concerned Students” expressed exasperation that the university would allow Shapiro to speak on campus and promised protests.
Through a silent protest we will be a unified front. We practice civil disobedience through the refusal to allow Shapiro’s talk to go uninterrupted. We practice nonviolent resistance through a refusal to interact in the inciting ways that white supremacists want us to act. In our protest we will not speak words, but it is not the only form of our protest. With the signs we will hold, this op-ed, and an additional written statement, we provide language and context for our action. At the same time, our action does not need words. We place our bodies directly against this harmful event and these harmful people.
The Coalition’s op-ed claimed that Shapiro incites violence against others and linked his views to the racist ideology of white supremacy.
However, our protest is not about SCR’s right to free speech; it is about the violence that Ben Shapiro’s hateful, dehumanizing ideas incite against members of our community. Many of our lives are the exact ones Shapiro’s hateful speech galvanizes violence against, our bodies the antithesis to his beliefs. Shapiro teaches his white supremacist social media following that Black Americans are disproportionately locked up because of their culture; that people of Arab descent “like to bomb crap and live in open sewage”; that Palestinians need to be subjected to forced population transfer; and that transgender people are inherently “mentally ill.” Shapiro says his beliefs are rooted in facts, not feelings, but there’s not a single fact in sight — only clear and blinding white supremacy.
A flyer advertising a “silent rally” included a picture of what appeared to be a bottle of insecticide called “Ben B Gon” complete with pictures of pests alongside images of Shapiro’s face. As YAF reported, an email later included an apology for the graphic. Though the letter still slammed Shapiro, even accusing him of anti-Semitism:
As a coalition of concerned students that includes Jewish students, we are very sensitive to antisemitism, as well as other forms of white supremacy. We want him off our campus because of his dehumanizing and bigoted beliefsthat specifically target Black, trans, queer, and Muslim communities. We are tired of speakers continually being brought and allowed to speak on campus that continually put marginalized students at risk. We believe in Muslim-Jewish solidarity against Islamaphobia and antisemitism. Therefore, as we call back this flyer and apologize for its antisemitic tropes, we condemn Shapiro’s unwavering Islamaphobia and antisemitism through his belief that only way to be a real Jew is to agree with him and through his strong support of Zionism. We reject Shapiro’s false belief in white western supremacy that he cloaks in the idea of ‘Judeo-Christian Values’ to justify discrimination and violence against Muslims and erase the long history of Christian antisemitism.
A Stanford student penned an op-ed published on November 11th slamming the school for permitting Shapiro to speak on campus. The author referenced “mental anguish among students” as a consequence of Shapiro speaking at Stanford and argued that allowing him to speak “isn’t actually honoring a commitment to free speech”:
By permitting Shapiro to speak his mind, stir controversy on campus and fuel mental anguish among students, Stanford isn’t actually honoring a commitment to free speech. (If that was the case, the University would stop gaslighting Chanel Miller and put up her chosen quote.) Instead, Stanford showed us that earning money, approval and validation from powerful conservative institutions is more important than protecting the diverse body of students that make our school great. Stanford is not taking a principled stand for equal discourse: it is making a cowardly decision to sacrifice students’ well-being because it’s afraid of angering right-wing forces, whose donations and legacy children they cannot live without. And somehow, Stanford still has the audacity to tell me I belong here.
The Stanford College Republicans posted photos showing how people had tampered with posters promoting the event—they noted that “In nearly every dormitory on campus, flyers advertising this event have been vandalized, removed and destroyed by fascist students.” At a later date they posted photos showing that an advertisement they set up for the event was stolen shortly after they set it up and “replaced…with a disgusting statement of slander, suggesting that because Stanford is allowing our conservative speakers on campus, the University and SCR are complicit in “‘racism.’”
Campus Reform noted that chanting protesters interrupted Shapiro’s speech: “During his speech Thursday, Shapiro was interrupted by protesters in the audience who stood up and started chanting “Hey hey! Ho ho! Ben Shapiro has got to go!” Shapiro acknowledged the disruption and asked protesters, ‘are you protesting the part where I’m condemning the nazis?’”
You can watch Shapiro’s full November 7th speech at Stanford below: