Racist Hatemonger Ben Shapiro Not Welcome at Boston University!

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Recently, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), a conservative political group, announced that it has plans to host the notorious racist and misogynist Ben Shapiro, at Boston University. The announcement came as the group was told to cut its audience size and pay for security costs. These measures by the University were supposedly put in place for “security reasons.” However, the University is still open to giving Ben Shapiro a platform, they are simply concerned about their image. The cuts to audience size and security fees are token measure, an attempt to appease students while still allowing Shapiro to come and speak. As students and community members of BU, we stand opposed to the proliferation of hate-speech and we are opposed to the University granting a platform to the disgusting and backwards ideology promoted by Shapiro and his ilk. This is not simply “Shapiro exercising a right to free speech”, but constitute discriminatory hate-speech against whole sections of the population.

Ben Shapiro is a far-right ideologue who has made a litany of bigoted, hateful, false, and inflammatory remarks. From 2012 to 2016, he was Editor-at-large of Brietbart magazine, where he worked closely with Steve Bannon to promote the spread of far-right and openly fascist ideas. He left Brietbart in 2016 and began touring college campuses to promote his bigoted worldview.

Shapiro is a major racist and Islamophobe, as well as an apologist for war crimes committed by the United States and its allies. In 2002, he wrote, “When I see in the newspapers that civilians in Afghanistan or the West Bank were killed by American or Israeli troops, I don't really care. In fact, I would rather that the good guys use the Air Force to kill the bad guys, even if that means some civilians get killed along the way. One American soldier is worth far more than an Afghan civilian.”[1] This sort of racist and colonial logic is used by Shapiro and others to justify the slaughter of civilians, especially Muslims and non-white people. The occupation of Afghanistan is now in its 18th year, and for those 18 years the U.S. has systematically worked to hide information about its own war crimes, according to Amnesty International.[2] The U.S. military has historically committed major atrocities against civilians in its wars and occupations, including the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, in Afghanistan.

War crime apologists like Shapiro rely on racist narratives that American lives are intrinsically more valuable than the lives of Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, or other populations in the so-called “Third World.” This dehumanization of entire groups of people is inexcusable racism and serves to justify the oppression, military occupation, and even genocide of minorities and oppressed people here in the U.S. and abroad. These sort of remarks are clearly a form of hate-speech aimed at inciting and justifying violence against Afghans, Iraqis, and others.

However, these remarks are just the tip of the iceberg. Shapiro has openly called for mass ethnic cleansing. Most notably, he supports the forcible removal of the Palestinian people from Israel and the Palestinian Territories. For example he wrote, “If you believe that the Jewish state has a right to exist, then you must allow Israel to transfer the Palestinians and the Israeli-Arabs from Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Israel proper.”[3] The forcible transfer of an occupied population is defined by the Geneva convention as a war crime and a crime against humanity according to the International Criminal Court, because it entails mass violence against a whole people. Shapiro’s comments are open support for genocide, and clearly constitute a form of hate speech.

Shapiro is also a misogynist, homophobe, and transphobe. He supports the banning and criminalization of abortions even in cases of incest and rape.[4] These arguments deny people the right to make decisions about their own lives and bodies. They perpetuate patriarchy and social, political, and economic inequality for women and LGBTQ+ people. Shapiro has also promoted a slew of homophobic and transphobic statements. He opposed the Supreme Court ruling which overturned the ban on same-sex marriages[5], claimed that gay and lesbian couples were unfit to raise children, and more. Furthermore, he has repeatedly denied the existence of transgender people, saying that being transgender is simply a “mental illness.”[6] It was not so long ago in this country that homosexuality was treated in the same fashion, and these statements serve to perpetuate discrimination and oppression against transgender people. Again, these remarks are not a form of Shapiro “exercising his right to free speech” but rather constitute a form of discriminatory hate-speech aimed at discrediting and disenfranchising whole sections of the population.

The fact that Boston University is willing to give a platform to Shapiro is absolutely disgusting and should be condemned by all students and progressive people. This is not “free speech” or a “free debate of ideas.” Shapiro denies the existence of transgender people, he wants to deny women the right to make decisions over their own bodies, and he has openly advocated for genocide and war crimes. These are all forms of hate speech. Shapiro is a racist, far-right zealot who’s aim is to incite hatred and bigotry on our campus and in the larger society. If Boston University truly cares about being a diverse campus; if they truly care about being a welcoming campus to women, queer people, and non-white people, then they should immediately uninvite Ben Shapiro. If they refuse to do so, then the University is unquestionably providing Shapiro with a platform to spew hate-speech as well as incite violence and discrimination against marginalized sections of BU community.

We Demand that Boston University refuse to allow Ben Shapiro to speak on campus, and we call on all progressive students and community members to take a stand against BU’s decision to provide a platform Ben Shapiro and his hate speech.

NO RACISTS ON CAMPUS!

Signed,

Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism
BU Students for Justice in Palestine
BU Young Democratic Socialists
BU Students for Reproductive Freedom
BU FemCo
BU Students Against Imperialism
BU College Democrats
Hoochie Feminists BU
DivestBU

 

[1] https://townhall.com/columnists/benshapiro/2002/07/25/enemy-civilian-casualties-ok-by-me-n1391583

[2] https://www.thedailybeast.com/obamas-pentagon-covered-up-war-crimes-in-afghanistan-says-amnesty-international

[3] https://townhall.com/columnists/benshapiro/2003/08/27/transfer-is-not-a-dirty-word-n976781

[4] https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/01/is-ben-shapiro-a-conservative-liberals-can-count-on.html

[5] https://www.mediamatters.org/breitbart-news/right-wing-media-respond-nationwide-marriage-equality-we-should-weep-our-country?redirect_source=/research/2015/06/26/right-wing-media-respond-to-nationwide-marriage/204166

[6] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/23/us/ben-shapiro-conservative.html