Stanford and the Hoover Institution

by Gary Fouse

David Palumbo-Liu

Stanford University, like so many others, spent decades building a reputation as a premier academic institution in the United States. And like so many others, its actual worth as an educational center has declined in recent decades due to the usual assortment of left-wing faculty who stress indoctrination over education. One of the shining lights at Stanford, amid the negativity, has been the renowned Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank founded in 1959 by former President Herbert Hoover. Today it boasts people like Condoleeza Rice, Thomas Sowell, and Victor Davis Hanson. Yet predictably, the forces of leftism on campus are challenging the relationship between the Hoover Institution and Stanford. This week’s Stanford Daily, the campus newspaper of Stanford, has an article describing the issue. In September, 100 faculty members signed a letter to the university asking Stanford to re-evaluate its relationship with the Hoover Institution based on their perceived (right-wing) bias.

I am familiar with two of the names on that letter, David Palumbo-Liu, whose signature is at the top, and Joel Beinin. Both are liberal activists chiefly known for their pro-Palestinian activism against the Jewish state of Israel. I myself had the opportunity to see and hear Palumbo-Liu speak at the University of California at Irvine, where I was a part-time teacher, in 2016. Ironically, the topic of the event was freedom of speech in the age of Charlie Hebdo. The event featured several leftist academics who didn’t care much for Charlie Hebdo’s freedom of speech even after several of them had been slaughtered in Paris for publishing Mohammad cartoons. Yet, most of them, including Palumbo-Liu, complained bitterly that they and their fellow-pro-Palestinian student-faculty activists were the victims of a campaign to silence them. (Anybody who visits a college campus will soon see that the pro-Palestinian forces are alive and loud, while it is the pro-Israel activists who have to fear intimidation and disruption of their events, as I can personally attest based on years of first-hand experience.) Suffice to say that Palumbo-Liu has a rather twisted way of thinking when it comes to the question of who should be allowed to express their views and who should not. In contrast, this is the guy who caused a controversy on the Stanford campus in 2018 when he was reportedly acting as front man to give Antifa access to the campus.

But he doesn’t want the Hoover Institution on campus.

Beinin is a Middle East history professor who is another garden variety academic hater of Israel. In this article from Algemeiner (which describes him as a Maoist), we can perhaps understand why he is so opposed to the Hoover Institution. After all, it was founded as a voice against Communism. In addition, he is part of the virtual academic army that always leaps to the defense of whoever claims their right to say whatever they want about Israel is being infringed. That includes people like Rutgers professor Jasbir Puar, who, in 2016, told a Vassar audience that Israel was in the organ-harvesting business.

But he doesn’t want the Hoover Institution on campus.

I know nothing about the other 98 learned professors who have added their names to the aforementioned letter. I would bet an in-depth search would find similar traits among many of them as well as with Palumbo-Liu and Beinen. At any rate, based on what I know about the above two professors, I find it ironic that they would object to the Hoover Institution because they are so “one-sidedly conservative” in their views, when they themselves complain that they themselves are victims of being silenced for their own views.

The word I believe is hypocrisy.


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