Born on February 14, 1951 in upstate New York, David Palumbo-Liu earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley in 1988. He then served two years as an assistant professor of English at Georgetown University, and has taught English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University since 1990. Aside from his teaching duties, Palumbo-Liu has been …
Born on February 14, 1951 in upstate New York, David Palumbo-Liu earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley in 1988. He then served two years as an assistant professor of English at Georgetown University, and has taught English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University since 1990.
Aside from his teaching duties, Palumbo-Liu has been a prominent advocate for the Palestinian cause against the state of Israel, a topic which he has addressed in speeches at a number of university campuses and other venues. He is an active supporter of the Hamas-inspired Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and is a member of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. As CanaryMission.org notes, Palumbo-Liu “is extremely active on social media and frequently uses his Twitter and Facebook accounts to promote anti-Israel vitriol and BDS.” He also writes frequently for publications that are critical of Israel, such as Al-Jazeera and Salon.
In a July 23, 2014 tweet, Palumbo-Liu accused Israel of committing “genocidal attacks” against the Palestinians. That same day, he tweeted that “Israel’s aim in killing [Palestinian] children” is to “destroy generations of resistance.” And in a tweet he posted two days later (July 25), Palumbo-Liu likened Israel to Nazi Germany: “Israel: stop telling me the Holocaust story over & over again. Stop the one you’ve created in Gaza.”
Palumbo-Liu has written numerous articles defending anti-Israel Professor Steven Salaita, whom he describes as “a world-renowned scholar of indigenous studies.” When the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) Board of Trustees in 2014 – after learning of a series of anti-Semitic tweets that Salaita had recently posted – rescinded a job offer that it previously had made to Salaita, Palumbo-Liu demanded Salaita’s reinstatement. In an August 2014 article which he wrote for the website Electronic Intifada, Palumbo-Liu claimed that the University had buckled to pressure from an organized letter-writing campaign by “outside Zionist groups.”
In October 2015, Palumbo-Liu wrote an article justifying Palestinian terrorism as a legitimate “response to an on-going campaign to desecrate and destroy holy sites that anchor non-Jewish peoples to their faiths.”
In January 2016 at UC Irvine, Palumbo-Liu spoke at a seminar on the issue of freedom-of-expression. This event was organized largely in response to a recent attack wherein a pair of jihadists in Paris, angered by what they perceived as anti-Islamic commentary in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, had shot and killed 12 people associated with that publication. In his remarks, Palumbo-Liu claimed that “external forces” were stifling criticism of Israel on campuses across the United States. He also falsely charged that the U.S. State Department classified any and all criticism of Israel as “anti-Semitism.”
Palumbo-Liu belongs to the Modern Language Association (MLA) and its “Members for Justice in Palestine” subgroup, a pro-BDS entity. At MLA’s annual convention in January 2016, Palumbo-Liu posted tweets promoting events and materials which advocated for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. In 2017, Palumbo-Liu and UC Berkeley professor Judith Butler together led an attempt to persuade MLA to endorse BDS. This effort was ultimately voted down by MLA in June 2017. On January 1, 2018, Palumbo-Liu and NYU Professor Lenora Hanson together wrote an angry letter of resignation from the MLA Executive Council, complaining about “the manner in which the … Council [had] handled the anti-boycott resolution.”
In an April 2016 article in Salon, Palumbo-Liu wrote that “the [Israeli] Occupation is illegal by international law”; that it “violates human rights”; and that “it’s the only continuous, ongoing project of colonization in the world.”
In May 2016, Palumbo-Liu condemned the Israeli military for arresting Imad Ahmad Barghouthi, an astrophysics professor at Al-Quds University, as “part of a broader pattern of disruption and suppression of Palestinian educational systems.” In his remarks, Palumbo-Liu did not mention that Barghouti was a Hamas supporter who for years had been actively inciting violence against Israel.
In April 2017, Palumbo-Liu and Purdue University Professor Bill Mullen co-founded the Campus Antifascist Network (CAN), an organization that is allied with Antifa, a revolutionary Marxist/anarchist militia movement that uses “mass counter-mobilizations and broad-based coalitions” to “stem the rise of fascism,” which, according to the Network, is often “disguised as ‘free speech.’”
For additional information on David Palumbo-Liu, click here.
Further Reading: Biographical information from Palumbo-Liu.com and CanaryMission.org; “Antifa Thugs Find a Champion and Leader in Stanford Professor” (Stanford Review, January 2018); “Letter to Chancellor Wise, Protesting Firing of Steven Salaita” (by David Palumbo-Liu, 8-7-2014); “U.S. Academic Group Overwhelmingly Rejects BDS” (Jerusalem Post, 6-15-2017); “Why We Resigned from the MLA Executive Council” (by David Palumbo-Liu and Lenora Hanson, 1-1-2018); “What’s Behind the Explosions of Violence in Palestine?” (by David Palumbo-Liu, Huffington Post, 10-14-2015); “Brutal, Ugly & Illegal: 9 Things You Need to Know about the Israeli Occupation of Palestine” (by David Palumbo-Liu, Salon, 4-11-2016); “Scientific Stars Join Activists: Noted Palestinian Professor Arrested and Released—Again” (by David Palumbo-Liu, Alternet, 5-28-2016).
- Specifically, he condemned Israel’s allegedly “racist and bigoted” attacks against Gaza mosques during Operation Protective Edge, the Jewish state’s 2014 military response to a dramatic escalation in rocket attacks by Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorists. Yet the professor made no mention of Hamas’s open admission that it had used numerous mosques as military bases during that conflict.
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