Israel-bashing Illinois professor won’t be re-hired, trustees vote

The campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Credit: Herbert J. Brant via Wikimedia Commons.

( University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) trustees voted on Thursday not to reoffer a position to Steven Salaita, a former Virginia Tech professor of English who had been offered a position at the Illinois school. His job offer was rescinded after he posted anti-Israel tweets that critics also deemed anti-Semitic.

Salaita tweeted Aug. 2, "When will the attack on #Gaza end? What is left for #Israel to prove? Who is left for Israel to kill? This is the logic of genocide." 

"#Israel is rounding up people and murdering them at point-blank range. The word 'genocide' is more germane the more news we hear," he also tweeted.

Due to concern over the tweets, University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise informed Salaita that his appointment to teach in the university's Native American Studies Program would not be submitted to the school's board of directors for approval. 

The decision not to re-issue the offer of employment was passed in an 8-1 vote by the trustees, the Associated Press reported.

The Israel education group StandWithUs applauded the decision by stating that "many scholars have noted that Salaita's tweets about Israel and Jews are deranged, obsessive, sordid, incite violence against Israelis and are racist, characterizing all Israelis stereotypically as smug, greedy, and violent."

"The tweets repeat gutter propaganda about Israel and the recent conflict with Hamas... Yet openness to other viewpoints is a prerequisite for a professor, especially one who would be teaching about the highly contentious Palestinian-Israeli conflict," said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs

“The Salaita issue is not about freedom of speech, academic freedom or the Arab-Israeli conflict," she added. "It is about professional conduct, intellectual standards, and collegiality If faculty members described any other minority group with the vitriolic stereotypes deployed by Mr. Salaita, there would be a universal outcry of protest."

Posted on September 11, 2014 .