Who is Steven Salaita?

Who is Steven Salaita?

Among the hundreds of emails sent to the University of Illinois in response to the un-hiring of Steven Salaita was one from a former student at Virginia Tech University.

The student recounted the terror that followed the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech.

Salaita was the one professor who was able to keep the student on campus and in school, helping  to turn a terrible experience into something he could face, said UI Professor Robert Warrior, director of the American Indian Studies Program.

"It really spoke about his compassion, his ability to really reach out to (the student) because he knew (he) was suffering. That's the Steven Salaita I've come to know now," said Warrior, who planned to have Salaita teach two courses this fall before recent events derailed the hire.

The anecdote paints a picture of Salaita as an engaging teacher and scholar. Contrast that with the writer who blasted Israel and its supporters this summer with tweets like:

"Zionists, take responsibility: if your dream of an ethnocratic Israel is worth the murder of children, just (expletive) own it already"

"If you're defending #Israel right now, you're an awful human being"

"(Expletive) you, #Israel. And while I'm at it, (expletive) you, too, PA, Sisi, Arab monarchs, Obama, UK, EU, Canada, US Senate, corporate media, and ISIS."

Those tweets caused an uproar among many UI alumni, current students, parents and donors, some of whom threatened to stop financially supporting the university if Salaita joined the faculty. Salaita, his critics have said, is someone who has used his constitutional right to free speech to express hatred, bigotry and aggression.

Because of his tweets, which have been called everything from "unprofessional" to "anti-Semitic," his presence at the UI would polarize campus and exacerbate tensions, people have said. Students would feel threatened in his classroom, others wrote.

But the way the university handled the affair — with administrators writing to Salaita a few weeks before classes were to begin, saying his appointment would not be forwarded to the Board of Trustees for formal approval — also sparked a backlash among many faculty on campus and around the country, who see it as a threat to academic freedom, free speech and unit autonomy.

With the board meeting this week in Urbana, Salaita has yet to speak publicly about the UI's actions, and hasn't tweeted since the job offer was rescinded, except for a brief message of thanks to his supporters.

The News-Gazette tracked down some of his colleagues and asked them to shed some light on the Salaita they know — Salaita the teacher, the scholar and the person behind the tweets. Here's their side to the story.

His bio

According to friends and information posted by Salaita online, he was born in Bluefield, W.Va., the son of a Jordanian father and Palestinian mother who had both emigrated to the United States (his mother via Nicaragua). His mother's parents were forced out of what is now Israel, said Salaita's longtime colleague, J. Kehaulani Kauanui, professor of American Studies and anthropology at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

Salaita earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Radford University in Virginia, and then a master's in English, before completing his doctorate in Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma in 2003. It was there he met Warrior. Salaita's primary focus was Native American literature but he also studied Palestinian and Arab-American literature.

He then taught American and ethnic American literature at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater until 2006, when he was hired by Virginia Tech's English Department. He earned tenure three years later, teaching English and writing about Arab-Americans, Indigenous peoples, race and ethnicity, and literature.

In an item for the English Department newsletter in 2006, Prof. Virginia Fowler said Salaita's writing reflected his parents' immigrant experience, with "themes of immigration, American-ness, dislocation, cultural multiplicity, xenophobia and racialization."

Salaita is married, with a young son, and a "half-blind bichon frise" and a "nutty orange tabby," according to a bio on his personal website. He's also an avid bike rider.

'Prolific scholar'

Critics have questioned why an academic who has written so much on Israel and Arab American literature would be hired by American Indian Studies.

Kauanui and others said those critics are missing a huge aspect of his work. Salaita is a comparative scholar, Kauanui said, and the field itself is changing.

American Indian Studies wants to broaden its framework, comparing the Native American experience to that of other indigenous people around the globe, Kauanui said, The UI program, in fact, has hired scholars who focus on Native issues in Guam and the Pacific islands, she said.

Salaita has done research on Native North America, she said, and his training is in Native American studies. His early work focused on comparing colonialism by settlers in North America to those in Israel and the occupied territories. His 2006 book "The Holy Land in Transit: Colonialism and the Quest of Canaan," based on his doctoral dissertation, examines how settlers in the Holy Land and the Americas used a "theological narrative to justify their occupation of foreign lands," she said. "It's a path-breaking book."

Salaita has also written extensively in the broader field of American Studies, including in the public sphere, not just academia, she said.

"Most people when they get tenure have one book. This man has six books," Kauanui said. "He's a standup person, he's an ethical person, and he's a brilliant, prolific scholar," she said.

Kauanui met Salaita in April 2007 when he spoke at an international conference on Native American and Indigenous Studies in Norman, Okla. The conference led to the founding of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association by Kauanui, Warrior and several others, she said.

Kauanui — an expert on Hawaiian history, sovereignty and nationalism — has invited Salaita to speak on several panels and her radio show and said he's a compelling public speaker.

"He's very open. He really knows how to draw people in," she said. "He's funny. He's warm and he's very humorous. He is somebody I wish I could work with at a university."

The teacher

In his cover letter to the UI, Salaita said he has been the subject of six excellent peer reviews and has finished in the top 10 percent of the department every semester in his student evaluations, averaging a rating of 3.95 on 4.0 scale.

He received high marks on websites that invite students to anonymously rate their professors. Of the 16 reviews on koofers.com, he was rated at 4.5 stars out of five.

A Virginia Tech English student last year called him "super friendly, very engaging, hilarious."

"You feel less like you're in a class and more like you're at a book club and having enjoyable, intelligent literary discussion without having to worry about anyone disagreeing with your views or grading you on what you say," the student wrote.

In 2011, a Virginia Tech student who took his "Renaissance Revenge Tragedy" class said Salaita is "not afraid to argue his views but he'll also never make you feel unwelcome for giving your own. His tangents are amazing, and you'll find yourself with so many new ways of looking at the world you might just explode. Plus ... it was easy as hell."

Other comments also noted that the class was easy, or that he canceled class or dismissed early fairly often.

Sarah Schaefer, a graduate student and teaching assistant at Virginia Tech, said her introductory literary research class with Salaita last fall was certainly less "stressful" than some of her other graduate courses.

But part of it was that he always helped students whenever he could, she said, especially if they were serious about the topic.

"I don't know of anybody who didn't like him," she said, adding that he took all the students out to dinner on the last day of class.

In a testimonial for the supportstevensalaita.com website, Schaefer dismissed the idea that Salaita would stifle discussion in his classes or make students of other backgrounds uncomfortable.

"There was never a moment where he was inflicting his opinions about anything in a way that would have made anyone uncomfortable," Schaefer told The News-Gazette Friday.

He made students feel as though their opinions matter — something that can't be said of most professors, she said.

"Dr. Salaita always encouraged us to express our opinions, to share our thoughts or concerns, and to challenge each other — but never once did he do so in such a way as to create a 'hostile' environment, to use Chancellor (Phyllis) Wise's words," she wrote for the website.

She hasn't heard from him, other than an email he sent after she submitted her statement. Schaefer and two other graduate students are now in his old office at Virginia Tech; the voicemail still has his name on it.

Boycott of Israel

In late 2008, Salaita co-founded the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, building on a broader Palestinian movement known as BDS — Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions — to end "Israeli apartheid."

Several years later, he worked with Kauanui on an academic boycott resolution for the American Studies Association, a group of almost 5,000 scholars from multiple disciplines — literature, history, sociology, culture and politics.

That propelled the boycott issue into the headlines, and Salaita wrote numerous editorials tracking the reaction against it, raising his public profile on the issue among supporters of Israel.

Last December, Wise issued a statement saying the university opposes the boycott of Israeli academic institutions and it values academic freedom as one of its core principles, stressing "the critical importance of the ability of faculty to pursue learning, discovery and engagement without regard to political considerations."

"Our institution opposes any efforts to limit the ability of our faculty to work with scholars from other institutions around the world, and we encourage such connections, as collaboration is one of our core values in the pursuit of knowledge," she wrote.

Stanford University professor David Palumbo-Liu has known Salaita for about a year via their work together on issues related to Israel-Palestine and ethnic studies. He, too, has supported the BDS movement.

Like many other comparative literature scholars, Palumbo-Liu has closely followed the UI case and written in support of Salaita. He's read all of Salaita's six books and called him a "brilliant, highly-prolific scholar."

"There is no doubt that Salaita's writing is controversial — it would be hard for any serious scholarship on these topics not to be. But it is by no means haphazard or ideologically rigid and demagogic," Palumbo-Liu wrote in a statement emailed to The News-Gazette. "On the contrary, it is passionately moral — it wrestles with this topic in a telling way. He is a committed intellectual, perhaps even more than he is a committed activist. Indeed, one could rightfully say that his feels activism must first always be intellectually responsible."

Tweets 'satirical'

Kauanui has no problem with Salaita's tweets, saying they reflect "a Palestinian responding to Israeli brutality. He was speaking out on a private Twitter (account) about a very international war that's happening because of an illegal occupation."

"If you look at it from beginning to end, he's actually writing about the death of children," she said.

His tweets were satirical, and that's hard for a casual reader to see, she said.

If you read the tweets before the Gaza war broke out you can see his "very, very satirical" sense of humor, she said.

She rejected critics' description of the tweets as anti-Semitic or racist. One in particular that caused concern read, "Zionists: transforming "antisemitism" from something horrible into something honorable since 1948."

His defenders argued that he was pointing out that Zionists equate any criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. They note his follow-up tweet that said Zionists "cheapen" anti-Semitism by "likening it to principled stands against state violence."

"He's anti-racist. He has called out anti-Semitism repeatedly. ... He's a principled, principled person," Kauanui said.

In another tweet, Salaita wrote, "It's a beautiful thing to see our Jewish brothers and sisters around the world deploring #Israel's brutality in #Gaza." And "#ISupportGaza because I believe that Jewish and Arab children are equal in the eyes of God."

"I know him to be a humane person. To characterize him as angry and loathsome is absurd," said David Lloyd, an English professor at University of California-Riverside who has worked alongside Salaita in the boycott movement. He also has discussed Salaita's book, "Israel's Dead Soul," in his classes.

What sets Salaita apart from other scholars is he knows how to move between all kinds of popular media, something universities have increasingly encouraged faculty to do, he said. (Salaita not only has written essays for academic journals, but also for websites like salon.com.)

But some people in academia have yet to understand what Salaita gets: Twitter is not for writing final and definitive statements, Lloyd said.

"It's about generating conversation. That's the practice he engages in. You know it works because of the connectivity it generates. It's dialogical, not monological. This is an extraordinarily inventive scholar. He's using the brief message as a kind of intellectual shock to break through the platitudes about Israel," Lloyd said.

Salaita has been no stranger to controversy, especially when writing for general audiences. While at Virginia Tech, he wrote an essay for Salon about the overuse of the phrase "support the troops." It also created quite the backlash and angered some Tech faculty who didn't like how university officials appeared to distance themselves from Salaita after the essay's publication.

In a follow-up essay in Salon about the piece and the responses he received from it, Salaita wrote, "The first rule for any serious writer is to agitate the contentious and embrace the disreputable."

This story has been updated to correct the reference to the Virginia Tech student in the first paragraph.

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EdRyan wrote on September 07, 2014 at 8:09 am

And that's it?  That's all there is?  He was unhired because of that?  Clearly a hit job by a bunch of bought off politcal hacks.

He's going to be an independent scholar now with a nice endowment provided by the UI.

 

sgdavis wrote on September 07, 2014 at 9:09 am

Thanks for a fair article, Christine des Garennes and Julie Wurth.

Salaita was clearly fired (or de-hired) because of his political views and his political speech as a citizen.  This goes against the Constitution, the University's own statutes, and the principles of the American Association of University Professors and the accrediting agencies that review UIUC.  This is why so many thousands of scholars, including Constitutional law professors from around the country and the world see this as a very dangerous precedent, and have written to the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees expressing grave concern for academic freedom.

Scientists I've been speaking with lately seem to think this couldn't possibly happen to them because they are scientists ---  I think they are wrong.  Is your research in Climate science? Environmental Science? Renewable energy? Pollution? Epidemiology? Toxics and public health?  What if a corporate donor doesn't want your perspective represented at a university?  Are you sure this University will protect your right to research, educate,  and speak as a citizen?

EdRyan wrote on September 07, 2014 at 9:09 am

Much of the Ag related research at the U of I and Purdue comes from globa mega corporate ag industry. So probably a third rail there lurking under all those corn and soybean test plots and the ag research barns.  

45solte wrote on September 07, 2014 at 10:09 am

Ya. Climate science. No corruption there among researchers to continue to ride the gravy train of government funding. Woo woo!


http://www.globalclimatescam.com/category/socialism/  


http://www.cfact.org/2014/06/25/climate-change-less-of-a-scientific-agenda-and-more-of-a-political-agenda/

max_zilla wrote on September 07, 2014 at 11:09 am
Profile Picture

I followed your links out of interest, and did some other research Found that cfact is a conservative think tank which receives funding from ExxonMobil and Chevron.

"CFACT's 2011 financial disclosure form reveals that it received over $300,000 from Donor's Trust, an anonymously funded group that PBS called the "number one supporter of the groups" that deny climate change. It lists Morano as the highest paid member of its staff at a salary of over $150,000 a year."

Don't whine about corruption and bias when you're eating right out of the hands of the very groups that are financially incented to deny climate change. You're riding a gravy train of your own - confirmation bias.

45solte wrote on September 07, 2014 at 12:09 pm

And the scientific 'proof' scandals involving corporations are where? What corporations have had climate 'scientists' whithold, 'fake,' etc. data to suit the global warming/climate change/climate science narrative? You implied Exxon did, yet, Exxon lobbied the government for EPA regulation of CO2 (it can be big 'business'--whether you're Al Gore or Exxon). You suggest confirmation bias yet cite PBS. Interesting.


https://illuminutti.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/al_gore_climate_change_600px.jpg


 

syzlack wrote on September 07, 2014 at 9:09 am

No, the reason he was unhired was obviously due to the financial and poitical power of the Zionist state and it's fifth column stooges within the university like Cary Nelson.....oops, that was uncivil.  There goes my chance for work at Illinois.  Seriously though it does point to a really big problem in American political life, the fear of the right-wing Israel lobby, and it points to the ongoing stench of corruption that has long wafted from the U of I.  Just own it Illinois.

EdRyan wrote on September 07, 2014 at 9:09 am

That pretty much nails it.

Much of the trouble at the top at the U of I comes from the switch from an elected B.O.T. to a B.O.T. appointed by the governor.  Ever since that came about it has been a downhill slide.  That sour stench of corruption that hangs over Illinois politics like the fog on a cool wet morning.

45solte wrote on September 07, 2014 at 9:09 am

 


Steven Salaita @stevesalaita

'You may be too refined to say it, but I'm not: I wish all the f***ing West Bank settlers would go missing.'


8:59 PM - 19 Jun 2014

Championing the cause of safety for ALL with a scholarly brilliance, unparalled so, that most cannot detect it cloaked within his very words. The 'satire' in his above tweet is particularly amazing given that the missing Israeli teens were assumed to be dead at that point (a week post-kidnap).  


'...passionately moral...wrestles with this topic in a telling [indeed!] way...'.says Harvard's Palumbo-Liu' "I know him to be a humane person. To characterize him as angry and loathsome is absurd," said David Lloyd, an English professor at University of California-Riverside who has worked alongside Salaita in the boycott movement.' 'He has called out anti-Semitism repeatedly. ... He's a principled, principled person," Kauanui said.'


In another tweet, Salaita wrote, "It's a beautiful thing to see our Jewish brothers and sisters around the world deploring #Israel's brutality in #Gaza." And "#ISupportGaza because I believe that Jewish and Arab children are equal in the eyes of God." So, which is it? Why would you wish Jewish kids on the west bank to 'go missing' (arguably be dead, given the circumstances at the time) when you don't wish that for Arab children?


You know, the double-standard of some academics is, at best, comical. Boycott boycott boycott when in alignment with one's views. But, when not in alignment with one's views, a free speech cause it becomes.


I wonder if Mr. Salaita resents the 'blind' supporters of the 'free speech' slogan 'supporters.' 'Blind' support of the 'support the  troops' slogan in America was quite bothersome to him. http://www.salon.com/topic/support_the_troops/

rsp wrote on September 07, 2014 at 10:09 am

Do you "support the troops"? The ones who were sent into battle without equipment, without body armor? The same troops who have to wait to get medical care? Have funding cut for disability benifits unless it's an election year. Commit suicide at higher rates than ever before. Are living on the streets, homeless. Do you "support our troops"? A phrase that is more about selling things to the public including war than it is about helping to provide for the soldiers in our ranks. "Support our troops" even helped pass a tax break, didn't it? How in hell did that help them? What did you give up for them? What were any of us expected to give up? Bush said to go shop, be self-indulgent. It was an ad campaign.

45solte wrote on September 07, 2014 at 11:09 am

'Do you "support the troops"? The ones who were sent into battle without equipment, without body armor? The same troops who have to wait to get medical care? Have funding cut for disability benifits unless it's an election year. Commit suicide at higher rates than ever before. Are living on the streets, homeless. Do you "support our troops"?'


Yes, I do.

rsp wrote on September 08, 2014 at 6:09 am

How? Throwing out three words? Buying stuff that you don't need that just enriches some corporation? Just because they use the slogan? It's a slogan. You support slogans? What about homeless people? A lot of them are veterans do you support them? They don't have a slogan and an ad campaign.

45solte wrote on September 08, 2014 at 8:09 am

I help real live people. Why is that seemingly difficult for you to understand? Because it doesn't 'fit' your narrative???

ChampionSparkPlug wrote on September 07, 2014 at 11:09 am

I wonder whether the comment that his grandparents were forced out of Israel may be deceptively too simple.  The suggestion is that Israel, locked in a life or death struggle with the invading armies of six Arab nations trying to "push the Jews into the sea", forced them out.  The record, and abundant scholarship, says that while Israel forced some Palestinians out of their homes and villages and savaged the Village of Deir Yassin, most Palestinians who became refugees did so because they followed the call of the Arab League and religious leaders to leave.  They were told their refugee status would be temporary, that they would return home after the Jews were pushed into the sea.  Zionist leaders asked Palestinians to stay.  Some Palestinians who stayed were murdered by other Palestinians, accused of collaborating with the Zionists (Hamas' execution of "collaborators" in Gaza is nothing new).  Faced with such a fate, many Palestinians heeded the call of the Arab League and their Imans.  Pretty complicated situation.  Those Arab nations that attacked the nascent State of Israel used the Palestinians as pawns from the beginning.  That refugee camps still exist 66+ years later [where else in the world are their refugee camps in any way rivaling the tenure of these camps] is further evidence that the Arab states have been quite happy using the Palestinians as pawns; alleviating their camp-bound misery has not been their major concern, except in their rhetoric and use as symbols to distract their own peoples from the misery their own governments were inflicting on them.  Is Salaita among those working to get to a two-state-solution or even peace between Israel and Palestinians?  The public record he has created suggests he supports the original 1948 Arab initiative relative to "Jews and the Mediterranean Sea". 

Esteve wrote on September 07, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Thanks for that CSP. I was hoping someone would bring that up. I'd only add that there were a few communities in which the Israelis actively expelled the inhabitants. I remember reading about — maybe 2? 3?  It's very sad how these people have been used.

EdRyan wrote on September 07, 2014 at 11:09 am

The actions of the State of Israel are clear indicator of what would have happened to Palestinians who didn't leave.  People around the world have been cleared off their land by colonizers since, well, all human history I suppose.  So, those who saw what was coming left.  Salaita is just so bold as to make the connection between what has happened to the Palestinians and what happened to First Peoples/Native Americans here.  At least the European settlers arriving in Palestine didn't bring a smallpox epidemic with them.

45solte wrote on September 07, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Israel could decimate Gaza. But, they don't. Why do you think that is? Because they're so murderous? What the heck are chants of 'free Palestine' (of Jews) other than a call for genocide of Jews in Israel. This is the charter of Hamas. This is what Palestinian supporters call for when they hold their 'free Palestine' placards during demonstrations. Sickening. 'Never again' or something.

EdRyan wrote on September 07, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Well, the ethnic cleansing may take some time.  Over the last few rounds of attacks the Palestinians living in Gaza are feeling well decimated.  People will get tired of their children and families being slaughtered and perhaps move on to Europe of the US.  But people who stay behind are going to have quite a reservoir of hate.  The demographics are clearly on the side of the Palestinians both in Palestine and here in the US.

45solte wrote on September 08, 2014 at 9:09 am
b_tohami wrote on September 09, 2014 at 2:09 am

"Well, the ethnic cleansing may take some time." 

First:

There are almost 2 million people in gaza trip. this means that Israel has to go on about 1000 operations like the last one to "cleanse" Gaza as you say. since this operations seem to occur every 2-3 years, Israel has to do it for 2000-3000 years to commit what you're claiming they do.

For decimation (which means killing tenth of the population) they have to keep at it for 200-300 years. 

So yeah, to call it ethnical cleansing you'll have to wait some time. 

 

Second:

The numbers are such that even if you look at the last conflict in Gaza (with the highest number of causalities so far) Israel did not kill more civilians\children than western armies in urban warfare. Believe it or not wars are not as controlled and strile as you see in the movies. specialy not in urban warfare. Just look at wikipedia. For example the battle of Basra 2003, hundreds of Iraquies dead, mostly civilians, and  11 British soldiers dead. So if you want to claim that Israel is murderous keep in mind that it is less so than the states and Britain.

 

Which ever way you look at it , the numbers don't indicate anything close to genicide.

But then again, when could numbers ever compete with predjudice?

 

 

syzlack wrote on September 07, 2014 at 12:09 pm

This story is rubbish, but useful to the racist colonial settler state that is modern Israel. It is a shame som many people believe it.  One would do well to read the work of the renowned Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, particularly his "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine."  He cites forced explusions from some 500 arab villages, not two or three, and clearly shows that the forced expulsions combined with the many terrorist attacks by Jewish militias on civilians was part of a plan from the beginning to eliminate Palestine and its people.

former Pike SMC wrote on September 10, 2014 at 2:09 am

yeah....right...keep listening to Al-Jazeera!

 

Rocky7 wrote on September 07, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Frankly speaking, this article seems to be nothing more than propaganda on behalf of Salaita regarding his problems with the UofI administration. The goal here seems to be to continue and extend a controvery that seemed to be dying down and go away.  Why revive it?

ilmsff7 wrote on September 07, 2014 at 3:09 pm

For someone who is described as so nice, affirming, and positive, he certainly wants to (expletive) many people and institutions.

EqDoc wrote on September 07, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Fair article?  Are you kidding me?  Where is the investigation as to why Virginia didn't offer a retention package or why they won't let him back on campus to have his old job back?  If all you did was interview his buddies, of course your going to get a rosie picture.  The news-gazette's anti U of I team is at it again, stir up the controversy to sell papers...

Timewilltell wrote on September 07, 2014 at 8:09 pm

The sound is the sloshing of the bedpan as it is being carried out the door. This creates a lot of niggling questions that when answered (and they will be) may not look so good for anyone involved in this. It is insulting to have the violent anti-Semitic twitter fed dismissed as satire—come on. People are supposed to believe that after a “nationwide search” the best candidate they could turn up was Steven Salaita who just “happened” to have Robert Warrior as head of his dissertation committee in Oklahoma, small world. Okie dokey and then they both just “happen” to be in BDS and yeah sure Salaita is an expert on what? Me think not. But nice try—Yes the best a student can say is “easy as hell.” I bet he was. Has anybody requested the documentation surrounding the search, the responses, the candidates and the interview process? This can be done through the freedom of information act.  I am sure that will be telling. There seem to be quite a few questions—who applied for the position? Who else was interviewed on campus? How many applicants? He has no credentials in English past an MA, he has none to qualify him as an expert in Native American Studies and none in Israeli culture—oh yeah his mother really? This dog don’t hunt because it is lifting its leg.  Try again. The taxpayer is getting played for the fool and some unqualified unhinged anti-semtic blowhard is riding a gravy train to the tune of 85K a year. The corruption that suggests is staggering. Good on Phyllis Wise and Cary Nelson—the only two people with a shred of intergrity.

“his doctoral dissertation, examines how settlers in the Holy Land and the Americas used a "theological narrative to justify their occupation of foreign lands," she said. "It's a path-breaking book."

 

Jews have been on that land for a few thousand years. How would he know what they used because he does not know any Hebrew or Yiddish, or Hungarian? Oh the other anti-Semitic scholars told him so perhaps he channels Gobbels for propaganda. By the way just so people know—Zionism is a secular ideology and in fact at odds with large portions of theology. But what does that matter—Herr ignorance Salaita says otherwise These people are so anti-intellectual, anti-freedom and toxic. No, he should never be given a position at UICU—ever.

 

Bill Michtom wrote on September 08, 2014 at 12:09 am

Any Jew who took exception to Steven Salaita's tweets was, apparently, not paying attention during the Passover Seder, the celebration of Exodus, fleeing slavery in Egypt.

Toward the end of the Seder, we are told that Jews should think of ourselves as having personally come out of slavery; that no one is free until everyone is free; and that Jews have an obligation to work for that universal freedom.

Anyone who takes that upon himself would have no problem with anything that Prof. Salaita said. Rather, a Jew should welcome that attitude--should have it him or herself.

To personally come out of slavery should be to identify with the oppressed. To be obligated to work for universal freedom should be to work for freedom and equality for Palestinians, not for their continued oppression.

The "Jewish" donors who complained about Salaita's tweets need to seriously re-examine their commitment to Judaism.

45solte wrote on September 08, 2014 at 8:09 am

They probably are opposed to the oppression of Palestinians by Hamas.


http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2014/07/so-you-want-proof-hamas-uses-civilians.html

former Pike SMC wrote on September 10, 2014 at 2:09 am

Wishing every West Bank Settler would disappear.?  Addressing every pro Israeli as terrible people?  I guess I need to reevaluate my commitment to Judaism!

jasmin wrote on September 08, 2014 at 11:09 am

Twitter is not for writing final and definitive statements, Lloyd said.
"It's about generating conversation. That's the practice he engages in. You know it works because of the connectivity it generates. It's dialogical, not monological.

I think not. Not in Salaita's case. He blocked tweeters who did not agree with him, calling them Zio trolls.
Lloyd is being disingenuous in his defense of Salaita. It is clear from his tweets that he was not interested in conversation but in imposing his views on everyone around him. Calling Zionists awefull human beings is it exactly an invitation to dialogue.

mattd149 wrote on September 12, 2014 at 2:09 am

Im lost here now how was he treated unconstitutionaly?

 

He used his freedom of speech and the university used their freedom of choice to offer a job.  This is no different than any other citizen that posts on social media.  The government is not going after him for his tweets.