Is the firing of Steven Salaita the beginning of a new Blacklist?

Israel/Palestine
Steven Salaita

Steven Salaita

Steven Salaita, an Arab-American Professor of American Indian Studies, was just fired from his job for tweeting criticisms of the Israeli massacre in Gaza.

The University of Illinois, which fired Salaita, will try to tell you his job was ‘rescinded.’

But he was fired.

Here’s why the University and mainstream media don’t want to say he was fired.

Because firing a tenured professor purely for his political opinions, especially one with multiple academic publications to his record, means the University has violated the following:

1)     His First amendment rights.

2)     His academic freedom.

3)     His rights as an employee at a public university, as well his rights to due process.

Here’s the single reason why we claim he was fired:  more than one month ago, Steven Salaita signed a contract to work at the University of Illinois.

Approximately three weeks later, he was told he no longer had that job.

That’s  a firing, not a rescission.

This incident signals the following:

—For those of us who have tenure in the academy, it tells us that our private expressions on social media may now outweigh our academic work.

Steven Salaita has published six academic monographs of distinction.  He was in fact hired for his scholarly excellence.  Clearly, his firing had nothing to do with that work. If Salaita’s case is established as precedent, comments we make on our own time can be used by the University to monitor us and ultimately to fire us.

—For those of us who do not have tenure in the academy, or are doing graduate work, Salaita’s case is a clear gag order.  Everyone already knows the high levels of stress and anxiety faced by untenured faculty produced by microlevel monitoring of social and professional behavior.  Salaita’s firing proves that our worst nightmares are true: University administrations are keeping track of what we do and say, even outside of work.

—Salaita’s case also has specific implications for faculty of color and minority faculty.   Cary Nelson, a past president of the American Association of University Professors, has charged that Salaita’s social media expressions fail some standard of “civility” and “collegiality.”

These terms are typically used to deny tenure and promotion to women and minority faculty.

As we all know, professors as a social group (including Professor Cary Nelson) are rarely known for their social graces.  Using language of “incivility” is clearly a signal that some ‘some groups’ lack the right ‘cultural grooming’ to join the academic club.

Anstup Basu, a faculty member in the Department of English at UIUC, and a colleague of Cary Nelson, told us:

[As regards] the nebulous charges pertaining to ‘civility’ and ‘tone.’ Who decides such standards and protocols in the public sphere? Like all of us, Salaita publishes his excellent academic work following the language games of the academy. But when it comes to his extramural presence in the wider public sphere, who are we to institutionally determine what language he should use and what tone? How can it be the University of Illinois’ or anyone else’s business to judge and police it? I therefore strongly feel that such charges of ‘uncivility’ begin from a patronizing position of majoritarian power, particularly because the issue at hand is one of colonial occupation and apartheid.

As we know, we have a long history of voices from margins being silenced and condemned by those in power precisely on the grounds of civility, propriety of language, and tone. From Churchill’s complaints about Gandhi’s ‘loincloth’ to relentless patronizing censures of rap lyrics and Black culture, where do we begin, and where exactly do we draw the line?

This is a matter of deep shame for a world class research University. The decision should be revoked immediately and a formal apology issued.

The charges of anti-Semitism that are always raised when we stand against the state of Israel, also does not work in the Salaita case.  Michael Rothberg is the Head of the Department of English at UIUC and the Director of the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies.  He has made the following public statement in support of Salaita:

I have reviewed a large number of tweets sent by Professor Salaita during recent weeks. While I understand that they are partisan and angry messages—and therefore may be considered controversial—I do not agree that anything written there warrants firing or rescinding an offer that was already promised. Indeed, if academic freedom and the right to free speech do not guarantee controversial and offensive political expression—and especially expression outside the classroom—what are they good for?

Steven Salaita was a tenured Associate Professor who accepted one job and resigned another.  In between, he was fired.  He now has no job, no personal home to live in, and no insurance for his family, including his two year-old son.

The most important political lesson of the Salaita case is this:

that criticizing the crimes of the Israeli state is the new McCarthyism.

Steven Salaita is being fired because, much like suspected Communist sympathy during the Cold War, support for Palestine is the “third rail” of political expression from which Universities continue to retract their professed support for both academic freedom and free speech.

As eminent McCarthyism scholar Ellen Schrecker has written of Cold War anti-Communism:

The academic community was as deeply involved in this process as any other segment of American society. In their willingness to punish the men and women who were fingered by the anticommunist professionals during the first stage of the operation, the nation’s educational leaders differed little from the movie moguls who imposed the Hollywood blacklist or the state and federal bureaucrats who fired people on the word of anonymous informers.

Academic freedom was no protection…it proved to be a highly malleable concept that could be manipulated to justify the exclusion of alleged Communists from the nation’s campuses.

University of Illinois has not just fired Steven Salaita.  It is trying to blacklist him.

His firing is part of an ongoing effort by ally states and their institutional proxies to punish critics of Israel, be it at demonstrations on the streets of London, Paris or Cairo, or in the halls of the University.

Salaita’s case also proves a crucial point of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel: that universities are not ‘neutral venues.’

Indeed, University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise who notified Salaita that he was fired, strongly opposed the American Studies Association vote to boycott Israeli Universities last December.  Steven played a leading role in the ASA boycott campaign and has written extensively about why such a campaign was necessary.

Chancellor Wise and University President Robert Easter, in a public statement, endorsed a statement released by the Association of American Universities that stated “any such boycott of academic institutions directly violates academic freedom…it is a principle that should not be abridged by political considerations.  American colleges and universities…must stand as the first line defense against attacks on academic freedom.”

For Phyllis Wise then, where the interests of the state of Israel are at stake, it is not ok for individuals to boycott institutions, but it is ok for institutions to boycott individuals.

Steven Salaita’s case is a landmark case for our times.  The massive public outpouring of support for a Palestinian scholar and a vocal critic of Israel is unprecedented in this country.  People are leaving angry comments in support of Salaita in the UIUC facebook page. One parent, Leighann Jones, wrote:

I am sending my daughter to you with the expectation that she will receive the best education that we can provide her. I am disheartened to read this afternoon that Chancellor Wise rescinded an offer to hire Steven Salaita based solely on his views of the Israeli attacks on Gaza. My daughter’s first lesson: Keep your mouth shut, or else.

The public outcry has exposed the silencing and intimidation that University administrators and powerful institutions have historically used against people who stand for Palestine.  And we need to keep speaking out.

Steven Salaita must have his job back. Until then our work is not done.[1]

Tithi Bhattacharya is a Professor of South Asian History at Purdue University, a long time activist for Palestinian justice and on the editorial board of the International Socialist Review.

Bill V. Mullen is a Professor of American Studies at Purdue University. He is the author or editor of several books and on the Advisory Board for the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). 

[1] Please sign the petition in support of Steven Salaita.

 

 

About Tithi Bhattacharya

Tithi Bhattacharya is a professor of South Asian History at Purdue University, a long time activist for Palestinian justice and on the editorial board of the International Socialist Review.

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86 Responses

  1. American
    August 11, 2014, 9:00 pm

    ” Indeed, if academic freedom and the right to free speech do not guarantee controversial and offensive political expression—and especially expression outside the classroom—what are they good for?”>>>

    Good for nothing evidently—-thats what I-Firstdom has done in the US.

  2. Jim Holstun
    August 11, 2014, 9:10 pm

    This essay is relevant and interesting
    Finkelstein, Norman G. “Civility and Academic Life.” Works and Days 51/52, 53/54 (2008-9): 291=305. PDF available at http://www.worksanddays.net/2008-9/File13.Finkelstein_011309_FINAL.pdf

  3. jayn0t
    August 11, 2014, 9:47 pm

    Salaita is especially worth supporting because he says more than just leftist cliches about Palestine. He has the audacity to criticize the Lobby, for example, showing how the Anti-Defamation League is a ‘hate group’ according to its own criteria:

    http://electronicintifada.net/content/salaita-skewers-liberalism-israels-dead-soul/10071

  4. Philip Munger
    August 11, 2014, 9:59 pm

    The most important political lesson of the Salaita case is this:

    that criticizing the crimes of the Israeli state is the new McCarthyism.

    I am hoping that the most important political lesson of this case will be that if one hires a competent legal team, the school that breaks the contract gets taken to the cleaners. I am heartened that Prof. Salaita is keeping pretty mum. Good luck, Steve!

    • tokyobk
      August 12, 2014, 7:02 am

      I interpret his silence that way too.

      But does anyone know what the personal social media policy is for the University? I had to sign one recently before teaching one class at a (Western affiliated) college here in Japan and it was pretty strict.

      Several of Salaita’s tweets would have been violations of this particular list.

      It seems his case is strong unless he did sign something of that nature. I wonder also if there had been conversations or warnings before the offer revocation/firing.

      PS Shout out to Bill Mullen for his excellent work: _Afro-Orientalism_, which he co-edited.

      • Mooser
        August 12, 2014, 10:22 am

        “It seems his case is strong unless he did sign something of that nature.”

        Which is being kept secret? He signed a contract which made it possible to rescind his job over immoderate tweets, and nobody mentioned it? The University has forgotten about it?

        Of course, you signed it tokyobk.

      • tokyobk
        August 12, 2014, 5:18 pm

        Yes, I and every other person employed by the university signed it.

        None of us has an aversion to gainful and useful employment, Mooser. This may be offensive to the luftmensch-American community but you can’t please everyone.

        In fact every university has a social media policy now so he did sign something. My question is what does the one he signed looked like and I suspect it will be brought up. I agree that a lot is not being said right now on legal advice.

      • lysias
        August 12, 2014, 5:21 pm

        Even if the University of Illinois has such a policy, would he have had to sign it so far in advance of arriving in Champaign to begin teaching? I don’t recall having had to sign anything when I got a teaching job at Yale until I arrived in New Haven shortly before term began.

      • Mooser
        August 12, 2014, 5:49 pm

        “In fact every university has a social media policy now so he did sign something. “

        Wewll, that takes care of that. I should have known.

      • tokyobk
        August 12, 2014, 6:53 pm

        tbk;“but I do think the paper that HR undoubtedly gave him will be brought up at some point.”

        moos: Undoubtedly. But not yet? They wanna let the pot boild for a while before the present the thing that will get them right off the hook? Okay. Yup, undoubtedly, he signed something.”

        You are not understanding Phillip Munger’s point that there is total silence now because he is lawyering up. And so is the university. This will be an issue in a court case, which is where its going.

        btw Mooser, would you join me in making a pledge to Salaita’s legal effort should there be an online campaign, or are your golden words enough?

      • Annie Robbins
        August 12, 2014, 2:10 pm

        But does anyone know what the personal social media policy is for the University?

        is a public university even allowed to have a policy that contradicts the first amendment?

        I had to sign one recently before teaching one class at a (Western affiliated) college here in Japan

        was it a private or public institution? and if it was public, did it violate rights set forth in japan’s constitution?

      • tokyobk
        August 12, 2014, 5:22 pm

        I think corporations can and do create contracts so they can get rid of people who they feel are damaging their brand. People get fired for personal comments or attitudes.

        It’s private and laws and speech is not protected in the same way in Japan so perhaps the form I signed was stricter. That would not surprise me.

        I think Salaita has a strong case and I would like to see him given his job back, but I do think the paper that HR undoubtedly gave him will be brought up at some point.

      • Mooser
        August 12, 2014, 5:44 pm

        “but I do think the paper that HR undoubtedly gave him will be brought up at some point.”

        Undoubtedly. But not yet? They wanna let the pot boild for a while before the present the thing that will get them right off the hook? Okay. Yup, undoubtedly, he signed something.

      • Mooser
        August 12, 2014, 5:45 pm

        “perhaps the form I signed was stricter.”

        Did you read it?

      • Mooser
        August 12, 2014, 5:47 pm

        “I think corporations can and do create contracts so they can get rid of people”

        I thought we are dealing with a University, not a profit-making corporation, but never mind. If you want to convince yourself that it was a go reason to rescind the job offer, go ahead.

      • Philip Munger
        August 13, 2014, 2:36 am

        Social media policies differ in private, religious-affiliated or state-funded colleges and universities. They are also evolving. If there are universal standards for state-affiliated campuses like the University of Illinois, I am not aware of them.

        In two weeks, I’m starting my 43rd term teaching at a state-affiliated school.

        1. At my first big gig, an outdoor performance in 1995, I flipped off a bunch of bikers from my conducting podium, when they started their engines while we were performing The Star-Spangled Banner. Someone complained to the college director. He told them he would have done the same.

        2. In 1996, I insulted a powerful state legislator by dedicating a piece of music to him that predicted he would end up in jail for corruption. Massive complaints from Rep. Vic Kohring’s avid RWNJ constituents. Once again, the college director stood up for me. The legislator reported to jail in 2007.

        3. In 2004, I insulted the Anchorage Chabad community with my music dedicated to Rachel Corrie. There were numerous calls to have me removed (I am merely a full-time adjunct). The deans stood up for me.

        4. In 2010, I conducted a poll at my blog, asking whether the term “Saint” or “Slut” was more applicable to Sarah Palin. Slut got 85%. My car was vandalized, but the college once again stood by me. The poll was ill-considered, but I was only asked to provide input to a social media working group considering policy revisions or changes, rather than admonished.

        5. My many essays and posts at my own blog, Firedoglake and on Facebook or twitter have sometimes been about as over-the-top as Prof. Salaita’s have been. I have never been called upon to tone them down by my employer.

        That being said, I have been excruciatingly careful in my classrooms to not expose the classes to my ardent views on Palestinian rights. It is impossible to teach cultural history without it being obvious that I am very liberal, but I encourage all viewpoints and urge students to express whatever they can defend.

        I’m ignorant of the stature of the campus in question’s Native American Studies program, but Salaita IS highly regarded. It can be a contentious field, especially at schools with large Native American student bodies, like where I teach. But that hasn’t even entered into this rescission, which is part of what concerns me the most.

        Until we know something about what exposure to the University of Illinois’ social media policy Prof. Salaita has already had to deal with, it is hard to pin this down, but I think he probably has a case. Prof. Nelson should STFU and stop calling Salaita an “anti-Semite” in print at Electronic Intifada. From what I am learning of Salaita’s work, Nelson’s claim should be tried in civil court as a malicious tort against the former.

      • tokyobk
        August 12, 2014, 5:30 pm

        lysias,

        Its a good question and as I said I suspect it will be a relevant question.
        It would be in the HR packet with harassment and privacy etc… Of course if he did sign then that would be an indication that he was fired not had an offer revoked, which would make it much harder for the university to do this.

      • tokyobk
        August 12, 2014, 6:43 pm

        Mooser: “I thought we are dealing with a University, not a profit-making corporation, but never mind. If you want to convince yourself that it was a go reason to rescind the job offer, go ahead.

        Um, except I don’t think it was a good reason to rescind the offer. In fact I think the rescinding was cruel, politically motivated and probably illegal. But, the university policy on private social media use will matter and every university HR department has it in the stack of papers you sign.

        University’s are corporations and while many are state owned and nonprofit structures there is no difference in the case of the urge to protect the brand and the bottom line. You did attend a university, right. My guess was you ran one, or at least chaired a department, right? Department if UNiversal Knowledge Studies would be my guess.

        “‘perhaps the form I signed was stricter.’
        Did you read it?”

        Yes, I read the form I signed. It said in short, don’t say violent, intimidating, libelous or denigrating things. I did not read the form Salaita signed or was going to sign (see lysias’ good point). That is the meaning of ‘perhaps.’

        But I think professors should be especially careful to maintain a decorum and public profile, to the extent they want one, that does not indirectly intimidate students.

        I support Salaita’s complaint because its a free speech issue (and because it is cruel and political) but I prefer the style of other professors, many of them staunch critics of Israel, who have a gravitas that imo is healthier and more productive to the classroom environment and the learning process.

      • Mooser
        August 12, 2014, 7:20 pm

        AH, thanks for making yourself clear, tokyobk, I appreciate that.

        So, as it stands, you think a ‘social media discretion agreement’ (we’ll call it that) in his contract will be brought up, and he’s already signed one, at hiring.

        And I think that if he had already signed such a document, it would have been brought up in the University’s defense immediately.

        You might be right, and we’ll be hearing about it.

    • Giles
      August 12, 2014, 8:16 am

      The fix is almost certainly in. And this is hardly the beginning of a blacklist. It has been in place for some time now. The names Ward Churchill and Norman Finkelstein come to mind.

  5. ActivistGal
    August 11, 2014, 10:15 pm

    Already signed the petition and have sent Chancellor Wise a (polite yet firm) email of complaint asking her to reinstate Salaita with immediate effect.

    This was a great piece, do we have any updates? Glenn Greenwald said on Twitter that there would be more reporting to follow on this. Is he going to be covering it? I hope so.

  6. wes
    August 11, 2014, 10:26 pm

    In a way you could say that you can judge a man by his teeth…..this guys teeth are not bad……..he probably means well
    these days support for the pals is a no brainer.left wing feel good gravy train for politicians
    because
    a negative (the holocaust),gets turned
    into a positive (support for gaza)

    And how can you go wrong with that

    • Mooser
      August 12, 2014, 12:25 am

      “these days support for the pals is a no brainer.left wing feel good gravy train”

      What do you mean by that? Anything? Or are you just trying obnoxiousness hasbara?

      • can of worms
        August 12, 2014, 9:58 am

        Well if you remember, the Zios’ first tactic was, “We can do anything in Gaza; nobody cares about Palestinians.” Then, when that fell off, the tactic shifted to, “The only ones in the world who care are Muslims in London and Berlin, who aren’t worth anything anyway.” By now they’ve had to change it to, “support for the pals is a no brainer.left wing feel good gravy train.”

      • Mooser
        August 12, 2014, 11:20 am

        “By now they’ve had to change it to, “support for the pals is a no brainer.left wing feel good gravy train.”

        Isn’t it amazing? I mean the degree of brain function occlusion in a Ziocaine Syndrome episode? Here we are reading about a guy getting fired from a job for tweets not liked by Zionists, and good ol’ “wes” is nattering about a “gravy train”.

  7. miriam6
    August 11, 2014, 10:26 pm

    Salaita is an appalling hypocrite.

    He supports BDS and its denial of free expression and free association to Israeli academics.
    Now he is throwing a childish tantrum about being denied HIS right to freedom of speech and showing his own hypocrisy and that of the whole pro Boycott Israel bandwagon
    He is merely reaping what he himself has sown.

    http://www.spiked-online.com/freespeechnow/fsn_article/the-brazen-hypocrisy-of-the-bds-crowd#.U-l6De8g_IV

    • jayn0t
      August 11, 2014, 11:56 pm

      Thanks, Miriam, for the link to Spiked Online. They’re an interesting bunch of contrarians. They used to be an “anti-imperialist” group in Britain, highly critical of the rest of the left, often intelligently and sarcastically. Then they turned libertarian.

      The left in Britain is mostly Islamophile. It tolerates some offensive language about Jews among a small minority of Muslims which it opposes among white extremists. The Spiked Online crew see this as another opportunity to criticize the left. However, on this occasion, they are completely wrong.

      • jayn0t
        August 12, 2014, 12:08 am

        It’s not just Steven Salaita’s freedom of speech that’s being curtailed, it’s his livelihood. Israeli academics are not granted freedom of expression by the US constitution, whereas American academics, like Steven Salaita, are.

    • Mooser
      August 12, 2014, 12:28 am

      “He supports BDS and its denial of free expression and free association to Israeli academics.”

      Why should we be forced to associate with them? And they can, when they are boycotted, kvetch as much as they please, nobody in the world could stop Israel from the free expression of kvetch

    • Shingo
      August 12, 2014, 1:07 am

      He supports BDS and its denial of free expression and free association to Israeli academics.

      You’re such an insufferable buffoon Miriam. Do you even understand what the definition if hypocrite is?

      Salaita would be a hypocrite if he was supporting occupation and the massacre of the occupied population.

      Seriously , you need to stop reading Spiked Online crapola .

      • miriam6
        August 12, 2014, 1:03 pm

        Oh dear!

        Poor Shingo does not understand the all important concept of CONTEXT!

        Nowhere in my comment did I mention the occupation nor Salaitas stance on the occupation

        What I DID say was THIS;

        He supports BDS and its denial of free expression and free association to Israeli academics.

        Dictionary definition of hypocrisy;

        1 ) a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.

        2 ) a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.

        3 ) an act or instance of hypocrisy

        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hypocrisy

        Salaita complains that his freedom of speech /association has been denied and yet he supports BDS which is founded on the principle of DENYING freedom of speech/ association to certain academics simply because they are Israeli.

  8. Bob_Salad
    August 11, 2014, 10:49 pm

    Can we not rustle up our own counter, boycott blacklist?

    Hollywood apologists would be a good place to start (Rivers, Schwarzenegger, Voight numerous producers etc).

    • miriam6
      August 12, 2014, 12:06 am

      Can we not rustle up our own counter, boycott blacklist?

      LOL!
      You already have your blacklist!
      It’s called BDS you twerp!

      • Atlantaiconoclast
        August 12, 2014, 10:05 am

        try not to be so nasty Miriam! Your supremacist hood is showing.

      • Mooser
        August 12, 2014, 10:24 am

        “You already have your blacklist!
        It’s called BDS you twerp!”

        You are scared to death of BDS, aren’t you? Good!

      • Pixel
        August 12, 2014, 1:51 pm

        .
        This is just wild.

        They really ARE!!

        All members of my extended family on BOTH sides (Jewish and non-Jewish) downloaded the Buycott app yesterday.

        vive la résistance!

      • ritzl
        August 12, 2014, 2:37 pm

        @Pixel- On Buycott:

        @EMPRESS_I @EchBob No it isn't EI; set up by a Calfornian, who, 'though pro-Israel has not given it a bias for Israel http://t.co/ANNgJYz4G2— Andy Smith (@aplsmith5) August 12, 2014

      • Shingo
        August 12, 2014, 7:27 pm

        You are scared to death of BDS, aren’t you? Good!

        You got it all wrong Mooser. Miriam insists she’s not a Zionist. Just a curious onlooker according to her.

      • Mooser
        August 13, 2014, 12:33 pm

        “You got it all wrong Mooser. Miriam insists she’s not a Zionist. Just a curious onlooker according to her.”

        Oh, she’s Zi-curious? How advanced! How open!

      • Pixel
        August 12, 2014, 1:36 pm

        .
        twerp?? ROTFLMAO

        Miriam, Miriam, Miriam…

      • Bob_Salad
        August 13, 2014, 10:08 am

        The global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005
        http://www.bdsmovement.net/bdsintro

        Doesn’t say anything about the state of Hollywood, Miriam.

        Some may not agree or support the BDS movement, but they may find it objectionable that influential members of the Hollywood establishment can blacklist others for expressing an opinion contrary to their own. Your post suggests that BDS and blacklisting are essentially one and the same. I think there’s a difference.

    • tod77
      August 12, 2014, 9:30 am

      There’s a difference between boycotting an institution and boycotting an individual.
      BDS is very careful only to target institutions.
      Blacklisting an individual because of his views is one step away from behaving like North Korea.
      Always respect others’ opinions, even if they are the complete opposite of your own, and fight for your opponents rights to express those opinions.

      • Mooser
        August 12, 2014, 11:23 am

        “Always respect others’ opinions, even if they are the complete opposite of your own, and fight for your opponents rights to express those opinions.”

        So I should respect the opinions of racists? And the complete amorality of Zionism? I have to fight for their right to express opinions? They’ve got plenty of goddam guns, they can fight for their own “rights”

      • tod77
        August 13, 2014, 4:55 am

        You can do whatever you want, but its a slippery slope.
        Wouldn’t it be better to educate those hollywood producers, and explain to them the error of their ways?
        A lot of people in the states, and elsewhere in the world like to express their opinions, despite not having really gone too deep into the details.
        They read a headline or two, form an opinion and start spewing rhetoric wherever they can.
        It’s true for both sides of the palestine conflict, and for many other conflicts worldwide.
        The situation in the middle east is very complex and you don’t become an expert simply by speaking out loud.
        Look at Iraq – it was easy to speak out against Saddam Hussein and call for american intervention. Was it really that simple?
        I say – people need to understand this. Understand that if you really want to contribute, you need to understand the whole picture, and you don’t get that from your local media…

        Shouting down and boycotting IMHO doesn’t educate – it causes alienation.
        (again – I’m not referring to BDS against Israel, I’m referring to BDS against citizens of your own country)

      • miriam6
        August 12, 2014, 12:27 pm

        tod77

        Sigh..
        And what are institutions made of?
        INDIVIDUALS !

      • Mooser
        August 12, 2014, 2:44 pm

        “And what are institutions made of?
        INDIVIDUALS !”

        So, let me guess, removing the settlers would be “ethnic cleasing” right?

        Don’t worry, when BDS boycotts their institutions, nobody is going to do a fractions, the merest fraction of the things Israel does to Palestinian INDIVIDUALS (Sic.) every day. Okay? They won’t be put “on a diet” or even “in formaldehyde”

      • Shingo
        August 12, 2014, 6:56 pm

        At least make an effort to be less stupid Miriam.

        Individuals are not obliged to represent the institutions that they work for. Academics are not owner by institutions.

      • miriam6
        August 13, 2014, 12:28 am

        Do try to be less idiotic Shingo

        Individuals are not obliged to represent the institutions that they work for. Academics are not owner by institutions.

        Those individuals would be subject to BDS regardless of their political views you chump.
        They would be considered to represent those institutions they work for
        That was what happened with the South African boycotts
        They could be ardent anti Zionists but with Israeli citizenship they would STILL be subject to boycott/blacklists

        So yet again you are wrong and have spectacularly failed to disguise the reactionary character of BDS

      • Shingo
        August 13, 2014, 9:22 am

        Those individuals would be subject to BDS regardless of their political views you chump.

        No they wouldn’t my dear. For example, when the American Studies Association voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions, they explicitly pointed out that Israeli academics themselves were not be subject to the boycott.

        You see Miriam, you go off half cocked every time and make a complete fool of yourself. If I didn’t know you better, I’d swear you do it just to get attentions.

        They would be considered to represent those institutions they work for.

        No, only if they travelled as representatives of those institutions.

        So yet again you are wrong and have spectacularly failed to understand what the hell you are talking about.

        Stay away from Spike Online Miriam. It’s addled your brain.

      • miriam6
        August 13, 2014, 12:55 am

        An Israeli theatre group were prevented from performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year by BDS reactionaries

        So you are wrong Shingo

        Needless to say the BDS hypocrites who forced this Israeli theatre group out of the Edinburgh Festival showed no interest in boycotting, for example, American performers /theatre groups as punishment for America’s support of the illegitimate Kiev regime and its aggression against the civilians of the east of Ukraine

        For some inexplicable reason BDS supporters all suffer from a disgusting tunnel vision which dictates that they find Israeli militarism somehow more reprehensible than that of any other nation including America.

        Which is of course the height of hypocrisy.

        http://www.spiked-online.com/freespeechnow/fsn_article/the-edinburgh-fringe-has-failed-us-and-failed-freedom#.U-rsPu8g_IU

      • Shingo
        August 13, 2014, 9:17 am

        Please give up with Spiked on line spam Miriam. It’s a pathetically obvious pro Israeli propaganda web site with no credibility. Surely your reading material must be broader than one fringe blog.

        In any case, you are wrong as always.

        An Israeli theatre group were prevented from performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year by BDS reactionaries

        Can you be any more stupid? A theatre group is an institution my dear. The individual artists were not prevented from performing as an independent group.

        Needless to say the BDS hypocrites who forced this Israeli theatre group out of the Edinburgh Festival showed no interest in boycotting, for example, American performers /theatre groups as punishment for America’s support of the illegitimate Kiev regime and its aggression against the civilians of the east of Ukraine

        I get what you are trying to say, but your logic is convoluted. It is the Ukrainian government that is carrying out attacks against it’s civilians. Had the theatre groups been Ukrainian, you might have a point.
        The US is supporting Israel as well as the regime in Kiev, but not actually doing the killing.

        For some inexplicable reason Israeli supporters all suffer from a disgusting tunnel vision which dictates that they find Israeli militarism somehow moral and exceptional, while decrying the Palestinians for resisting occupation.
        Which is of course the height of hypocrisy.

        BTW, Miriam are you still denying you’re a Zionist these days?

      • tod77
        August 13, 2014, 5:05 am

        The analogy of what I’m saying is that you can boycott a company that experiments on animals and not buy their soap.
        Say that company has a salesman who is giving a lecture on the products.
        You can call upon people to avoid going to that lecture because he is trying to sell the products that you would like to boycott.
        If that salesman then tries to sell his car, and you call upon people not to buy his car, you’ve moved to a personal boycott and IMHO gone too far.

      • Shingo
        August 13, 2014, 9:23 am

        If that salesman then tries to sell his car, and you call upon people not to buy his car, you’ve moved to a personal boycott and IMHO gone too far.

        That is true and that is not what BDS would advocate.

  9. jayn0t
    August 11, 2014, 11:12 pm

    “The new McCarthyism”? I’m not sure. Opposing the USA’s unconditional support for Israel is in America’s interests. McCarthyism was an attempt — however unconstitutional and excessive — to defend those interests against actual subversion of those interests. The Lobby’s continuous attack on academic and other kinds of freedom is more analogous to the communist party than to McCarthyism.

  10. Ellen
    August 11, 2014, 11:14 pm

    It would be important to know what exactly are the tweets in question. While I think this was covered in MW, it is missing from this call for his support.

    No matter. I think I remember the tweets.

    While many might object to the tone or language, the gist or background of his tweets are understandable, and from what we know not worthy of his complete firing. After all, he was academically vetted and hired for good reason.

  11. Qualtrough
    August 11, 2014, 11:51 pm

    I will put in $50 if someone sets up one of the funds to help with a lawsuit or family expenses. If anyone hears of that please post it. I hope that University gets taken to the cleaners, followed by the termination of the woman who brought such losses to the school.

  12. HPH
    August 12, 2014, 1:06 am

    I signed the petition. Here is what I wrote.

    The unwarranted firing of Prof. Salaita makes me ashamed to admit that I have a Physics PhD from the University of Illinois. In the future, unless this action is reversed, I will avoid an acknowledgement of any past association with this university, which seems very distant and small to me now. This is the first time that an action by this university has made me feel this way.

  13. RoHa
    August 12, 2014, 4:13 am

    Beginning?

  14. Elliot
    August 12, 2014, 8:37 am

    Phyllis Wise’s opposition to the ASA boycott is relevant. At the risk of being politically incorrect, she looks like she is from east Asia. She doesn’t look like a “Wise”. Since her academic biography does not disclose her personal “extramural” history, one wonders from whence the name? Is she married into (or grew up in a) Jewish “Wise” family? If Prof. Salaita’s personal commitments are relevant, then so are hers.

    • Mooser
      August 12, 2014, 11:28 am

      “She doesn’t look like a “Wise”. Since her academic biography does not disclose her personal “extramural” history, one wonders from whence the name?”

      “One wonders”? No Elliot, you wonder; ‘Is there something here I can exploit’?

    • Annie Robbins
      August 12, 2014, 12:25 pm

      elliot, the name Wise does not have jewish origin. http://www.houseofnames.com/wise-family-crest

      • Elliot
        August 12, 2014, 7:58 pm
      • Elliot
        August 12, 2014, 7:58 pm

        Annie,
        Many Germanic names are shared by Jews and non-Jews. For instance, Miller. I wonder what makes someone who looks like a minority herself to be so intolerant. Same goes for gays who are anti-Palestinian. I was hoping someone could shed light on her non-academic life, since she shares nothing of her personal background.
        Isaac Meyer Wise founded organized Reform Judaism in the US.

      • Mooser
        August 13, 2014, 12:51 pm

        “Isaac Meyer Wise founded organized Reform Judaism in the US.”

        “By 1875 membership in the Union had grown to 72 congregations, including the “radical” congregations from the East Coast as well as moderate ones that would later break off to join the Conservative movement. It was that year that the Hebrew Union College was founded with Rabbi Wise as its first president. To celebrate the ordination of its first graduating class in 1883, the seminary threw a lavish banquet that included, to the horror of traditional Jews in attendance, clams, shrimp and other traif. This shattered Rabbi Wise’s dream that all Jews in the United States would be unite as the “Union of American Hebrew Congregations.””

        Why did that have to happen before video?

    • Mooser
      August 12, 2014, 2:52 pm

      Elliot, look, I can’t watch this happen to another landsmann, you know?

      Honestly, your comments remind me so much of Hophmi’s a long time ago, couple of years, I think.
      And look at him now!!! You wanna end up like that??
      I mean, go ahead, if you want to keep commenting and fighting it out on those lines. But remember, even if nobody else does, I will view your degradation with sadness, and perhaps even a shudder when I hear your nails scraping the bottom of the barrel.

  15. Mooser
    August 12, 2014, 11:41 am

    “If Prof. Salaita’s personal commitments are relevant, then so are hers.”

    So you got all that out of the name “Wise”? But let me get this straight, Elliot, the basic premise is that if anybody can be proved, or even supposed, to have a Jewish connection, they are released from any ethical constraints? ‘Because Jewish’ trumps everything else? Okay, got it.
    Careful, Elliot, your entitlement is showing. Or is that supposed to be an appealing quality?

    • James North
      August 12, 2014, 6:16 pm

      Mooser: Elliot is on our side.

      • gamal
        August 12, 2014, 7:11 pm

        so what happen James you check with Palestinians, because I have a sense of ‘not really” and what is our side, you may not be welcome on our real side, did you check with those who run “our side”, I aint sure you meet the requirements.

      • Mooser
        August 12, 2014, 7:25 pm

        Well, that’s a heck of a way to show it!

    • Elliot
      August 12, 2014, 8:00 pm

      Mooser – chill, baby. All is well.

      • Mooser
        August 13, 2014, 12:40 pm

        I’m sorry, Elliot, I thought I was pretty cynical about the entire subject, but Protective Edge, and the pretexts of the Israelis and Zionists have shocked me deeply, in a way I didn’t even think I could be shocked anymore.
        More than enough to make me completely mixed up about what a commenter is saying, and I think it’s happened probably, more than once.
        Having rejected Zionism so early, and so completely, I thought I could view it with some detachment as it exceeded my every expectation, but I can’t, and I’m getting enraged, and that as you know, makes it hard to think straight.

        I appreciate your patience.

      • Elliot
        August 13, 2014, 11:01 pm

        Mooser –
        No worries. I do worry about what comes next for us in the U.S. There is clearly a growth spurt in leftist organizations but there is also a harsh edge to the opposition. There’s nothing like war to give the reactionaries license to be nasty. I fear that Prof. Salaita’s case is just the tip of the iceberg.

  16. piotr
    August 12, 2014, 12:03 pm

    What we need now is one of those Zionist professors who opposed ASA resolution to repeat once again why academic freedom is more important than other freedoms. Academic freedom, according to them, is the privilege of academic administrators and those professors who are cozy with them. And as radical riff-raff is concerned, that is considered case-by-case.

  17. piotr
    August 12, 2014, 12:44 pm

    Re: Wise does not look like a Wise. Strangely enough, quick search does not reveal her maiden name, nor anything about her two children (except that they are grown up) or a husband. When she had a speech at Swarthmore, her Alma Mater, she talked about family values, giving the example of her mother who helped all her sisters, bringing them from China (to save from war and subsequent Communist rule?). That aside, like Mooser, I would be in the opposition to “lookism”. Adolf Hitler was distinctly homely, while Reinhard Heydrich was handsome http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinhard_Heydrich

    Re: history of rescinding appointments, this is from the trail that starts with the essay of Norman Finkelstein
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_and_Morals
    Court in NYC ordering the abrogate appointment of an elderly and extremely accomplished professor, because of a book he published 11 years prior, and for which he got Nobel Prize later. University of Illinois really has tradition on its side.

    • Mooser
      August 12, 2014, 2:58 pm

      “she talked about family values, giving the example of her mother who helped all her sisters, bringing them from China “

      Elliot’s got her pegged as an “East Asian” (“she looks like she is from east Asia. She doesn’t look like a “Wise”.)
      I suppose China extends a good way East in Asia. There simply couldn’t be any other inference from that “East Asian”, could there be?

  18. piotr
    August 12, 2014, 1:01 pm

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/israels-dead-soul-steven-salaita/1100213951?ean=9781439906385

    Now that Salaita will have to search for a job while supporting his wife and child, it is worth to consider buying one of his book. I would personally avoid Amazon due to its monopolistic bullying, so I would recommend a quick purchase of a Nook book, or to read the preview which is really interesting.

  19. Pixel
    August 12, 2014, 2:06 pm

    .

    Petitions… emails…Why not also give the Chancellor a quick call?

    Office of the Chancellor: 217-333-6290

    You’ll get vm. After 30 seconds, a prompt will break in.

    Press 4 to continue your message.

  20. chucky
    August 12, 2014, 4:46 pm

    hey all, indeed despicable actions by the university and my heart goes out for this brave man and his family. Wanted to ask a quick question though – mostly out of ignorance and please do correct me if i’m wrong on this – but he is a professor of American Indian Studies isn’t he? so his research and teaching have nothing to do with the occupation of Palestine – the (excellent) website that he runs and other online activity are all part of his political activism which as far as i understand are unrelated to his professional capacity as a professor in a different field. Again happy to stand corrected but if this is indeed the case than I don’t get the claim for violation of academic freedom – this is to protect research and teaching activities isn’t it? I definitely see this is as a violation of his freedom of speech but not too clear about the relevance of academic freedom here. what am I missing here, can someone set me straight?

    • piotr
      August 12, 2014, 9:21 pm

      chucky,

      this requires more info. Salaita’s books available in on-line bookstore deal with issues of Israel, discrimination of Arabs in USA etc. Apparently, his field is Comparative Literature, and he clearly can compare varieties of Hasbara very incisively. Perhaps his scholarly articles dealt also with issues of American Indians, there is a subfield “comparative oppression”, nicely summarized as “Mata Moros, Mata Indios”: ideology of “expanding frontier of Christiandom and civilization” where “Moros” and “Indios” were on the receiving end. This is where “stand with the civilized man” comes from.

      • chucky
        August 13, 2014, 4:46 pm

        thanks piotr, very interesting, I’ll look up his books on not Amazon shortly. So it is within the remit of his expertise – but still, I don’t think his online political activism or campaigning on behalf of the BDS falls under academic freedom – these actions, brave and incredibly important as they are, do not constitute an element of his profession. I think, and again may just as well be wrong on this as I usually am that it was the latter rather than his academic publications (who all seem to agree are of a high quality) which were used by the university as an excuse to fire him. So again, I don’t see how the actions of the university constitute a violation of academic freedom…

  21. W.Jones
    August 12, 2014, 10:13 pm

    College Democrats of America are firing student staff who criticized Israeli war crimes:
    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/25531-democrat-youth-wing-fires-members-who-criticized-israels-child-killings

    • lysias
      August 13, 2014, 11:18 am

      I’m afraid the Democrats’ reflex support of Israel will only get much worse when and if Killary is nominated.

  22. lysias
    August 13, 2014, 11:17 am

    Academic boycott of University of Illinois starting: Calling All Political Scientists (and Philosophers).

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