Media Analysis

Steven Salaita: What Mondoweiss Means To Me

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Presented below is the latest message in a series, “What Mondoweiss Means To Me.” We are honored that leaders in the movement for justice in Israel/Palestine respect the site enough to offer these statements in order to help us raise $60,000 by December 31. Please read Steven Salaita’s comments, and if you agree that quality news and analysis are essential, join him in giving.

Each one of you has your own reasons for visiting Mondoweiss, a unique news operation that serves an amazing community of activists and thinkers. Please donate today, and tell us what Mondoweiss means to you.

If you would like to know how donations will be used, click here to understand how dollars and cents are transformed into truth-telling.

Dear Mondoweiss readers—

This year, I was fired for speaking my mind about Palestine—and Mondoweiss’s thorough coverage made a huge difference in informing the public about my case and what it shows about money and freedom of speech in the U.S. Let me tell you how my experience has made me appreciate Mondoweiss more than ever.

Far more people know my name today than did a year ago. That’s because last summer, 140 characters at a time, my grief and outrage threatened two giant, powerful institutions.

Steven Salaita (Photo: AP/Seth Perlman)
Steven Salaita (Photo: AP/Seth Perlman)

First, my tweets against the Israeli offensive in Gaza offended the machine that promotes Israel’s militarism in the U.S. Then, the big money fueling that machine sought to shut me up by putting pressure on the so-called “ivory tower” of academia. When major donors complained about my tweets and accused me of anti-Semitism, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign abruptly cancelled my tenured faculty position. The success of this pressure puts the lie to all claims of intellectual independence.

Mondoweiss has been an essential force in educating thousands of people about this travesty.

While I never intended to sacrifice my career to a principle, I am very glad that this sacrifice has not been in vain. Students and faculty across the country who until now avoided taking a stand on Palestine have been forced by my expulsion to understand the limits on academic freedom—and have stood up to oppose my silencing. Without Mondoweiss’s consistent and accurate reporting, far, far fewer people would have been awakened by my case.

While I have suffered career and economic turmoil, I have also been strengthened in my resolve to speak out. Because above all else, these actions show us something deeply heartening: the power of words.

I didn’t gather hundreds of thousands of people to block the entrance to the Capitol. I didn’t spend millions on electoral campaigns. But the modest tool I had—words pointing to injustice—was so powerful that it mobilized movers and shakers.

Through Mondoweiss, you and I can put this lesson to use. Day after day, year after year, Mondoweiss documents the facts and expresses our movement’s ideas. And because the site has hard-earned credibility and millions of readers, Mondoweiss’s words are even more powerful than those of a private individual like myself.

Please join me in supporting Mondoweiss, a vital institution that amplifies voices for justice. As advocates of Palestinian human rights, we need Mondoweiss for arguments, facts and insights, and to make the world see, listen and understand.

Yours in struggle,

Steven Salaita

P.S. I don’t know today what my livelihood will be a year from now. But I know that any amount I donate to Mondoweiss will multiply my impact on the goal I cherish: justice and human rights for all in Palestine. Take action now by giving at whatever level you can.

Fuel the Momentum

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Well and eloquently put, Mr. Salaita.

There’s no way we can accept that Salaita’s career is over. That’s simply inconceivable. Ensuring that Steven Salaita finds a position in some US university within the next months must be a central part of our fight from now on. Achieving that goal will not only correct the injustice that has been committed against him but will encourage others to follow in his footsteps by showing that speaking out does not have to be extremely… Read more »

Steven, thank you for sticking your neck out and furthering the conversation. A conversation that’s desperately needed.

… and thank you too, Adam ; )

Steven Salaita is an intelligent man, he’ll be back in work again sooner rather than later I hope. His experience at the hands of the Israeli lobby and it’s tentacles into American academia have been invaluable to the Palestinian cause. With the help of MW and other journalists we’ve all had confirmed what we knew already, that the Constitution of the United States is no match for AIPAC and friends. Steven had his head pushed… Read more »