If reports are true, Steven Salaita's horrific and bizarre Twitter feed cost him a job offer at U. Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
As of this moment, the reason behind the denial of a position is not known, but that hasn't stopped Salaita's supporters from portraying the denial as based on Salaita's anti-Israel views. As if there is some new blacklist against anti-Israel views, despite the fact that so many faculty members are anti-Israel and proud to express those views.
One thing about Salaita's tweets — he said how he feels. And how he feels is that Israel should be destroyed ("decolonized" in his lingo).
That's what the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement really is all about — it's struggle until Israel is gone.
There are some naive dupes who actually believe that academic boycotts are about changing Israeli policies, but the leadership knows that it's about destroying Israel.
The reaction to the denial of an offer to Salaita has been furious. One supporter of the academic boycott of Israel now wants a boycott of UI-Urbana-Champaign. Another professor is refusing to show his film there. The American Association of University Professors has weighed in against the denial, although it admits "a number of facts concerning this case remain unclear."
There has been an attempt to portray Salaita as a world-reknowned scholar, but that's an exaggeration. Most of his work was simply devoted to bashing Israel in a now-typical melding of political activism and academics.
Much of the organizing has been focused on a Petition for Corrective Action on Change.org posted by Rima Merriman:
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has just severed their contract of employment with the brilliant, ethical, and prolific Dr. Steven Salaita for his political views on Israel, effectively firing him the very month he was to take up a tenured position there. This is also an insult to the Department of American Indian Studies that was not consulted in this administrative decision.
It appears that we live in a world where students get paid to post state propaganda while professors/journalists get FIRED for exposing it in the name of truth and justice.
We demand his immediate reinstatement.
For information about this case and academic freedom generally, please go to the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel website http://www.usacbi.org/
Note the last line. This is a BDS-motivated petition, not a petition for academic freedom for all. As I have pointed out recently, those who now invoke academic freedom to defend Salaita are among the worst destroyers of academic freedom through the academic boycott passed by the American Studies Association (with Salaita's help) and some smaller groups.
As of this writing, the Petition has over 11,000 signatures. Most appear real, although there is some trolling in there. It's hard to tell how many are faculty or students.
Merriman, who also is known as Rima Najjar (Merriman), is a BDS activist who calls for the destruction of Israel, and argues that Zionism is a disease.
Her Twitter feed was first brought to my attention by a tweet this morning from Professor Jonathan Marks of Ursinus College, who also frequently writes for Commentary Magazine and Minding the Campus.
Scrolling through her Twitter feed, it gets even worse. She is a promoter of the putrid Zionism=Nazism narrative so prevalent in anti-Semitic riots and violence around the globe.
Don't get me wrong as to why I post these tweets.
I don't want Merriman, or Salaita, or the others in the BDS movement to restrict their speech or stop telling us how they really feel.
Just the opposite.
I want them to keep telling us how they really feel.
Because how they really feel is not what they tell to faculty and students on campuses and to community groups, who they try to dupe into thinking BDS is about changing Israeli policies and peace.