Steven Salaita, the world-class Israel hater who lost a job offer from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign because he was an obnoxious, obscenity-hurling, black-belt jerk on Twitter, spent this week on a whirlwind tour of college campuses in Chicago.
He spoke to about 100 people in a packed, nondescript, hard-to-find classroom on the campus of DePaul University in Lincoln Park on Thursday.
Wearing a plaid, button-up shirt, the balding, the bespectacled professor sharply criticized the University of Illinois board members who blocked his hiring last month, saying — to a sad smattering of cheers — that they know nothing about many things including "Israel-Palestine relations" and, however it may relate, "Pacific Islanders."
Salaita characterized the case against the parade of foul-mouthed, Israel-bashing vitriol on his Twitter feed as "imagined hostility."
Here is one tweet from among dozens and dozens he texted to the world during Israel's recent Gaza incursion:
By eagerly conflating Jewishness and Israel, Zionists are partly responsible when people say antisemitic shit in response to Israeli terror.
Salaita insisted that the cause of his his revoked job offer was his criticism of Israel, and not his embarrassingly juvenile and grossly unprofessional demeanor.
While striking a very civil tone, the professor spent considerable time blasting the concept of civility.
Civility is "insidious" and "repressive," Salaita declared. "Civility is a regime." It "evokes colonial violence" and "implicates the speech in centuries of colonization and genocide," he said.
"Cheerleaders of civility have been utterly vicious, which often happens when Zionist groups are involved."
Oddly, though, Salaita failed to mention his own vicious tweeting behavior, such as:
Without indicating who had funded his visit of several days to Chicago (and, interestingly, skipping the University of Illinois at Chicago), Salaita also claimed that nefarious, unnamed parties have initiated "a funded smear campaign against" him.
He claimed that he has been "muzzled" by his own legal team since The Daily Caller and a host of other outlets publicized his adolescent tweets in July.
Salaita certainly wasn't "muzzled" before his tweets were reported. Take, just for instance this gem:
The @IDFSpokesperson is a lying motherfucker.
"To criticize Israel is inherently aggressive" in the eyes of Israel's supporters, Salaita bitterly complained, a couple months after tweeting:
At this point, if Netanyahu appeared on TV with a necklace made from the teeth of Palestinian children, would anybody be surprised? #Gaza
"I'm no bully," he insisted. Instead, he said, he prefers "moral clarity."
Salaita also insisted that he has been punished for his views critical of Israel, not drivel on Twitter such as:
Rednecks need a new slogan. Instead of "kick their ass and take their gas," how about "#Gaza is a disaster, but Netanyahu is my master"?
Zionists: transforming "antisemitism" from something horrible into something honorable since 1948.
During his speaking engagement at DePaul, Salaita also expounded at length to his sympathetic audience about what can only be described as an Israeli ice cream freezer libel. During the latest Gaza conflict, he claimed, ice cream freezers were filled with the bodies of dead Palestinian children.
He also evinced a strange, gnostic belief in his own ability to understand "structures of inequality."
StandWithUs, a pro-Israel advocacy organization, criticized Salaita.
"Salaita's comments during his speeches at Chicago universities do not just repeat the usual blood libels about Israel killing children for sport, but he actually invented new lies," Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs, told TheDC. "Those who care about peace in the Middle East should actively oppose having destructive speakers like Salaita on campus. StandWithUs once again commends the University of Illinois [UIUC] Chancellor Wise and Trustees for not hiring Salaita, who actually considers these kinds of inflammatory comments as 'normal' and 'correct.'"
Last month, the University of Illinois's board of trustees voted 8-1 to reaffirm the college's decision to revoke Salaita's job offer.
Salaita, a leading light in the movement among obscure academics to boycott Israel, had been slated to begin teaching at the school's backwater Native American Studies department this fall.
He had remained silent for over a month after the controversy broke.
Before losing his job at Urbana-Champaign, Salaita worked as an associate English professor at taxpayer-funded Virginia Tech, a school known for math and science. He resigned in 2013 when he was offered the Illinois gig.
Over 30 University of Illinois faculty members publicly released a letter supporting the decision. "Dr. Salaita's public expressions of hatred and his public endorsement of violence have no place in the University of Illinois," said the letter.
However, over 1800 faculty at other schools have pledged to boycott the school if Salaita is not hired.
The University of Illinois system has engaged in a bizarre quest to employ as many scumbags as possible in recent years — and decades. The near hiring of Salaita marked a triefecta of sorts. The eternal slab of concrete that is the University of Illinois at Chicago was the professional home of coddled, little rich boy turned coddled, bumbling Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers for 23 years. Before bad press forced the hands of administrators, the Urbana–Champaign campus had employed urban planning professor James Kilgore — a felon and a former member of the notorious Symbionese Liberation Army that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst.