Steven Salaita, the world-class Israel hater who lost a job offer from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign over an expletive-laden Twitter rampage, sued the school late last week.
In the federal lawsuit, Salaita seeks compensation and unspecified damages he claims to have suffered after his vicious anti-Israel Twitter vitriol over the summer caused University of Illinois officials to reconsider his hiring.
One novel aspect of the balding, bespectacled professor's suit is the inclusion of "John Doe Unknown Donors" as co-defendants, Nonprofit Quarterly reports.
Salaita's legal theory appears to be that these donors wrongly interfered with his right to a taxpayer-funded teaching position by threatening to refuse to give free money to the University of Illinois if he were to work there.
Though one potential donor, Steven Miller, has been identified, the rest remain anonymous.
Obviously, Salaita's lawsuit, if successful, could have a decidedly chilling effect on philanthropic donations to colleges and universities.
"It's pretty clear [Illinois] behaved badly here, but it's not clear they behaved illegally," Michael Olivas, a specialist in higher education law at the University of Houston, opined to Nonprofit Quarterly.
Salaita, a leading light in the movement among obscure academics to boycott Israel, had been slated to begin teaching in the University of Illinois's Native American Studies department this fall.
In the summer, however, he authored a slew of bitterly anti-Israel tweets during the country's incursion into the Gaza Strip. The tweets drew public attention and there was a widespread outcry against both Salaita and the university. In August, the school revoked Salaita's tenure offer by having the board of trustees refuse to confirm his hire. Since then, Salaita has been jobless, as he had already resigned a previous post at Virginia Tech in order to prepare for his move to Illinois.
Among much else, Salaita tweeted that Jewish people "are partly responsible when people say antisemitic shit." He used the derogatory term "rednecks" and called a Israeli military official "a lying motherfucker."
You can see a fuller sampling of his Twitter ranting below.
In September, the University of Illinois's board of trustees voted 8-1 to reaffirm the taxpayer-funded college's decision to revoke a job offer to Salaita after his obscenity-hurling Twitter behavior.
"I've never, ever punished a student for expressing a particular point of view or for adhering to a particular ideology and I never will," Salaita said in his initial public remarks concerning his sacking. He remained defiant, however, and refused to apologize for his remarks, saying only that they were "misunderstood."
In October, during his speaking engagement at DePaul University in Chicago, Salaita expounded at length to a 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 special ability to understand "structures of inequality."
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 bleated.
"Cheerleaders of civility have been utterly vicious, which often happens when Zionist groups are involved."