It looks as if Steven Salaita was wrong. The University of Illinois did not, as he once claimed, ruin his academic career.
The professor, who is best known for his ill-advised tweets, said earlier this week that he was "thrilled to announce that I will serve as the Edward W. Said Chair of American Studies" at American University of Beirut in Lebanon for the 2015-16 academic year.
The teaching assignment for the former tenured professor of English at Virginia Tech, who once was under consideration for a tenured post in American Indian studies at the UI, remains to be disclosed.
But he will, no doubt, be comfortable in the politically scrambled Middle East, where hatred of Israel by many of its neighbors is endemic.
Readers may recall that Salaita was scheduled to join the UI faculty in fall 2014. But before his contract was officially approved by UI trustees, he unleashed a series of highly critical, and vulgar, tweets about Israel that raised concerns among some people about his judgment and professionalism.
UI Chancellor Phyllis Wise subsequently withdrew the UI's job offer, a move that unleashed a campus debate on the wisdom of her decision and provoked a federal lawsuit by Salaita that seeks to force the UI to hire him.
Depending on one's perspective, the Salaita litigation either is about academic freedom of speech and inquiry or a simple contract dispute. The case is in its early stage.
But Salaita's hiring undermines his argument that he's entitled to considerable damages.
Indeed, Salaita has been quite active since the UI controversy, although not in the classroom.
He has toured the nation's college campuses giving lectures about his plight, recently wrote a book about his persecution at the hands of the UI and now is filling a post named for a well-known scholar who taught at Columbia University.
The Edward W. Said Chair that Salaita will fill is named for the Jerusalem-born English professor and cultural critic who, like Salaita, had an Arab ancestry that informed his pro-Palestinian views.
The hiring also demonstrates the flexibility of Salaita's professional reach, at least in the eyes of his supporters.
An English teacher at Virginia Tech, he was described as a "renowned American Indian studies professor" by his publishing house. Now Salaita is moving to American studies, an interdisciplinary field dealing with the study of the Americas that focuses on such diverse subjects as history and literature as well as studies of women, race and gender.
Given the almost exclusively political nature of Salaita's scholarship — or pseudo-scholarship, as some have suggested — it's a great fit. Perhaps the UI's gain in withdrawing the Salaita job offer is American University's gain in hiring him — win-win all around.