Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Professor Steven Salaita Loses Job Over Anti-Israel Tweets

It's mostly anti-Israel tweets, but this Professor Salaita ranges widely in far-left derangement and obscenity.

At Legal Insurrection, "Anti-Israel Prof. Steve Salaita loses job offer at U. Illinois over hateful tweets."

And at Blazing Cat Fur, "Professor Reportedly Loses Position over Anti-Israel Tweets":

Professor Steven Salaita photo Twitter-_-stevesalaita_-Lets-cut-to-the-chase_-If-defending-Israel-horrible-person_zpsf943645a.png

More at Inside Higher Ed, "Out of a Job." (Via Memeorandum.)

The Electronic Intifada rebuts the account of Professor Salaita's termination, saying he was "fired" rather than having his position "revoked."

Plus, from Professor Corey Robin, at Crooked Timber, "Another Anti-Zionist Professor Punished for His Views (Updated)." Professor Robin goes after Cary Nelson, the former president of the American Association of University Professors:
Once upon a time I wrote an essay for an anthology Nelson edited on unions in academia. When I was the leader of the grad union drive at Yale, he came to campus and spoke out on our behalf. I thought of him as not only a champion of academic freedom but as an especially acerbic—some might even say uncivil—commentator willing to throw a few elbows at his fellow academics. One time, he even compared a fellow English professor to a vampire bat, and proceeded to make fun of his bodily movements and facial gestures. In an academic publication subject to peer review.

But in recent years Nelson has become an outspoken defender of the State of Israel and a critic of the BDS movement. A man who once called for the boycott of a university now thinks boycotts of universities are a grave threat to academic freedom. A man who serially violates the norms of academic civility—urging fellow academics to “give key administrators no peace. Place chanting pickets outside their homes. Disrupt every meeting they attend with sardonic or inspiring public theater”—now invokes those same norms against a critic of Israel. A man who once wrote that “claims about collegiality are being used to stifle campus debate, to punish faculty, and to silence the free exchange of opinion by the imposition of corporate-style conformity,” now complains about an anti-Zionist professor’s “foul-mouthed presence in social media.” A man who once called the movement against hostile environments and in favor of sensitive speech on campus “Orwellian,” now frets over a student of Salaita’s fearing she “would be academically at risk in expressing pro-Israeli views in class.”

I bring this up not to pick on Nelson, but to ask him, and all of you, a simple question: Should Nelson be deemed ineligible for another job at a university simply because of these statements he has written? Should l be deemed ineligible for another job at a university simply because of some “foul-mouthed,” perhaps even intemperate, tweets that I’m sure I have written?

But I bring up Nelson’s case for another reason. And that is that his hypocrisy is not merely his own. It is a symptom of the effects of Zionism on academic freedom, how pro-Israel forces have consistently attempted to shut down debate on this issue, how they “distort all that is right.” Nelson’s U-Turn demonstrates that we’re heading down a very dangerous road. I strongly urge all of you to put on the brakes.
As you can see from the highlighted section, it's not just academic freedom that concerns Professor Robin, but "the effects of Zionism."

Seems to me that Professor Salaita made a big mistake thinking that he could expound his noxious views without any consequence to his employment. My personal recommendation is for academics not to engage in partisan politics until they have the protections of tenure, and even then you'll want to be careful. But as you can see, it's the larger issue at stake, especially for the left, which is apparently that eliminationist radical anti-Israel advocacy should have free rein in higher education. And that is "a very dangerous road" leftists are travelling, academic freedom or not.