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Claim: Rescinded Job Offer to Palestinian Professor Possibly a Hate Crime

As The College Fix‘s Greg Piper reported a few days ago, Steven Salaita, a (Palestinian) soon-to-be professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, had his appointment to an Indian Studies position blocked after he made several controversial tweets about Israel. Greg noted some of the material in Salaita’s tweets; you can see more of them here.

Salaita had tweeted that Israel’s bombing of Gaza was “racist and punitive,” that anyone who agrees with Israel’s actions is “okay with the wholesale slaughter of children,” and asked “would anybody be surprised” if Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “appeared on TV with a necklace made from the teeth of Palestinian children.”

But the managing editor of The Arab Daily News, Ray Hanania, claims that the professor was merely “criticizing” Israel, and that Illinois was not only wrong in rescinding Salaita’s job offer … but possibly guilty of a hate crime, as well:

A “Hate Crime” occurs when a victim is intentionally singled out because of his or her identity. Isn’t that what happened this week to Dr. Steven Salaita, a Palestinian professor who was fired because he criticized the government policies of a foreign country, Israel?

The Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan should immediately investigate the actions of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and apply the state’s Hate Crimes laws in defense of a professor who has been singled out not because of his political views but because his political views have targeted the foreign country of Israel and because the victim, Steven Salaita, is an American Arab.

Hanania includes in his article a picture of an old “Colored Waiting Room” bus depot sign from 1943 Georgia to somehow support his case, and makes (the usual) comparison of Israel to Apartheid South Africa. He also states that the charge of anti-Semitism is “vicious” and such an “attack” is “racist.” Ironically, Hanania uses the term “racist” and “racism” a total of six times in his piece, the former to describe Israel supporters and Salaita critics.

This past Wednesday, the American Association of University Professors’ Illinois committee defended Salaita’s right to free speech, while not endorsing the tone of his tweets. A dissenting former president of the AAUP, Cary Nelson, agreed with the university’s action against Salaita.

(Long-time readers of The College Fix may recall that Professor Salaita is certainly no stranger to controversy.)

Read the full article here.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.