U.S. Professor Reportedly Loses Appointment Over anti-Israel Tweets

University of Illinois cancels appointment of Steven Salaita, who accused Israel of 'rounding up people and murdering them.'

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The Foellinger Auditorium, the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A professor's appointment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been reportedly canceled after the academic lashed out at Israel on Twitter.

Steven Salaita, a former associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, tweeted on August 2:  "When will the attack on #Gaza end? What is left for #Israel to prove? Who is left for Israel to kill? This is the logic of genocide." That same day, another tweet read: "#Israel is rounding up people and murdering them at point-blank range. The word "genocide" is more germane the more news we hear."

According to Inside Higher Ed, "sources familiar with the university's decision say that concern grew over the tone of [Salaita's] comments on Twitter about Israel's policies in Gaza." Other sources told the website that he was "recently informed by Chancellor Phyllis Wise that the appointment would not go to the university's board, and that he did not have a job to come to in Illinois."

Salaita did not respond to numerous calls and emails from Inside Higher Ed.

Even before reports of the cancelation of Salaita's appointment, the Jewish Voice reported that the Simon Wiesenthal Center sent a letter to Robert Easter, President of the University of Illinois, protesting the appointment of "a professor who would liken Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, to 'a radical extremist group who crucifies civilians and then posts the videos, like trophies, on YouTube.'"

"What possible prestige can Salaita add to the UI faculty when in truth, he is a misguided 'academic' who spews such venomous and mendacious analogies?" the letter asked.

When will the attack on #Gaza end? What is left for #Israel to prove? Who is left for Israel to kill? This is the logic of genocide.