Trusties of Jewish-controlled University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have voted to agree to a out of court $875,000 financial settlement with professor Steven Salaita. Last year, his job offer for a tenured position at the university was revoked by Chancellor Dr. Phyllis M. Wise (Jewish) over his anti-Israel tweet.
Under the terms of the settlement, Dr. Salaita, will not get his job back but will receive $600,000. The rest of the money will go to his legal team from the Center of Constitutional Rights.
“This settlement is a vindication for me, but more importantly, it’s a victory for academic freedom and the First amendment. The petitions, demonstrations, and investigations, as well as legal case, have reinvigorated American higher education as a place of critical thinking and rigorous debates, and I’m deeply grateful to all who have spoken out,” Salaita said in a statement.
“When the news that the University of Illinois had rescinded its offer of employment to Salaita due his alleged ”antisemitic” remarks,” I was immediately suspicious. My own criticism of Israel had often earned me the disdain and ire of the crowd that sees defense of Israel – right or wrong – as the measuring stick of being a “real” or “good” Jew. I had to wonder whether the charge of antisemitism was deserved or just another instance in which criticism of Israel’s policies was wrongly equated with antisemitism,” says Marilyn Katz, American Jewish writer and longtime political activist.
Realizing that after offending the powerful Jewish Lobby, he will never get an academic position in the US like Dr. Kevin Barrett and Dr. Norman Finkelstein, Salaita decided to look for an academic position in the Middle East. In July 2015, he announced on Twitter that he will be the Edward W. Said Chair of American Studies in the coming academic year, at the American University in Beirut.
My favorite Lebanese author and pro-Resistance activist, Dr. Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, used to be a professor at the AUB.