Sunday, October 24th | 18 Heshvan 5782

November 26, 2014 1:00 pm

Fired Anti-Israel Professor Receives Standing Ovation at Middle East Studies Conference

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Former University of Illinois professor Steven Salaita. Photo: Twitter.

Former University of Illinois professor Steven Salaita, who lost his job in September over a series of anti-Israel tweets, received a standing ovation from scholars and academics on Saturday at a Middle East Studies conference in Washington, The Washington Free Beacon reported.

“Thank you, everybody. If the Zionists wanted to silence me, they should have just approached people to be nice to me,” Salaita said during a panel discussion, entitled “The Salaita Case and the New Assaults on Academic Freedom.” He added, “Kindness always leaves me much more speechless than war crimes do.”

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fired Salaita after his anti-Israel tweets, which some also deemed anti-Semitic, during the summer’s Gaza war. He accused the Jewish state of genocide and claimed Israel is “rounding up people and murdering them at point-blank range.” The BDS supporter also claimed that Zionists deploy anti-Semitic logic and stated, “If you’re defending #Israel right now you’re an awful human being.”

Salaita attributed his firing to “the interference of wealthy donors,” according to the Free Beacon. He said it was “part of the culture wars that have long been ongoing around the Israel-Palestine conflict” and could not be separated from “the organized suppression of those who speak in support of Palestine or Palestinians.”

Related coverage

October 2, 2021 11:19 am

Pandemic Deaths Eclipse 700,000 in US

i24 News – The death toll from Covid-19 in the United States surpassed 700,000 on Friday, according to figures from...

Salaita suggested during Saturday’s panel discussion that his critics play no legitimate role in academic debate.

“If you support the colonial apparatus in the West Bank and Gaza and inside Israel itself, quite frankly, you don’t get to call yourself progressive,” said the former professor, who is also the author of Israel’s Dead Soul. “I am a critic of the state of Israel, I am a critic of Zionism, I do not shy away from either label. I’m proud to have both of those labels.”

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.