Steven Salaita is a disgraced Professor from Washington D.C. who lost two teaching positions at different Universities after his atrocious antisemitic social media posts were exposed.
In 2014, Salaita became the focus of a national controversy after the University of Illinois at Urbana rescinded an offer of a tenured position of professor of American Indian Studies following the revelation of Salaita’s tweets regarding the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers. Salaita’s tweet read “You may be too refined to say it, but I’m not: I wish all the f**king West Bank settlers would go missing.” Salaita claimed his statement wasn’t antisemitic but his words clearly incite violence against Jews.
In 2015, Salaita was hired as the Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut. After just one year he was dismissed from the position as news about his controversy from the University of Illinois at Urbana surfaced. Salaita later complained on social media that he was forced to become a bus driver to make ends meet.
Losing two teaching positions didn’t deter Salaita from continuing his demonization of the Jewish state, backing the antisemitic Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and supporting known terrorists.
In 2018, he alleged that pro-Palestinian speech is being censored and went on an antisemitic tantrum on Twitter:
- “Zionists insist that Israel doesn’t just shoot unarmed demonstrators. They’re right. Israel also shoots journalists and doctors.”
- “Israel practices anti-Black racism. Israel brutalizes migrant workers. Israel oppresses Muslims.”
- “The USA and Israel both dispossess Indigenous nations, brutalize Black people, imprison children, torture dissidents, cosset dictators, arm reactionaries, abuse protestors, elect racists, and demand to be seen as avatars of virtue. #SharedValues.”
Salaita also outrageously compared himself to convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh who was involved in a terror bombing that resulted in the death of two young Jewish students. Fanning over the cold-blooded murderer, Salaita claimed that like Odeh, he’s being prosecuted and tweeted a photo of himself with Odeh stating “I was lucky enough to meet a true hero tonight…”
Despite Salaita’s track record of making harmful, dangerous, and antisemitic statements, earlier this week Virginia Tech Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) invited him to take part in its Research Symposium and Exposition. Calls from students, faculty, and advocacy groups to rescind the invitation didn’t suffice. The university provided Salaita a stage to spew his hatred and allegedly paid him a $12,000 speaking fee while refusing to issue a public statement about the highly disputed incident.
This is not the first time that the student senate has acted against the interest of pro-Israel and Jewish students. Last Semester they passed a BDS measure creating a hostile climate on our campus, especially for Jewish graduate students.
College administrations have a great responsibility to ensure the safety of all their students. Universities must stop green-lighting and bank-rolling antisemitic speakers whose sole purpose is to demonize the Jewish people.