• American University of Beirut
    American University of Beirut
  • Anti-Israel
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Steven Salaita is a staunch advocate of the BDS movement and is an official signatory to the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.[1] He regularly writes, speaks and posts to his various profiles vehemently anti-Israel content. His rhetoric contains Twitter posts such as, “Zionists: transforming ‘antisemitism’ from something horrible into something honorable since 1948,” and “if it’s ‘antisemitic’ to deplore colonization, land theft and child murder, then what choice does any person of conscience have? #Gaza.”[2]

I has been pointed out that, in fact, little of Salaita’s writing has anything to do with his stated field of expertise, American Indian Studies. Rather, he almost exclusively writes about Palestinian and Arab political issues in a manner “more befitting of an activist’s dogmatic and narrow focus than that of a scholar’s commitment to curiosity and open-mindedness.”[3]

Salaita became well-known in 2014 when, following a campaign by students, faculty and donors of the University of Illinois, his appointment to a tenured position was blocked by the university’s trustees. Following the vote, the university’s president, Robert Easter, said: “Professor Salaita’s approach indicates he would be incapable of fostering a classroom environment where conflicting opinions would be given equal consideration.”[4] Salaita began legal proceedings following the rescinding of his offer and, in November 2015, settled with the university for $600,000 and an additional $275,000 in legal fees.[5]

[1] US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Endorsements from Colleagues at American Institutions: Steven Salaita. Retrieved from http://www.usacbi.org/endorsers/

[2] Salaita, S. (July 19, 2014). @stevesalaita. Twitter. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/stevesalaita/status/490650693741842433

[3] Leibovitz, L. (Sept. 5, 2014). Steven Salaita’s Academic Work is Just as Hateful as His Tweets. Tablet. Retrieved from http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/183813/steven-salaita-academic-work

[4] Cohen, J.S. (Sept. 11, 2014). U. of I. trustees vote 8-1 to reject Salaita. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-salaitia-board-decision-20140911-story.html#page=1

[5] Chandler, A. (Nov. 12, 2015). A Six-Figure Settlement on Campus Free Speech. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2015/11/a-six-figure-settlement-on-campus-free-speech/415680/

Associated Organizations:

Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS); Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP); Middle East Studies Association (MESA); Modern Language Association (MLA); Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI).

Social Profiles

Departmental Contact

Dr. Amy Alice Zenger, Director of the Center for American Studies and Research at the American University of Beirut

Contact email


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