When last we left Steven Salaita, he had been hired by the American University of Beirut
to become the 'Edward Said Professor of American Studies,' after the University of Illinois revoked
his tenure track appointment for being a purveyor of hate speech
. Now, it appears that Salaita won't even last the year in Beirut
. This is really rich.
But Salaita’s views, it seems, are too unpalatable even in Lebanon. A petition
circulated today and signed by students of the university argues that
the official search procedure designed to award Salaita his position was
cancelled on March 30 by university president Fadlo Khuri, citing
“procedural irregularities.” Which, the petitioners argue, is just code
for political persecution. “We fear,” the petition continues, “that AUB
is reproducing the trend of persecuting scholars who condemn the
injustices committed in Palestine.”
Even if you ignore for one minute the rich irony of this
statement—given the absolutely abysmal way Lebanon has treated its
sizable Palestinian population, denied access to basic resources like
housing, education, and employment for the past six decades—you have to
savor the thought of Salaita, who fashioned himself into a martyr
wronged by a shady Zionist cabal for criticizing Israel, being now
slammed a second time by a university few can accuse of abundant love
for the Jewish state.
The university was reached for comment, but provided none as of yet. Updates as they come.
Here's betting that Salaita lands at Bir Zeit on the Hudson... or at the Islamic University of Gaza. Heh.
Labels: Beirut, Edward Said, liberal academia