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Did Steven Salaita Just Lose His Job at American University of Beirut?

The disgraced professor, thrown out in Illinois for vile anti-Semitic sentiments, appears to have been tossed out from the Lebanon university based on a petition circulating among students

Liel Leibovitz
April 13, 2016

Some bigots just can’t catch a break. Having been jettisoned from a tenure-track position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for expressing vile and violent anti-Semitic sentiments on social media, Steven Salaita found refuge at American University of Beirut, where he was hired as the Edward W. Said Chair of American Studies.

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.

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.