Hate Speech

Steven Salaita and the Tyranny of 'Hate Speech'

"Hate" is in the eye of the beholder.

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Last week, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Trustees voted 8-to-1 to deny a tenured position to Steven Salaita, a professor who had been slated to start teaching there this semester. Salaita's job offer was initially rescinded in response to outcry over statements he tweeted about Gaza and Israel, which some have labeled "hate speech."  

Two weeks before his scheduled August start date, Salaita received the rejection letter from UIUC Chancellor Phyllis Wise, who had been meeting with concerned donors and alumni about Salaita's appointment. In a blog post, Wise explained that her decision "was not influenced in any way by his positions on the conflict in the Middle East nor his criticism of Israel." Rather, the school "cannot and will not tolerate…personal and disrespectful words or actions that demean and abuse either viewpoints themselves or those who express them."

"Is this meant to be serious?" asked Robert L. Shibley, senior vice president at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. "If I am an Illinois student or professor, am I actually to be prohibited from 'disrespectfully' 'abusing' ideas with which I disagree? What about racism, fascism, or communism? What if I am 'disrespectful' of a colleague or fellow student's belief that the world is flat, or that the Sun circles the Earth?"

In other words, a policy against 'disrespectfully abusing' ideas can never be divorced from the content of those ideas. This is not merely about Salaita's tone, but the fact that those who felt disrespected were able to view his comments as hate speech—a form of expression designed to disparage or intimidate a protected group. In the United States, hate speech is only considered beyond the bounds of protected expression when it's intended to incite imminent violence. But university speech codes have for decades pushed the limits of limiting expression, and lately we've been seeing a resurgence of hate-speech mission creep. 

Josh Cooper, a UIUC senior who collected more than 1,000 signatures on a petition against Salaita's appointment, told university Trustees that "hate speech is never acceptable for those applying for a tenured position…[and] yes, there must be a relationship between free speech and civility." According to Cooper, the incivil nature of Salaita's social media presence is a "mechanism for silencing alternative views."

In more than 100 tweets between late July and August 1, Salaita condemned Zionism and Israel's bombing of Gaza in an impassioned, blunt, and emotional manner. But nothing jumped out at me as being clearly hateful or beyond the realm of non-psychotic discourse. Here's a sample:

Zionists: take responsibility. If you support #Israel, fine, but you don't get to pretend you also support democracy or human rights. #Gaza

"#Hamas makes us do it!" This logic isn't new. American settlers used it frequently in slaughtering and displacing Natives. #Gaza

It seems the only way #Obama and #Kerry can satisfy #Israel's Cabinet is if they bludgeon Palestinian children with their own hands.  #Gaza

I repeat: if you're defending #Israel right now, then "hopelessly brainwashed" is your best prognosis.

Controversial statements? Sure, but nothing too far from Twitter-discourse norms. And certainly not enough to ascertain Salaita as an unhinged, anti-Semitic monster. The charges of anti-Semitism seem to hinge on one Tweet, which has been passed around by media and critics as where Salaita crossed the line:

Zionists: transforming 'anti-Semitism' from something horrible into something honorable since 1948.

That does sound pretty terrible—taking the actions of Israel or Zionists as indicative of all Jewish people and thus justification for opposing them wholly is pretty much textbook racism. But here's his tweet immediately preceding it:

If it's 'antisemitic' to deplore colonization, land theft, and child murder, then what choice does any person of conscience have? #Gaza

Salaita was criticizing what he sees as a Zionist tendency to accuse anyone who defends Gaza of being an anti-Semite. The "honorable" anti-Semitism he referred to was in relation to this first tweet—if supporting Gaza makes one an anti-Semite, then anti-Semitism is honorable. 

And let's remember that we are talking about tweets, not statements Salaita made in the classroom or any sort of academic context. The director of UIUC's American Indian Studies department, where Salaita was to teach, dismissed the idea that Salaita—previously a professor at Virginia Tech—would be hostile to students with differing viewpoints. "Nothing is nearly so obvious as Salaita's detractors would have us believe," said director Robert Warrior in a statement to the Trustees. "In our review of Salaita's teaching, American Indian Studies found no evidence of anything but strong teaching, motivated by what seems like a sincere interest in allowing every student the chance to broaden their skills in critical thinking."

But to critics, the non-academic nature of Salaita's statements doesn't matter. Because they are hate speech, they contribute to an unsafe campus evironment. Hiring Salaita would "come uncomfortably and irresponsibly close to endorsing violence against individuals or groups of people," stated a Chicago Tribune editorial. "There's room for profanity, vitriol and provocative language, but there's no reason to make room for hate speech."

But if profanity, vitriol, and provocative language have no bearing here, what exactly does make something hate speech? This is the ever-shifting goal post. Let's take a look at several more examples where hate speech accusations have been leveled recently.

On the campus of Canada's Carleton University, college administrators are investigating photos of students wearing shirts that said "Fuck Safe Space." The school's safe space policy designates all university space as "anti-oppressive" and free of hate speech, racism, misogyny, homophobia, and swearing. Denigrating the safe space policy, some argued, might be de facto hate speech. 

In Brooklyn earlier this month, a woman was charged with a "hate crime" for expressing anti–New York Police Department sentiment in her graffiti, including "NYPD pick on the innocent" and "a wrongful arrest is a crime." 

Students at Yale have been objecting to the school's inviting Ayaan Hirsi Ali to give a talk on campus. Ali is a Somalian feminist and vocal critic of Islam (including here in the pages of Reason, where she says "there is no moderate Islam"). Thirty-five student groups co-signed a letter from the Yale Muslim Students Association saying that such comments about Islam should "have been classified as hate speech."

The same charge was lobbed by Yale students at Reverend Bruce Shipman, a Yale chaplain who penned a short letter about Israel for The New York Times recently. Shipman cautioned against making too little of the relationship between Israel's actions and rising anti-Semitism in Europe, concluding that, "as hope for a two-state solution fades and Palestinian casualties continue to mount, the best antidote to anti-Semitism would be for Israel's patrons abroad to press the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for final-status resolution to the Palestinian question." On both Yale's campus and in the media, Shipman was accused of justifying racism and hate.

But "Rev. Shipman's comments would hardly have been construed as hate speech if he swapped Israel for Russia and Gaza for Ukraine," suggested Yale student Adrian Lo in a Yale Daily News column.

And this gets to the crux of hate speech hypocrisy. Ideologues on all sides invoke hate speech as if it's some sort of ironclad classification—as if obviously their side's speech is protected, neutral commentary, while the other's side's speech is clearly different, dangerous, full of secret biases and malicious intent. But "hate" is in the eye of the beholder. In practice, the distinction between hate speech and acceptable discourse necessarily turns on a million subjective value judgements. And the subjective nature of determining hate speech makes it a useful weapon for stifling dissent. 

In Salaita's statement, he invoked UIUC's documented deference to donors in his case as an example of "the ability of wealthy donors and the politically powerful to create exceptions" to the principles of academic fredom that "should be worrying to all scholars and teachers." David Sessions, a journalist and Boston College PhD graduate student, wrote in an open letter ot Chancellor Wise that "UIUC's handling of the Salaita case is alarming because it raises the possibility—in fact, it all but guarantees—that universities will allow scholars' social media prescences to be turned into weapons by their political opponents." 

Designating something hate speech is an effective rhetorical tool because it makes some arguments just not fit to be reckoned with. The speaker does not have to be taken seriously. There's no need to examine why the argument might make people feel unsafe or uncomfortable, nor consideration of what potential value lies in it being aired. Once hate speech has been accused and civility invoked, we're supposed to tread lightly as far as First Amendment protections are concerned. 

But "a democracy can flourish only with a robustly open public sphere where conflicting opinions can vigorously engage one another," as the American Historical Association wrote in a letter to UIUC.

Such a public sphere rests on the recognition that speech on matters of public concern is often emotional and that it employs a variety of idioms and styles. Hence American law protects not only polite discourse but also vulgarity, not only sweet rationality but also impassioned denunciation. Civility is a laudable ideal, and many of us with that American public life had more of it today….But the requirement of "civility" on speech in the university community or in any other sector of our public sphere—and punishing infractions—can only backfire. Such a policy produces a chilling effect, inhibiting the full expression of ideas that both scholarly investigation and  democratic institutions need.

Salaita noted that his long history of academic, professional, and online writing "indicates quite strongly and clearly" that he is "opposed to all forms of bigotry and racism, including anti-Semitism." But though shorter Twitter statements can be more easily misconstrued, there is still value in them. "I was tweeting from moments of dismay from what is happening in Gaza, and in that sense the tweets serve as a useful record of a particular moment in time." 

If Salaita decides to bring a lawsuit against the university, the case will likely turn on contract law and whether he had earned any employee protections by virtue of having accepted the university's job offer, though there could also be constitutional claims. In any event, Salaita's story speaks to a larger, worrying devaluation of free speech in 21st century academia. "I think of the civil rights movement, I think of the anti-war movement and the role the chaplains played in that, often incurring the wrath of big givers and donors of the university," said Rev. Shipman, "but they were protected and they were respected. That seems not to be the case now." 

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131 responses to “Steven Salaita and the Tyranny of 'Hate Speech'

  1. Am I only one who was shocked to discover that his incendiary comments were against Israel? I would think a university would give him an endowed chair for comments like these!

    1. The comments pulled the curtain back a little too far.

    2. What briannnnn said

      1. Ya! He’s the best!!!

        1. YOU again

          *stares*

          1. Just a drop of black blood (referring to my name race fuckers) can spoil the whole thing…

    3. It may have had something to do with the concerned “donors”.

  2. Ideologues on all sides invoke hate speech as if it’s some sort of ironclad classification-as if obviously their side’s speech is protected, neutral commentary, while the other’s side’s speech is clearly different, dangerous, full of secret biases and malicious intent

    No, not really. The left invokes the ‘hate speech’ canard. That it sometimes is directed at their own doesn’t change that it’s their tactic. The right invokes it when pointing out that the left has said something that they’d call hate speech if anyone else uttered it. And that is not the same.

    1. That’s not true, look at those on the right who talk about ‘hate speech’ aimed at conservative Christian groups.

      1. yaaaaaaaaaaawn

            1. You married a Catholic, didn’t you? It would go a long way in explaining things.

              1. Catholics are certainly not the only group on the Right that does the hate speech squawk

            2. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNNNN

            3. I don’t count Catholics

              1. Conveniently.

                But fine, google anti Christian hate speech

              2. I count Catholics when I have trouble falling asleep.

          1. From your first link:

            It is hate speech. But it won’t be called that because to liberals “freedom of speech” means you can engage in hate speech against Christians any time you want and they will applaud.

            And what Azathoth wrote:

            The right invokes it when pointing out that the left has said something that they’d call hate speech if anyone else uttered it.

            Seems like an awfully good match to me…

      2. And those on the right who cry ‘anti-Semitism’ at any speaker criticizing Israel.

        Both sides are good at this type of thing.

        1. Crying ‘anti-Semitism’ is akin to crying ‘Racist’, not “hate speech”.

          1. Yes, should have said cry anti-Semitic hate speech. Google the term for examples.

            1. Oh I don’t disagree that both sides engage in silliness, just quibbling about the semantics.

      3. Who? Name a few

        1. Which, the Christian conservative or the anti-Semite? I’ve just posted four of the former.

    2. The right invokes it when pointing out that the left has said something that they’d call hate speech if anyone else uttered it. And that is not the same.

      While I get your point, I think you’re wrong. Yes, the left created the “offense” and largely legitimized the concept. Still, there are some elements of the right that have proven willing to wield that crudgel, given it’s been legitimized.

      What I think gets glossed over is how plausibly one can expect one party in the fight to refrain from making use of a weapon the other side legitimized and made ample use of. Well, that and how one can plausibly expect its used to fall into disfavor if those who legitmized the tactic know that the other side is expected to be effectively barred from its use.

      1. I think I agree with your first paragraph. The left seems to have coined the term and invoke it more, but many on the right don’t mind weilding it regularly

        1. …but many on the right don’t mind weilding it regularly

          Well, why whouldn’t they? If the left wants to use that weapon, how long did they think it was going to take for people on the right to pick it up? And honestly, what moral principle to they have to object based on? If they want to designate speech as illegitimate because it’s “hateful” to gays or women or blacks, I really don’t see why they think it’s okay to direct their offensiveness to Jews or Catholics or fundies.

        2. I think the problem here is a simplistic division into left/right; that kind of reprehensible and dishonest conduct has little to do with left/right political orientation.

          Catholics, progressives, and communists are in many ways quite similar. They all believe that they alone have the answer to all of humanity’s problems and that it is their job to impose their beliefs on their fellow human beings by any means available, be it dishonesty or violence. Frivolous claims of hate speech are among the least of their sins.

        3. While I deplore the idea that “hate speech” is somehow not protected by the First Amendment (why would we need a Constitutional Amendment to protect speech that everybody liked?), using the concept to club the Left briskly about the head and neck is only what they asked for when they came up with it in the first place.

          One can hope for an outbreak of reason, but a far more reliable way to get the whole business ash-canned is to show that it is a weapon that cuts both ways.

          The Left is addicted to hate speech. Good Gods, look at the swill they spouted about George Bush! If one teeth of hat he was accused of by the Left had any taint of reality, the accusers would have vanished in the middle of the night. Whereas they seem to be in disgustingly good health.

  3. Question: Would rescinding the offer be OK if it came about because students and alumni said they would cut off revenue stream were this guy hired?

    I mean, at some point, we are dealing with the market here. If customers don’t like what you’re offering, and let you know, are you now bad for changing direction?

    1. What difference – at this point – does it make?

      1. True. But I’m wondering if it would have received criticism from the writer if it had happened under my scenario.

    2. It’s probably not a tenured position of he’s just starting by the way. More likely it was tenure track. I also want to point out that it is prudent to keep your thoughts to yourself until you get tenure. After that, say whatever you want..ml.

    3. The article is pointing out a trend. This particular case would be less relevant if the stated reasons were market based, but even then, the fact that a community would reject someone entirely for an offense like this would be noteworthy.

    4. No, it wouldn’t be OK. We aren’t dealing with the market, we are dealing with a public university receiving a shitload of basic funding and research grants from public funds.

      It would be OK if it were a private university.

  4. hate speech?a form of expression designed to disparage or intimidate a protected group

    I think I see the problem here.

    1. How dare you imply that there shouldn’t be “protected groups”.

      You’re just a big meany!

        1. And there are a lot of us out here.

  5. But nothing jumped out at me as being clearly hateful or beyond the realm of non-psychotic discourse.

    Really?

    Rednecks need a new slogan. Instead of “kick their ass and take their gas,” how about “#Gaza is a disaster, but Netanyahu is my master”?

    Invoking the old anti-Semitic canard that Jews control certain segments of the America population in thrall via the media and/or government isn’t “clearly hateful or beyond the realm of non-psychotic discourse”?

    Zionists: transforming ‘anti-Semitism’ from something horrible into something honorable since 1948.

    That does sound pretty terrible?taking the actions of Israel or Zionists as indicative of all Jewish people and thus justification for opposing them wholly is pretty much textbook racism. But here’s his tweet immediately preceding it:

    If it’s ‘antisemitic’ to deplore colonization, land theft, and child murder, then what choice does any person of conscience have? #Gaza”.

    Yes, Elizabeth, let’s pretend that ‘implicature’ isn’t a thing.

    1. Since “hate speech” is a made up term, I’d have to side with ENB on this one.

      1. Who said anything about “hate speech”? I’m talking about Salaita’s out right lies.

        Unless, of course, you believe that American “rednecks” are enthrall to the Zionist – Illuminati – Reptilian Shape-shifting Aliens axis?

        1. Ima go with “ain’t many of those folks know what a Gaza is, much less what the Zionists want”

        2. We aren’t?

          Damn, I need to get my implant recalibrated.

          In my defense (no defense at all really) I don’t think I fully comprehended what you were saying before I mouthed off.

          1. Here’s the thing; I may not agree with what Salaita has to say, but I’ll defend to the death his right to say it.

            1. “but I’ll defend to the death his right to say it.”

              Somehow I doubt it. Picture you standing somewhere and he talks and someone holds a gun to your head and says “shout out for him to shut up or I’ll pull the trigger”.

              My money is that you will think about your IRA, your beer, your family and everything else and decide NOT to defend him to your death.

      2. I agree that hate speech is a made up term, but in defense of the school, don’t they retain freedom of association?

    2. Yeah….reading a few of his tweets, he seemed to be trying to appear to only be criticizing Isreal, but the mask slipped more than once.

      1. You know, for a professor of Native American Studies, his CV is really lacking in books about, you know, Native Americans.

        Modern Arab American Fiction: A Reader’s Guide. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2011.
        Israel’s Dead Soul. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011.
        The Uncultured Wars: Arabs, Muslims, and the Poverty of Liberal Thought.
        London and New York: Zed Books: 2008.
        Arab American Literary Fictions, Cultures, and Politics. London and New York:Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
        The Holy Land in Transit: Colonialism and the Quest for Canaan. Syracuse:
        Syracuse University Press, 2006.
        Anti-Arab Racism in the USA: Where It Comes From and What It Means for
        Politics Today. London and Ann Arbor: Pluto Press, 2006.

        Those outside academia might not realize how important publishing in your field is for deciding on tenure and advancement through professorial ranks. If the dude already published six books about Arabs, why isn’t he looking for jobs as a professor of Arab Studies?

        1. When I was working on my thesis on Middle English Lit. in the early 2000s, I was encouraged to find a way to tie it in to Islamic Studies in some way, as that was going to be a hot thing (read: grant money) in the years to come.

          I have an idea that this fellow was told something similar and did something comparing the Arabs to the Native Americans in some way his thesis committee got excited about.

          If the right people were on his thesis committee, stepping into the job may not have been that tough, and jobs in Arab Studies may be over-supplied for at this point.

          He does sound like a grade-A douche, though.

          1. I get having broad interests. I also agree that Arab Studies positions are probably chock-full; however, it’s weird that he made Associate Prof. in English and now wants to jump to Native American Studies despite not publishing a lot in that field. It seems he’s pretty much looking for any job in the Humanities where he can ride his hobby horse despite what the actual title of the position is.

            1. I see – I didn’t realize he was coming from the English Dept. and trying to transfer to Native American Studies. I’m a bit mystified that he got a job in an English Dept. in the first place. When I was on the market, even jobs for medievalists would get over a hundred fully qualified applicants. He must be related to somebody.

              All told, this guy seems pretty expendable – they may just have been looking for some excuse to deny his tenure and get rid of him.

            2. Ah, but (fill in the black) Studies programs are transparently sinecures for the Politically Chic. There’s really no other explanation for the overall derangement of the faculty of such programs. That’s where the Liberal Intellectual Establishment stashes Trendy Thinkers they want to support. It’s been done that way at colleges and universities since it was the Aristocracy providing livings for their pet hacks.

    3. Invoking the old anti-Semitic canard that Jews control certain segments of the America population in thrall

      I don’t see how that follows. It says that the wishes of Israel’s leaders are given too much weight by US politicians, nothing more and nothing less. It doesn’t allege any conspiracy, and doesn’t relate to Judaism or Jewish ethnicity in general.

      Many people (including me) see Israel as no different from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Pakistan: relations with those countries are of no net benefit to the US, and US politicians should stop wasting time and money on dealing with them.

  6. “While the university stands by the decision not to hire Professor Salaita, we will continue to welcome all speakers to our campus.”

    I hope some campus organization believes this and tries to bring in Lynne Cheney or Ayaan Hirsi Ali to give a speech because I’m long in popcorn.

    1. “We will welcome speakers to our campus, but we will not necessarily allow them to speak. Just as we do with, say, cowpunchers.”

  7. US universities have the intolerance and totalitarian mindset of ISIS- but it’s a lot more expensive.

  8. I’ve mentioned this before. You cannot stand on a street corner with a sign that reads “Repeal the 19th Amendment”. You’ll be in jail and likely in the booby hatch for a psychiatric evaluation after that. This is even though a woman’s right to vote was hotly contested less than a century ago, when no one on either side of the debate would have been hauled away.

    The ratchet on free speech suppression at Universities is just a notch or two ahead of where it is in other forums.

    1. I’m pretty sure you can stand on a street corner with a sign saying that. Just google “repeal women’s sufferage” and there are videos of people signing petitions to repeal the 19th Amendment.

      Most people don’t know what an Amendment is, anyway.

      1. “I’m pretty sure you can stand on a street corner with a sign saying that.”

        “Most people don’t know what an Amendment is, anyway.”

        I think the latter is enabling the former.

  9. Invoking the old anti-Semitic canard that Jews control certain segments of the America population in thrall via the media and/or government isn’t “clearly hateful or beyond the realm of non-psychotic discourse”?

    Not in academia. I imagine a game of “Who said it: A Nazi or an American professor” could be quite entertaining.

    1. I like your game ideas, and would be interested in subscribing to any newsletters you may publish.

    2. Ashkenazi Jews might be more Italian than Semitic. Zionism is a slow motion attempt by the Roman Empire to retake Palestine.

      There’s a bit about jewishness only being handed down on the mother’s side I don’t understand.

      Anyway:

      http://www.geneticliteracyproj…..y-asserts/

      1. The popularity of The Jersey Shore is therefore explained as part of a sinister Zionist plot.

        There used to be a daytime radio show in LA, in the mid 90’s, where some conspiracy theorist KKK guy called in about Seinfeld, saying that it was a “show about Jews, and the only non-Jew, Kramer, is made to look like a buffoon.”
        The hosts immediately hired this caller to do all of their movie/entertainment reviews.

        Way off topic, but it was better than getting back to work.

        1. That’s funny. I would swear that “Seinfeld” was a show about buffoons and Kramer was the only one who wasn’t a total hypocrite.

          Besides that, it was George Costanza who wasn’t Jewish. Being of Greek extraction, he would most likely be Greek Orthodox, lapsed of course.

          Not that I think religion was important to a show about a bunch of self-centered, hypocritical buffoons. People like that can be found everywhere.

  10. The concept of speech police is ridiculous – who are they protecting and from what?!?
    If it is the students they should be exposed to as many viewpoints as possible, that way they can discern the truth for themselves which is largely the role of the university in the first place – to create people that can think for themselves not merely parrot the party line as dictated as appropriate by the University administration.

    Of course gutless progressives want to shut down debate and only have ideas they agree with on campus because most of their ideas lose most of their appeal when confronted with facts.

    1. [If it is] the students they should be exposed to as many viewpoints as possible

      Who is paying for this? I don’t want my kid to be subjected to training in levitation and swimming as if they are the same.

    2. Triggers, speech police protect people, especially protected classes, who apparently lack the ability to self regulate emotions.

  11. You know who else was criticized for making statements about groups of people that many perceived as “hateful”…

    1. Andrew Dice Clay? Sam Kineson?

      1. You are only allowed one guess.

        1. Foiled again!

    2. Donald Sterling?

  12. Once you start judging speech on content or viewpoint, then protected speech just becomes what a majority agrees about. The whole point of protecting speech in the first place is protecting offensive, minority, and/or totally pointless speech, not “worthy” or “popular” speech.

    Identity issues like harassment, discrimination, hate crimes, etc. are going to destroy freedom of speech if we’re not careful.

  13. Why didn’t the university simply say, “We don’t want someone with those worldviews working here?” Being a predominately Christian, Hamas-hatin country, most consumers or potential consumers would probably be ok with that.

    Just like if, say, Berkley would come out and say, “Conservatives need not apply.” That wouldn’t shield them from criticism, but would also likely boost their appeal to Left Coasters.

    The hate speech canard is as dangerous as any out there today.

    1. Why didn’t the university simply say, “We don’t want someone with those worldviews working here?” Being a predominately Christian, Hamas-hatin country, most consumers or potential consumers would probably be ok with that.

      Well, UIUC, being a public land-grant university, kinda puts a damper on that with the whole taxpayer’s money thing.

    2. “The hate speech canard is as dangerous as any out there today.”

      I would have disagreed a few years ago, as Universities kept losing and revising, losing and revising, their speech codes, whenever they’d be challenged in court. That pesky First Amendment kept getting in the way of things.

      But now that “hate speech” hysteria is spilling over into the private arena, and people are losing their jobs after donating to political initiatives, and so forth, it is getting pretty scary.

      It’s made me think a lot on the foundations of libertarian philosophy, and about how I’d sort of always taken a great deal of social tolerance to be inseparable from it. But now, I don’t think this is the case, unfortunately. It’s probably fully consistent with libertarian politics to have an extremely intolerant and socially repressive society. If you’re shunned and no one will deal with you because you said X, or you don’t believe Y, or whatever, it’d still be a sucky society in which to live. Even if the government leaves you alone.

      1. If society disagrees with your position on X, but still leaves you alone with all liberties intact, isn’t that the very definition of ‘tolerance’? Doesn’t tolerance assume a disagreement?

        Tolerance doesn’t mean that nobody will shun you or choose not to associate with you due to your POV, just that they won’t drop you in speech or idea jail for thinking differently.

        1. Yes, but that’s why I specified “social tolerance” as opposed to “political tolerance.”

      2. But now that “hate speech” hysteria is spilling over into the private arena

        Private institutions are free to restrict speech in whatever way they like.

        It’s probably fully consistent with libertarian politics to have an extremely intolerant and socially repressive society.

        Of course it is. If you espouse unpopular viewpoints, you’ll have a lousy life. But you’ll still have a less lousy life than if you have an unpopular viewpoint that is also declared illegal by the government.

        1. Yes. You may not be able to get a job or feed yourself, but at least you won’t be in jail… right?

          I guess I always thought of a libertarian society society as being, while non-utopian, still the best of possible alternatives. While I still think that is the case, it’s potentially a LOT less utopian than I’d assumed. Yeah, I wouldn’t go to jail, but it’d suck to live in a society where virtually every business and commercial enterprise forbid their employees or clients from engaging in any unpopular activity.

          “Oh, you’re the guy who thinks ‘The Giving Tree’ isn’t sexist, who doesn’t believe in Allah, and thinks marijuana should be legal? Not only do we not want to employ you; don’t ever come into my business again!”

    3. Universities are free to do that… as soon as they stop taking public funds.

  14. Hiring Salaita would “come uncomfortably and irresponsibly close to endorsing violence against individuals or groups of people,” stated a Chicago Tribune editorial.

    Hmm. That editorial comes uncomfortably and irresponsibly close to hate speech.

  15. Related: “Appropriate discipline is being considered”. The assumption being that of course they should be punished.

    http://www.nbc4i.com/story/265…..tball-game

    1. Judge not lest ye be judged!

  16. as if obviously their side’s speech is protected, neutral commentary, while the other’s side’s speech is clearly different, dangerous, full of secret biases and malicious intent

    So, like a conversation with your wife then?

    1. Why are you are you malicious towards your wife?

      1. I blame the patriarchy

  17. Oh, one Leftist professor didn’t get tenure? I’m sure other profs there will pick up any slack on the indoctrination the students may have missed.

    While this sort of thing bugs me, I’m sorry: if just cracks me up when they eat their own.

    Go teach in Palestine, dipshit. See how they like it when you apply your critical acumen toward Hamas.

    1. Gaza has four universities: University of Palestine, Islamic University of Gaza, al-Asqa University, and al-Azhar University ? Gaza. Salaita could be there right now, educating his people and positively contributing to their society while earning renown and advancing in his career.

      Yet he chooses not to.

      1. At which one was it where they tossed the prof out the window for daring to declare that some words in the Koran had non-Arabic origins? Or was that in Egypt? I’m too lazy to look it up now. But it was a Great Moment in Islamic Education.

        1. That would have been Suliman Bashear during his time at the University of Nablus. His wife denies that it happened, but I’d say that too if I, you know, didn’t want to die.

          1. “His wife denies that it happened, out of fear of being pushed out of a third story window.”

  18. hate speech = any speech that I hate

  19. I think Elizabeth is a cutey. But she falls on a bit on this. What she fails to mention is that Salaita is a complete nutcase whose scholarly work is terrible. He is not qualified to teach anywhere.

    The first thing one learns about Salaita is that very little of what he has written seems to have anything to do with the field of study in which he claims expertise and in which he was offered a job, American Indian Studies. Look at the shelf of works authored by Salaita and you’ll see Arab American Literary Fictions, Cultures and Politics; Anti-Arab Racism in the USA: Where it Comes from and What it Means for Politics Today; Modern Arab American Fiction: A Reader’s Guide; a review of a book about Hamas, in which Salaita refers to the terrorist group as “an often contradictory and always compelling social movement”; and other titles that have absolutely nothing to do with the Sioux or the Seminoles. Salaita’s most notable work about Native Americans, The Holy Land in Transit, compares them to the Palestinians.

    1. One could argue that such a dearth of publications in a scholar’s stated area of scholarship is telling; but for the sake of grace, let us ignore Salaita’s singular dedication to Palestinian and Arab political causes?an approach more befitting of an activist’s dogmatic and narrow focus than of a scholar’s commitment to curiosity and open-mindedness?and assume that his work transcends the boundaries of discipline and is somehow instructive even if not on topic.

      Sadly, reading Salaita’s work does not reward such generosity of spirit. Take, for example, the title of his latest book: Israel’s Dead Soul. Given that the book was published by a serious university press and is therefore bound by more stringent expectations than the ones that govern Twitter, why the inflammatory title?

      http://www.tabletmag.com/jewis…..work?all=1

      If Julius Striker came up for a job would Elizabeth want him hired in the name of free speech? Really, come one find a better example than this clown.

      1. Agreed – this is a PhD with no academic record of disctinction; essentially an affirmative action hire in an area outside of his field, with a history of incendiary remarks. I would be MORE offended if taxpayer dollars were used to fund his tenured appointment.

      2. Except he’s not being canned for his weak academic record, he’s being canned for his controversial tweets. Other than that, great point.

    2. “I think Elizabeth is a cutey.”

      Egad, Elizabeth needs to get a new picture for her byline. That picture looks like someone is holding a gun to her head and telling her she better smile.

    3. That was one of the first things I noticed when this little spat gained attention–it seems rather odd that someone who’s focused on Arab-Palestinian topics his whole career would ever be considered for Native American Studies. Tweets aside, it sounds like the university got temporarily dazzled by the chance to get a relative academic celebrity (to be fair i’d never heard of the guy but academia is a different universe) and the chancellor put the kibosh on their star-chasing.

  20. There is a dude that seems a tad bit full of himself.

    http://www.Crypt-Tools.tk

    1. Excellent insight, Anon-bot.

      1. Anon-bot is kind of like the Magic 8-Ball of H&R.

  21. Several things that seem to be confusing:
    1. I don’t see where his free speech rights are relevant. No-one is threatening to arrest him.
    2. No-one seems to be able to say what his offer letter and contract actually said- I’m not a lofty academic, just a dumb industrial PhD, but when I get offer letters, they are conditional on me passing background checks, drug tests, and reference checks. If I wrote, “3 black kids are missing. I hope the rest go missing as well” in a public forum, my offer would be swiftly rescinded.
    3. ENB carefully left out some of his more incendiary and clearly anti-semitic comments.
    4. If he had tweeted, “Negroes back to Africa where you belong!” the same folks screaming, “Academic freedom!” would be screaming, “No bigotry on our campus!”

    1. She also left out the fact that he was hired to a position teaching Native American studies but hasn’t seemed to have done any work in the field. The offer was nothing but the usual pay off to the fascist left.

      If he had been hired to teach say mathematics and was brilliant at that but also had really appalling views, this would be a different story. But he wasn’t hired to do that. He was hired in a field he had no record or expertise in. His only qualification seems to be being an anti-Semite.

      1. I haven’t seen his CV so I have no idea what he has published wrt to Indians.

          1. You were kind enough to not specify if that was his entire published record. Is it?

      2. Regarding his published works, I think he’s trying to fight the expansion of America through the Israel-Palestine issue.

        Probably thinks he’s seeing 1800’s America in modern Israel, and wants to fight it. Not that I agree, but I can understand if he sees Israel as a teaching point for NA Studies.

        1. Haven’t the Indians suffered enough, but now they’ve got to be compared to Hamas? Cripes …

    2. I think the point is that we have a conflict when public universities, paid largely by tax dollars, hire and fire people based on political preferences related to someone’s private speech.

  22. ‘Josh Cooper, a UIUC senior who collected more than 1,000 signatures on a petition against Salaita’s appointment, told university Trustees that “hate speech is never acceptable for those applying for a tenured position? [and] yes, there must be a relationship between free speech and civility.” ‘ Mr. Cooper: Never, ever, EVER go on the Internet. For the sake of preserving your narrative and making sure the Ivory Tower does not get tarnished, do not go to the verbal equivalent of a continuous bar brawl. You will be shocked that, not only does your wishing fail to jibe with how things actually work, you will find your world does not exist beyond campus.

  23. According to Cooper, the incivil nature of Salaita’s social media presence is a “mechanism for silencing alternative views.”

    So, silencing alternative views is Cooper’s mechanism for preventing a “mechanism for silencing alternative views”?

    Do such people even listen to the words coming out of their pieholes?

  24. His positions don’t seem that out of line with academia.

    If it’s ‘antisemitic’ to deplore colonization, land theft, and child murder, then what choice does any person of conscience have? #Gaza

    Maybe not letting your theses proceed from bullshit?

    1. Hyperbole isn’t an argument. PhD’s are in the business of making solid, evidence-based arguments. He doesn’t sound like a good choice for a tenure position.

  25. Let’s clear something up. No one is being accused of anti-Semitism simply because they criticize the Israeli government or its actions. The accusation of anti-Semitism comes from spreading lies about the Israeli government and its actions and repeating as fact the statements of a racist, genocidal terrorist group like Hamas. The accusation comes from turning a blind eye to Hamas’ stated policies of subjugating women, abusing children, hanging gays, and executing dissenters, while promising the destruction Israel and the murder of all Jews. The accusation comes from accusing Jews of the most horrific atrocities known to man when every shred of evidence contradicts such claims.

    If Salaita was being considered for a professorship, then all his public writings, including on social media, are relevant. When those writings show an abject disdain for the truth, and a willingness to spread the lies of a radical terrorist group, then the man’s commitment to academic rigor must be questioned. Would a university with a reputation to protect hire a person who spread conspiracy theories involving the Illuminate, the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations? I don’t think so.

  26. Reason defends an anti-Semite in a tenure dispute. Disgusting.

    1. I think this is REASON’S “ACLU Defends Nazis Marching in Skokie” moment.

      The guy should never have been offered any position, based on his being a terrorist sympathizer and having, as all such people must, only a casual and uncommitted relationship with the concept of “truth”.

      As we used to say back in the day of the actual real “Free Speech Movement”…fuck that.

  27. “According to Cooper, the incivil nature of Salaita’s social media presence is a “mechanism for silencing alternative views.”

    Says the guy trying to get Salaita fired. These people are beyond parody.

  28. The real tyranny isn’t the issue of hate speech, but rather tax supported public Colleges and Universities, where little Hitlers are afforded a salary to enforce such nonsense as “hate speech.”

    Suggested Constitutional Amendment: The Congress and the States shall make no law regarding, nor shall they collect any taxes for, nor shall they issue any debt for the support of, any educational institution with the exception of the military academies established by Congress.

    1. State universities are paid for with state, not federal, funds along with private donations and student tuition/fees. The most the federal government could do is withdraw education loan guarantees and force students to get expensive loans on the private market. That would reduce the ability of the poor and middle class to get college degrees and reduce class mobility.

  29. I’m surprised by this. Usually it’s only hate speech if your condemn Islamic terrorism and support Israel. I figured for making anti-Zionist, vaguely anti-Semitic, statements he would have been promoted to department chair.

    1. Oh, yeah, what a surprise, you were wrong about something….

  30. “Controversial statements? Sure, but nothing too far from Twitter-discourse norms. And certainly not enough to ascertain Salaita as an unhinged, anti-Semitic monster”.

    “And let’s remember that we are talking about tweets, not statements Salaita made in the classroom or any sort of academic context”.

    So he only said it where the whole world can view it. It’s not like he said it to a small group of people. That makes it okay and he should only be denied tenure if he is an “unhinged , anti-semetic monster”. ENB if you need to use hyperbole and convoluted comparisons you might want to rethink your article.

  31. Hate speech; another absurdity brought to you by the LEFT. It is funny that finally some one with a better tan than I have get called on it but I am supposed a bit since he is spouting the leftist line and he gets censured.

    1. People differently colored than you are constantly being accused of hate speech, dummy. A lot of black people and Muslims are very anti-gay and anti-feminist, those cunts aren’t politically correct, you fucking idiot. Man this thread is really bringing out the dumb.

  32. There are a number of issues with the arguments presented here.

    1) If spending money is a free exercise and choosing to not purchase from companies or donate to causes you disagree with is acceptable, then wealthy donors are perfectly within their rights to withhold future donations if they disagree with anything an organization, or university, does. This is basic market pressure.

    2) If you’re going to give someone tenure and make them especially difficult to fire, be sure to choose the sorts of people that aren’t going to create problems for the university in the future; be conservative in your choices. Poor judgement in one’s private life is a good indicator of future problems. Whether Salaita’s twitter comments rise to this level is subjective.

    3) Hate speech is highly subjective at its margins but there are areas with fairly universal understanding. (Though there is not a common agreement about whether hate speech deserves additional restrictions.) For example, if I spray paint on my neighbor’s home, that’s vandalism. If I spray paint a swastika on a home occupied by Jews, that’s more than vandalism; it’s a threat. The law, however, still calls it vandalism. If we limit our discussion of hate speech to the grey areas and then extrapolate that to include more threatening and less grey situations, we’ve created a strawman.

    Free speech isn’t free from consequences.

  33. BuckyBall neodymium magnet cube is with strong magnetic which makes it possible to compose hundreds of millions of geometric patterns. It’s also with high entertainment and creativity.

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