Chancellor Wise Speaks

Chancellor Wise has been speaking to students at UIUC.

Here’s the lede in the campus paper’s report on her comments:

Looking back, Chancellor Phyllis Wise said she would have handled Steven Salaita’s case differently by being more deliberate and consulting with more people before sending him a letter on Aug. 1.

Ali Abunimah has the complete transcript of Wise’s comments. Here’s what she said:

I, in hindsight, wish I had been a little bit more deliberate and had consulted with more people before I made that decision

Well, at least she confirms what I wrote in my Salaita Papers post: “What’s most stunning about these documents is that they show how removed and isolated Chancellor Wise is from any of the academic voices in the university, even the academic voices on her own team. As she heads toward her August 2 decision to dehire Salaita, she is only speaking to and consulting with donors, alums, PR people, and development types.”

The campus newspaper report goes on:

“Because of the timing of this issue … I felt it was more humanitarian to let him know that he is unlikely to be appointed as soon as possible,’ Wise said.

Humanitarian? Methinks that word does not mean what she thinks it means. Or perhaps it does? #SamanthaPowerTime

And then there’s this:

Looking forward, Wise plans to create seminars to discuss academic freedom…

Ah, yes, the seminar on academic freedom. Here’s a thought, Chancellor Wise: rather than holding seminars on academic freedom, practice it.

Update (noon)

Chancellor Wise is now quoted in a local newspaper as saying “there have been some errors in the process. People are on campus and working before their appointments are approved by the board. We need to correct that.” So even she now concedes that there’s something funky about thinking you haven’t officially hired someone when they’re working and getting paid by the university. Let’s hope she keeps talking: every day she gives more ammunition to our side.

If you haven’t written to the Board of Trustees, please do so now. Here, again, are the email addresses (note: last three are not trustees). I recommend emailing them individually if you can.

Christopher G. Kennedy, Chair, University of Illinois Board of Trustees:

Robert A. Easter, President:

Hannah Cave, Trustee:

Ricardo Estrada, Trustee:

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, Trustee:

Lucas N. Frye, Trustee:

Karen Hasara, Trustee:

Patricia Brown Holmes, Trustee:

Timothy N. Koritz, Trustee: or

Danielle M. Leibowitz, Trustee:

Edward L. McMillan, Trustee: or

James D. Montgomery, Trustee:

Pamela B. Strobel, Trustee:

Thomas R. Bearrows, University Counsel:

Susan M. Kies, Secretary of the Board of Trustees and the University:

Lester H. McKeever, Jr., Treasurer, Board of Trustees:



  1. Shawn Smith September 4, 2014 at 11:23 am | #

    I don’t think it is looking good for Salaita getting re-instated.

    • NattyB September 4, 2014 at 5:26 pm | #

      I think it looks even worse for UIUC. They’re not backing down. And Salaita has very strong legal claims.

      They’re willing to burn down their entire university, and its reputation, for this.

  2. brianbreczinski September 4, 2014 at 11:37 am | #

    She wishes she had consulted more people to give her decision the appearance of fairness. A decision which I’m not sure she has the authority to make.

    How does the Chancellor at a major university have time to sit on the board of a bank? And doesn’t that have potential conflict-of-interest problems?

    This affair really illustrates the anti-academic environment that has grown up on some college campuses. “Oh, those foolish faculty, they can’t be trusted to make decisions like us big, important business/politics people.”

    • Neil Schipper September 4, 2014 at 5:06 pm | #

      It can be true that both have rather dropped the ball.

      The impulse to assign goodness to one party and evil to the other, while the most difficult challenges to our civilization remain unexplored, is the larger problem.

  3. Bor September 4, 2014 at 11:50 am | #

    Wise says:

    “What I can assure you is that even though as Provost Adesida said that both he and I are on the road a great deal to try and raise money for scholarships and also other issues like the renovation of Altgeld or the renovation of other buildings that whether or not someone had been a donor, is a donor, or would like to be a donor, is not at all considered in our decision. I think it is absolutely critical that we raise more money because the state is gradually decreasing the amount of money – and just today I saw the slide over the last twenty years – but that was not any factor in my decision”

    Is the position of Corey Robin that she is lying?

    • Corey Robin September 4, 2014 at 11:58 am | #

      Having had, I dare say, a bit more experience with administrators, both behind the scenes and in the public eye, than you have, Mr. Aptly Named Bor, particularly on this issue, I can assure you that there is a chasm of truth and fiction that lies between an administrator’s public pronouncement and her private reality. Though I must confess that I’m charmed by your ability to pose as the wise-guy realist, as you plummet down the slide of your own credulity. Anyway, carry on: didn’t want to interrupt your trip down.

      On Thu, Sep 4, 2014 at 11:50 AM, Corey Robin wrote:


      • Bor September 4, 2014 at 1:24 pm | #

        Oh my, the incivility is hurting my feelings. It’s almost as if I were a “Zionist” student or a kidnapped Israeli teenager and you were Salaita.

        Anyway, if we peel away the silly insults, your answer to the question of whether you’re accusing Wise of lying is: “…there is a chasm of truth and fiction that lies between an administrator’s public pronouncement and her private reality.”

        In other words, you believe she is lying.

        After this campaign for Salaita, I look forward to watching as the BDS movement binds itself into pretzel-like contortions as it tries to explain why Israeli academic institutions and academics don’t deserve to enjoy the same academic freedom that you claim is so precious to you.

        To demonstrate how absurd the movement’s position has become, compare Salaita supporters’ claims about preserving his academic freedom to Wise’s public statement in 2013 about boycotting Israel: “At Illinois, we value academic freedom as one of our core principles and cherish the critical importance of the ability of faculty to pursue learning, discovery and engagement without regard to political considerations.”

        Salaita’s lawyer couldn’t have said it better. And, in a few months when the boycott movement is back on track, its proponents will have to explain the “chasm of truth and fiction” between their position when one of theirs is affected, and their position when the Jewish state’s academics are affected. Hilarity will ensue, we can be sure.

      • David Green September 4, 2014 at 3:57 pm | #


        The contortions are on the side of those who oppose BDS on the basis of academic freedom and Salaita on the basis of “civility.” I covered that locally in this article last May:

      • Ligurio September 4, 2014 at 4:13 pm | #

        Not only is bor incapable of reading irony, s/he is incapable of inferential reasoning, and struggles to make conceptual distinctions of any kind. When you try to engage bor in debate, bor will merely repeat his/her earlier assertions. At some point, bor will bow out, claiming to have already addressed the points you are making. Bor is a troll, a boorish one, at that, and should be ignored.

      • bor September 4, 2014 at 5:34 pm | #


        As a member of JVP, you will be proud to learn that your organization developed a site purporting to track instances where opponents of Israel (that’s not what your organization called them, of course) were “muzzled.” It was essentially a running blog. Of course, their published blogs were critiqued by people who sought to challenge the claims made by your fellow JVPers in the comments section. The outcome was that within a couple of weeks the site, called, funnily enough, Muzzlewatch, stopped permitting comments entirely (at this point of telling this story, I can never help myself and always chuckle. Muzzlewatch, indeed!).

        So now, whenever I see a JVP member, I remind them that their organization is so weak on facts that even on a blog written and dominated by them, they did not have the courage to argue their position (because whenever they tried, they consistently lost). Obviously, the notion of “speech” and especially “free speech” is lost on JVP. They prefer to shut down opponents and to push full steam ahead with propaganda.

        That having been said, I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt, which your organization does not extend to Israelis or Israel’s supporters in debates, and I read your article just now. What can I report? My eyes glazed over and I nearly fell asleep. Most important, from your perspective, I wasn’t even mildly swayed by your opinions.

        Here is the AAUP (from their 2005 report on academic boycotts, though they repeat the idea (specifically referring to the boycott’s effect as stifling academic freedom) and link to this report in their criticism of the ASA’s boycott:

        “Academic boycotts…strike directly at the free exchange of ideas even as they are aimed at university administrations…”


        If you need evidence of this, consider the present boycott on UI, which is far milder than what BDS proponents seek against Israeli universities (and also, one with a relatively mild demand to have one scholar hired, unlike the ASA demand that their boycott end when Israel, a democracy in which ASA members do not vote, effectively destroy its present form as a country and eliminates the universal right of the Jewish nation to self-determination). Are you suggesting that academic freedom isn’t affected at UI because of this boycott? Are you suggesting that UI students and faculty aren’t suffering because of this boycott and their opportunities to learn, research and share their knowledge hampered? Are you suggesting that other scholars who would interact in canceled conferences or in lectures where they would meet colleagues and students and be challenged and engaged on their research aren’t having their rights curtailed?

        Of course they are. And this boycott pales in comparison to what BDS is seeking with respect to Israel’s boycott. So welcome to your new world. You now have to make up a whole bunch of excuses to explain the inexplicable. It is particularly delicious that this is happening because of a BDS activist who writes and tweets hateful material about “Zionists.”

        Oh, and lest you think that I’m cold-hearted, here is a small gift that I have for you. It describes the type of research you would boycott with your excuse that Israel is a “research laboratory” for weapons (as if China, Russia, Turkey, the US, North Korea, France, the UK and Iran aren’t, with at least four of those countries placing severe restrictions on their academics and citizens far beyond anything Israel does, but which aren’t targeted for boycott):

        Developed at Tel Aviv University.

      • bor September 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm | #

        Ligurio, get up from the desk and go do some Yoga. You’re hyperventilating.

      • Ligurio September 4, 2014 at 5:42 pm | #

        I hope you don’t mind if I don’t address your points.

      • bor September 4, 2014 at 5:47 pm | #

        Well, my feelings are hurt.

      • Neil Schipper September 4, 2014 at 8:18 pm | #

        David Green’s news-gazette article:

        BDS is a tactic in the struggle for justice in Palestine, and its effectiveness can be debated in good faith by movement supporters.

        Zionism is a tactic in the struggle for survival of an ethno-cultural-religious group (whose membership boundaries are socially-constructed and thus fuzzy-over-time), historically prone to weakness leading to significant herd culls by local super-majorities, and representing 0.2% of the world’s population (and a few of them do good math and invent stuff, a few of their models are hot, some of their billionaires are no more, and usually less, hubristic and narrow-minded than their Protestant or Chinese or Indian or UAEmirati or Mexican or ………. counterparts). Yet, Zionism cannot, cannot, cannot be “debated in good faith” your cause-celebre, Steven Salaita.

  4. NattyB September 4, 2014 at 11:56 am | #


    I think you missed a particularly threatening part from that Illini article :

    “Additionally, she is looking for guidance from the Urbana-Champaign Faculty Senate on what process she should go through when faced with situations like this. ****The senate will vote on creating a committee to review instances for when the chancellor or provost find a reason not to proceed with a tenure-track hire that was already approved by a department.****”

    Did you catch that? “find a reason” According to this article by the UI Faculty Law Blog once an offer is given, there are no further conditions.

    So effectively, she’s saying, we want to be able to over rule the autonomy of the Faculty and let’s set up a committee on how to do that. This assumes, without evidence, that there was something wrong procedurally re: the manner in which UIUC extended Salaita an offer (solely because she decided, upon pressure, to revoke/dehire/fire). But that’s a conclusion that isn’t remotely supported by the evidence.

    Also, speaking of bigotry, racism and academic freedom at UIUC,oh boy, this is a doozy:

    Long story short, the emeritus professor from UIUC who criticized Salaita in that popecenter last week, apparently, is a huge racist, like White Supremacy and let go from National Review because his writings were too racist.

    Total hackery at UIUC. Looking like a perfect storm of incompetence and insularity. If I were UIUC affiliated — I wouldn’t just want Salaita reinstated. I’d demand the Chancellor resign. Like she’s still in the bubble. Because how else can she make such statements re: respecting intellectual freedom. It’s like listening to the White House Press Secretary.

  5. joel in Oakland September 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm | #

    A seminar on academic freedom sounds like the university equivalent of a government doing a little reshuffling of its cabinet. (“We need to do something that looks like we’re doing something.”)

  6. Mike September 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm | #

    Reblogged this on This Got My Attention and commented:
    Another university chancellor out of touch with the university she runs. Gee, what a surprise. 😉

  7. Rick September 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm | #

    Why am I reminded of this?
    Keep up the good work, Cory! I doubt this will end well, but there is hope.

  8. Vicente Diaz September 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm | #

    Corey, I don’t know if this has been addressed yet, and I only skimmed your blog, but I want to say that from the perspective of ground zero, the Chancellor appears to be actively saying things to appeal to certain audiences but in ways that allow her to repudiate the comments afterwards, all in the service of stopping the bleeding from the departmental votes, but also in the apparent interest of old fashioned dividing and conquering, of keeping the opposition off guard.The upshot is simply this: we truly can’t trust a word that comes out of her mouth. This is the nature of the No Confidence votes.

    • Ligurio September 4, 2014 at 3:14 pm | #

      Well administrators will be administrators, after all.

      NattyB’s comment above is important. Often–not always, often–the faculty senate of a university contains a number of courtiers of the administration. If Chancellor Wise is asking the faculty senate at UIUC to invent a policy they don’t need, one that, moreover, will result in further loss of faculty governance, then I hope that the faculty senate will simply ignore her request, in one way or another.

      At the same time, though, many of the most ridiculous procedures at my own university owe their origin to the action of the faculty senate. We do it to ourselves. Sigh.

      • Keyboard Resistor (@freespeechlover) September 4, 2014 at 6:48 pm | #

        I agree; I was interested in how departments voted no confidence to go around the U of I Faculty Senate. In my experience, Faculty Senates are captive to administrators. On my own campus, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, regardless of who sits on it, mainly serves to shut up dissidents. “We can’t say no,” is their proverbial cry. I do remember a time when we had a Faculty Senate President with backbone. The problem is that it’s hard to imagine someone like that wanting to be Faculty Senate President today, largely because the administrators are like bankers.

    • Keyboard Resistor (@freespeechlover) September 4, 2014 at 6:40 pm | #

      It’s interesting to observe how social media has become crucial to producing some kind of account that makes sense of what is an obviously a performance in which Wise now says conciliatory things to try and make people forget what she said to justify this firing in the first place.

  9. Edward September 4, 2014 at 1:53 pm | #

    I sent the board this message, although it bounced back from Ms. Cave and Mr. Koritz. Thanks for the great work you are doing here.

    Dear Mr. Kennedy,

    I am writing to urge your board to rehire Prof. Salaita. Firing him for tweets critical of Israel is problematic because 1) it indicates your school intends to police the tweets of its professors, and 2) it is an attempt to deny Palestinians a voice against the crimes Israel commits against them. Does your university really want to be associated with the colonial pogroms, torture, and other gross human rights violations Israel commits every day against the Palestinians? I hope you will decide it does not and reverse this decision.

  10. David Green September 4, 2014 at 4:06 pm | #

    This is more context regarding the U of I atmospherics. In 2010, Rhona Seidelman was hired as a Schusterman Family scholar through the American Israel Cooperative Exchange. If you go to their website, you’ll find the Zionist screeds of one Mitchell Bard. Seidelman is still here for her 5th year as a visiting professor in history. I don’t have anything against her personally, but I responded in October 2010 to her efforts to promote liberal Zionism in the Daily Illini:

    Islamophobic critique has Zionist agenda

    The Oct. 20 letter from Dr. Rhona Seidelman regarding a recent lecture by Daniel Pipes is evasive, and a form of Zionist propaganda in its own right. Islamophobes like Pipes are invited by “respectable” organizations to speak on college campuses, because Islamophobia is an accepted part of our mainstream political cultures, both American and Israeli. Characterizations of Islam are used to justify ongoing American and Israeli imperial policies.

    Seidelman is disingenuous in drawing an analogy between “anti-Zionism” and Islamophobia. “Anti-Zionism”—if one wishes to describe critics of Israel in this manner—is rooted in a serious critique of Zionism and its manifestations as racist and proto-fascist, and now a form of religious fanaticism. Criticism of Zionism is rooted in a genuine concern for the Palestinian and other victims of Israel’s criminal behavior, supported with U.S. tax dollars. Seidelman’s analogy attempts to create a moral equivalence between destructive American/Israeli policies, and the struggle against those policies. Her posturing as a “moderate” Zionist is transparent, and as appalling as that of Pipes.

    It is clear why Pipes is invited to this university, and why blatant anti-Semites could never be. It’s the same logic: Islamophobia is useful in promoting “respectable” policies; charges of “anti-Semitism” are useful for silencing critics of the U.S. and Israel. It’s also clear why Seidelman can be “Schusterman Visiting Israeli Professor, scholar of Israeli history,” while it is inconceivable that there would be a “visiting Palestinian professor.” Her status is a manifestation of who dictates the terms on which such important issues will be addressed. That is, the oppressors will define the terms of debate. It has nothing to do with scholarship and open inquiry.

    If Dr. Seidelman wishes to publicly debate me on any of these issues, including Israeli history, I am available and ready.

    David Green

    Academic Professional

    • Keyboard Resistor (@freespeechlover) September 4, 2014 at 6:43 pm | #

      Thank you. Your comment reminds that the firing of Salaita is about firing someone for the sake of pro-Israel donors who have more organizational clout, because of complicity from administrators, boards of trustees, the latter of which are often the wrong people to be entrusted with the kind of decisions they have the power to make.

      • David Green September 4, 2014 at 10:19 pm | #

        Let me clarify that AICE scholars have a 2-year appointment, and that Seidelman has stayed on for 3 more years as a visiting prof; the history dept. has never searched for a historian of I/P who will address Israel as a settler colonialist state.

    • bor September 5, 2014 at 3:17 am | #

      Jewish Voice for Peace: Making “Islamophobia” honorable since Arafat incited Palestinians to deadly riots in 1996.

  11. bor September 4, 2014 at 8:00 pm | #

    Hey Corey, did you see this review of Salaita’s Goodreads site? Apparently someone erased the Salaita site within 90 minutes of the article being posted at the Washington Post. Fortunately, the author of the article was able to capture some of the cached versions.

    What a dream hire. Do you suppose there’s a chasm of truth and fiction that lies between his supporters’ assertions about his public comportment regarding students and faculty who aren’t anti-Israeli and his actual behavior?

    What a punishment, now we’re going to have to read another trove of defensive articles about what he really means and how it doesn’t matter anyway. Of course, with every one of these revelations about him, even his supporters are beginning to have doubts. As well they should.

    • bor September 4, 2014 at 8:14 pm | #

      Let’s make sure there’s a record, so that all of his defenders on this site can see what this man is about:

      Salaita wrote:

      “It means that every jackass who claims Jewish background can join the colonial party.”

      Don’t you wish he had used the word “Zionist” so we wouldn’t have to argue about whether he means Jewish, Zionist, Jewish Zionist, Christian pretending to be Jewish, or just putting down jackasses in general? Maybe if he had written “Jewish” in quotes, then we could say he was being ironic. Heh.

      “Amos Oz is to incisive political writing what Leni Riefenstahl was to socially conscious filmmaking.”

      Hmmmm, he chose to compare a Jewish Israeli writer to a Nazi filmmaker. Amos Oz, yet. Is it antisemitic to compare staunch leftist Israelis who seek reconciliation with Palestinians to Nazis? To Nazis? Hmmmm…TO NAZIS.

      “Yes, it’s always rewarding to read somebody pillorying Hitchens, if only because his disaffected little white fans treat the atheist as a God”


      Referring to an antisemitism expert’s book, “The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control” our intrepid Salaita writes this unbelievable comment: “the author’s body of work so adeptly undermines his thesis.” Which means, of course, that the ADL undermines the thesis of the myth of Jewish control. I can’t wait to see the dozens of blog posts explaining that he actually means that antisemitism is horrendous and he’s just pointing that out.

      Sadly, that’s all that is left of the Salaita Goodreads site because it’s gone. Somebody obviously has something to hide. Can you imagine what else is on there, undiscovered?

      • David Green September 4, 2014 at 10:10 pm | #

        So you’re criticizing Salaita for not taking Foxman seriously? And you expect to be taken seriously?

      • Nathaniel B September 4, 2014 at 10:16 pm | #

        Please stop.

      • Bor September 4, 2014 at 10:19 pm | #

        You’re missing the point, Mr. Green. Salaita is saying that Foxman’s “body of work,” in other words, his work at the anti-defamation league, undermines his thesis – Foxman’s thesis being that the myth of Jewish control is a lie.

      • Edward September 4, 2014 at 11:06 pm | #

        “Don’t you wish he had used the word …”

        Actually, he is correct to use the label “Jewish” because that is the criteria Israel uses to determine whether immigration is allowed. As I recall, if you have a Jewish grandmother, Israel regards you as Jewish and will grant you citizenship. If you are Palestinian whose ancestry in Palestine extends for thousands of years and you are a refugee, Israel will not allow you to return.

        “Amos Oz is to incisive political writing what Leni Riefenstahl was to socially conscious filmmaking.”

        Without knowing the specifics of Salaita’s criticism, which are not evident in this tweet, one cannot determine their soundness. Here, for example, is a recent critique of Oz:

    • Bor September 4, 2014 at 10:28 pm | #

      Nathaniel, did I do something that is bothering you? Have I attacked a minority or some other group? Have I spoken off-topic? I’m on a site where virtually everyone else is a supporter of Salaita, of BDS, of claims about Israel that are, to be polite, horseshit, and you have one person who is presenting a different viewpoint. Don’t you want to be challenged? Ignore what I write if you like. Or read it if you like and disagree. Salaita has publicly spoken about people such as me – Zionists, people with a viewpoint that doesn’t align with, say Israel Shahak’s – in extremely negative terms. His discourse has had a significant impact on the negative manner in which Jews, Jewish students, Zionists in general and certainly Israel and Israelis are being spoken about in academia and other circles.Shouldn’t someone demonstrate precisely what type of person was given the ability to have such an influence?

    • bor September 5, 2014 at 3:26 am | #


      “Jewish” is not what determines whether immigration is allowed. In fact, until a few years ago, after a couple of terror attacks involving these naturalized citizens, Israel naturalized over 100,000 (one hundred thousand) Palestinians, mostly Muslim, on the basis of family reunification.

      Non-Jews can also become naturalized citizens of Israel such as Vietnamese refugees from the “boat people” era, for example. What Jews do get, however, is automatic citizenship fairly rapidly. That’s is one of the reasons that Israel was created: it is a home and a refuge for Jewish people. And, by the way, there are other countries where such automatic paths to citizenship exist, including Greece, Ireland and others.

      Anyway, that’s not the problem with his statement. Look at it again.

      As for Amos Oz, that Mondoweiss article was a waste of time. Seriously. If you don’t know Oz and his books, or his many speeches and articles, familiarize yourself. He’s an exceptional writer, thinker and human being. I understand the desire by some of Israel’s opponents to make EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY in Israel out to be evil, but if you’re of the mind that someone at the Meretz side of the political spectrum is a fascist, you’re either a very dishonest person or your view of the world is so extreme that you should be waving a black flag next to a prisoner while holding a knife to his neck.

      But I’m not interested in Oz or Salaita’s opinion of Oz’s writing. If Salaita perceives Oz to be a propagandist whose work is intended to promote Israel, he’s a moron. The issue that deeply concerns me and should concern everyone is Salaita comparing Amos Oz to a Nazi. The comparison isn’t just wrong, it is vile and it is antisemitic. And the comparison, of course, is not just Oz, a leftist dove, to Riefenstahl, a rabid supporter of the Reich, Mein Kampf, Hitler and the Nazi party, it is a comparison of Nazi Germany to Israel.

      In the context of how Salaita would treat students and colleagues who are Zionists or supporters of Israel, we now know that he perceives even the most dovish among them and certainly all the rest of them to be equivalent to Nazis. Does anybody still want to claim that there is “no evidence” that he would treat students who are Israelis, who support Israel or who are assumed to be Israel supporters differently than other students?

      • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 5, 2014 at 10:05 am | #

        “bor”: “In the context of how Salaita would treat students and colleagues who are Zionists or supporters of Israel, we now know that he perceives even the most dovish among them and certainly all the rest of them to be equivalent to Nazis. Does anybody still want to claim that there is “no evidence” that he would treat students who are Israelis, who support Israel or who are assumed to be Israel supporters differently than other students?”

        I will, “bor”. And I will do so by this means: Find us a student/faculty member who was so treated by Salaita. You claim what he “would” do to folks, but you cannot write what he actually did to anyone.

        Much do you write, yet nothing do you prove.

      • Edward September 5, 2014 at 12:34 pm | #


        There are more then 4 million stateless Palestinian refugees who would be very glad to hear that “…“Jewish” is not what determines whether immigration is allowed.” However, as you write, “What Jews do get, however, is automatic citizenship fairly rapidly. ” So there is one set of immigration rules for Jews and another for non-Jews. That is why it was appropriate for Salaita to use the word “Jewish” in his tweet. You state that I have misunderstood your criticism but it seems to me your suggestion that Salaita use “Zionist” instead of “Jewish” would not be appropriate because that is not what Israeli law refers to.

        I don’t know much about Oz but my basic point here is you can’t determine the content or quality of Salaita’s argument from his tweet. Why does Salaita think “Amos Oz is to incisive political writing what Leni Riefenstahl was to socially conscious filmmaking.”? We don’t know. Incidently, I am pretty sure Riefenstahl was not a Nazi.

      • bor September 5, 2014 at 1:33 pm | #

        Donald, you should begin to infer things using circumstantial evidence.

        Edward, Riefenstahl claims she never joined the party, but that is irrelevant. Her films were propaganda films for the Nazis, almost certainly partially funded by Nazis, supportive enough of Nazis that Goring gave her an award and Goebbels financed one of her films, and emanating from a deep sense in her that Hitler, Mein Kampf and the ideology of Nazism were not only admirable but should be promoted. Here she is at her first Nazi rally with Hitler: “I heard his voice: `Fellow Germans’,” she recalled in her autobiography. “That very same instant I had an almost apocalyptic vision that I was never able to forget. It seemed as if the earth’s surface were spreading out before me, like a hemisphere that suddenly splits apart in the middle, spewing out an enormous jet of water, so powerful that it touched the sky and shook the earth. I felt paralyzed.”

        There is a reason she was officially labeled a “Nazi sympathizer” and imprisoned after the war. If I were you, I’d read Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl
        By Steven Bach and when you’re done, I don’t think you’ll have many doubts about whether she was a Nazi. You want to call her a Nazi accomplice who was a driving force behind the Nazis’ public face and who used Nazi prisoners who were later killed in her films? No problem. The comparison to Oz is still vile and so is the comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany.

        Regarding the right of a state to determine who crosses its borders, as I pointed out, many non-Jews have immigrated and have been naturalized in Israel. That’s without getting into the 2 million Christian, Muslim, Druze and other religion-members who have Israeli citizenship. These include the 100,000 Palestinians who were naturalized in about a ten year period leading up to several years ago when Israel changed its laws in response to terror attacks involving naturalized Palestinians. Which is to say that not only Jews become Israelis, and certainly they’re not all jackasses. Or did he just mean the Jewish ones are jackasses? It’s all so complicated.

        • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm | #

          “Donald, you should begin to infer things using circumstantial evidence.”

          “bor”, you have failed to define how Salaita’s tweets and posts and intemperate book reviews (some of which I read in the cache links in the WaPo article — Salaita could not bestir himself to read one book that he trashed. I can understand why, but no one should review a book without reading it first) translate into evidence of predicted actions. You, and others, claim an ability to predict Salaita’s actions regarding Jewish or Zionist students — but you still cannot give evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, for such claims. You fantasize about crimes you say he MAY commit, and then find him guilty of them. When evidence is demanded — victims of his crimes to give testimony, say — you can’t produce any. When exculpatory evidence, documented, and clearly proving the contrary to your claims is publicly offered, you dismiss it and/or pretend it does not exist.

          This is the fundamental weakness of your entire argument and of all of the commentary your have submitted in this discussion.

          Evidenece is what YOU say it is, and it does what YOU say it does.

          But you cannot find any victims, and none have come forward.

          Therefore I must ask: from WHAT evidence is one to begin this work of inference? How did you decide what counts as evidence and what does not? Lastly, to what is this inferring supposed to lead?

      • bor September 5, 2014 at 4:14 pm | #

        Donald, the tweets and reviews and books are evidence.

        If you mean that tweets, reviews and books (and actually, I’ve now seen an article that contains something that I believe to be in line with his other writings) which constitute an academic’s professional and personal reflections (in other words, his entire public life) don’t demonstrate how he will behave when directly confronted by someone whom he dismisses actively and with great hostility in writing, then you’re not considering the evidence.

        Here. Pretend that someone says that Israel is a cancer that should be removed. Do you need to wait until he removes it or tries to remove it before you accept that he wants it removed?

      • Neil Schipper September 5, 2014 at 4:56 pm | #


        Twice you’ve referred to the Salaita tweet about the Amos Oz book.

        It isn’t a tweet. It’s the entire review.

        It’s a one sentence review that does not provide a single phrase describing the book’s intent, nor a single flaw therein.

  12. Edward September 5, 2014 at 7:56 pm | #


    I stand corrected. As a tweet the sentence would be O.K. but I agree it has problems as a review.

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