Tuesday, May 23

Submission: University irresponsible for inviting controversial speaker to campus


Editor’s Note: The following submission contains strong language. We feel its inclusion is necessary to provide full context about the controversy surrounding Steven Salaita’s appearance at UCLA.

Steven Salaita, the recently disgraced professor who was denied tenure at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in part due to his racist and inflammatory public statements, will be speaking at our campus today at the invitation of the Center for Near Eastern Studies, the Department of English and the Department of French and Francophone Studies. This invitation is irresponsible and offensive.

Salaita, a notable activist in the anti-Israel movement, came under fire after a series of outrageous and hateful tweets surfaced from his Twitter account this summer: “Zionists: transforming ‘antisemitism’ from something horrible into something honorable since 1948. #Gaza #FreePalestine.” The week after three Jews were kidnapped and killed in the West Bank, he tweeted: “You may be too refined to say it, but I’m not: I wish all the fucking West Bank settlers would go missing.” Salaita has yet to apologize for his remarks.

As the president of a pluralistic Jewish organization that represents more than 2,000 Jewish students here at UCLA, I am proud to be a part of a community that values debate, dialogue and free speech. But when bigots hide behind the principle of free speech as a tool to laud bigoted rhetoric, I must stand to denounce these actions.

Let me be clear: this is not about Israel. Criticizing Israeli government policies is certainly within the purview of reasonable speech on campus. But Salaita crosses the bounds of reasonable dissent, deliberately conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, going so far as to call the latter something “honorable.” Moreover, this man represents a chilling example of the pressing dangers of anti-Semites masquerading as anti-Zionists.

On campus, Jewish students must tolerate the anonymous anti-Semite who stands next to Powell Library, holding flimsy paper signs decrying the Jews and the Jewish State. But as attendees of a public institution, we understand that there is little the university can do about a nameless man who walks on to a public campus. With that being said, as students who pay tuition to this university, we must speak out and condemn the actions of the three academic departments that give a hero’s welcome to a man who openly calls for violence against Jewish people.

Outright hate speech and the incitement to violence against innocents have no right to exist within the free marketplace of ideas that our university seeks to foster. The U.S. Supreme Court has a long history of distinguishing between legitimate dissent and hate-filled incitement to violence. Our campus community cannot be silent and cannot pretend no difference exists between the two. I charge the Chancellor, UCLA Student Affairs, student organizations and my student body government with the unequivocal duty to unabashedly and unapologetically condemn the event, this hate speech and those who employ it.

Charney is a fourth-year global studies student and the student board president of Hillel at UCLA.

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  • Just A Student

    I am appalled and outraged, the university has crossed a serious line in not only allowing, but inviting, this bigot to come speak on our campus. Thank you Natalie for bringing this to our attention and standing up for what is right!

  • Philassie

    Salaita was invited by SJP-type hypocrites poisoning campus with their anti-Israel lies right now… dividing Muslims and Jews with emotional manipulation instead of bringing us closer. Why, pray tell, do we need to listen to an unemployed or sub-employed racist? What is there to gain for UCLA students except to be falsely told Jews are silencing them? And yet, it’s the same kind of “activists” who invited this unpleasant man who want to have Bill Maher disinvited from Berkeley for his anti-Islam statements. They apply this same standard of “integrity” (not) to their anti-Semitic propaganda during “Palestine Awareness Week”. It’s not about rights it’s about pushing their own extremist and anti-Semitic views onto others through shaming and bullying. Having a few token Jews play along just makes it more egregious. Salaita has the intellect of a boar and is an outright racist – by his own admission. Had he made his comments against Black people or homosexuals he’d be chased off campus. If he had said similar things about Islam the SJP would get violent or hysterical. We all know this. Why do Jews deserve less? Just cause SJP thinks the entire Middle East should be ruled by Arabs?

  • Azul97

    Salaita was invited by SJP-type hypocrites poisoning campus with their anti-Israel lies right now… dividing Muslims and Jews with emotional manipulation instead of bringing us closer. Why, pray tell, do we need to listen to an unemployed or sub-employed racist? What is there to gain for UCLA students except to be falsely told Jews are silencing them? And yet, it’s the same kind of “activists” who invited this unpleasant man who want to have Bill Maher disinvited from Berkeley for his anti-Islam statements. They apply this same standard of “integrity” (not) to their anti-Semitic propaganda during “Palestine Awareness Week”. It’s not about rights it’s about pushing their own extremist and anti-Semitic views onto others through shaming and bullying. Having a few token Jews play along just makes it more egregious. Salaita has the intellect of a boar and is an outright racist – by his own admission. Had he made his comments against Black people or homosexuals he’d be chased off campus. If he had said similar things about Islam the SJP would get violent or hysterical. We all know this. Why do Jews deserve less? Just cause SJP thinks the entire Middle East should be ruled by Arabs?

  • Elon

    Steven Salaita never should have been eligible for tenure in the first place. After all, he was supposedly a professor of Native American Studies, but he published not one single article or book on Native Americans in any way.

    Now he is being invited to speak by the Department of English and Department of French and Francophone Studies, but obviously not for his great contributions to literature in those languages. He is is being invited so those departments can give themselves a pat on the back for two causes in vogue: supposed free speech rights and bashing Israel and Jews. He has done nothing of note, save raging against the country everyone loves to hate and the religion of the people who live there. then get fired as a result. Some great academics struggle for years doing real rigourous studies and never get tenure. He makes a few inflammatory marks, and he is a shoo-in. Then, oops: The remarks were too inflammatory and people found out about them. So he gets dumped and is the darling of university faculties everywhere. And that is even more outrageous that the tweet he was fired for.

  • Stevecomeback

    He did cross the line. His remarks were not a fashion of valuable reflections that UCLA should pursue.

  • Zappa

    Hmm I can actually see where you’re coming from, and that’s not something I can say everyday regarding the opinion columns.

  • mxm123

    Firstly. The author has her facts wrong. Steven Salaita was not “denied tenure”. He had his appointed rescinded. Get your facts right.

    Disgraced ? Baloney. Steven Salaita fell victim to the “anti-semitism” crowd, because you guessed it, he criticized/cursed Israel. Is cursing Israel anti-semitic ? Nope. But then for our modern day “anti-semite” police it was just another excuse to strike at someone who questions or criticizes Israel and it apartheid.

    “this is not about Israel” – Does anyone in this universe believe this. Nope. Its the usual “I’m open to criticism of Israel except” baloney that the author is hiding behind. But then are we surprised.

    All this coming from a Hillel member. An organization nationwide that has smeared and attempted to silence anyone who questions Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

    • Elon

      Steven Salaita fell victim to the anti-semitism crowd because he tweeted he was proud to be an anti-semite. Now he claimed he was tweeting ironically, but ironically hating an entire ethnic group in 140 characters goes over sooo well.

      He also published nothing of note on Native Americans. So yeah, he was fired.

      • mxm123

        Please, please do point to the tweet were “he tweeted he was proud to be an anti-semite”

        • Elon

          Search for it. But you’ll probably give the excuse that it was connected to other tweets. Well it’s not. That isn’t how Twitter works when each is passed and shared independently.

          He is a horrible person, and the fact that you blindly defend him, because you think he agrees with your positions, speaks volumes.

          • mxm123

            “Search for it. ” – So you lied. Shocker.

          • Just A Student

            mxm123 your responses are so angry and ignorant. Way to make infantile accusations that someone “lied” because they wanted to let you take responsibility for finding the answer to your own question. If you want to contribute intelligent and factual information to the conversation, feel free to actually do some real research, or at least a very simple google search.

            Oh look, one of his many tweets (this one was quoted in the article). If you want to see more you’ll have to search for them yourself (uh oh, please don’t say I lied about there being more than one tweet just because I’m only showing you this one).

            http://legalinsurrection.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Twitter-_-stevesalaita_-Zionists_-transforming-into-something-honorable.png

          • mxm123

            So you lied. And got caught. Point me to the tweet where he “he tweeted he was proud to be an anti-semite”.

            Why don’t you admit you lied.

          • Elon

            You can start with this and then find dozens of comments like it over the years.

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

          • mxm123

            Again you stated “he tweeted he was proud to be an anti-semite”. Prove it else quit making stuff up.

          • Elon

            Calling it honorable is saying you are proud to be one, you moron.

          • mxm123

            Admit it. You lied. And got caught.

          • Elon

            If you want to quibble with that, he also more explicitly said it, but I am not your go-for.

          • mxm123

            Because you lied.

          • Elon

            Right… That is exactly why I do not want to scroll through dozens of pages of hate speechin his writings, looking for the exact quote that will satisfy you.

          • mxm123

            You made a specific claim. And now you pretend otherwise. i.e you lied.

          • N Owens

            The word “anti-Semitisme” is in scare quotes in the original. Hmmm. I wonder what that means:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scare_quotes

            Elon is another example of a disingenous and willfully ignorant hater.

          • Elon

            It means he put it in quotes.

  • mxm123

    “On campus, Jewish students must tolerate the anonymous anti-Semite who stands next to Powell Library, holding flimsy paper signs decrying the Jews and the Jewish State. ”

    Why put in this article. Hmmmm.

    • Elon

      Because I get the feeling it is you.

      • mxm123

        Do you get the feels anytime anyone asks inconvenient questions about Israel ?

        • Elon

          You are the only one who bashes Israel, and the questions are not inconvenient, just annoying. You never post anything of substance.

          • mxm123

            Annoying, because it interrupts your ceaseless talking points ?

          • Elon

            No, annoying because “You never post anything of substance.” Man, can you even try to read?

          • mxm123

            Like as if you do !!!

          • Elon

            I actually do, yes. That is why I don’t need to worry about being anonymous. I can stand by my words, because they are well thought out and intelligent.

          • mxm123

            “Stand by my words” – Like your fib on Salaitas’ supposed tweet.

          • Elon

            I do stand by words on that. He has said that. You were given just one quote where he called anti-semitism honourable, and you have no response except that the word proud isn’t in it.

          • mxm123

            And you can’t prove it. Admit it , you lied.

          • Elon

            Um, did you see the quote?

          • mxm123

            “he tweeted he was proud to be an anti-semite” – Point me a link to prove Salaita tweeted this as you claimed. Quit lying and covering with more lies.

          • Elon

            I did. Somehow, you refuse to acknowledge.

          • mxm123

            Lying again. You never posted any tweet where Salaita tweeted such. Quit lying.

          • Elon
          • mxm123

            A link to a tweet. Not to another rightwing nonsensical website.

          • Elon

            Cause that’s totally not a screen grab of his tweet. Are you even trying?

            And when have I ever quoted a Rightwing website before, anyway?

          • mxm123

            “he tweeted he was proud to be an anti-semite” – The link does not point to any such “he was proud to be an anti-semite”. Which means your still trying to squirm out of your lie.

          • Elon

            Yes, it freaking well does.

          • mxm123

            Why fib ?

          • Elon

            The main thing is all the sane people in the world realize Salaita did say hate comments indicating he is proud to be an antisemite. One of them is listed, where he called it honorable. There are many others. What there isn’t a trace of from him, is even one bit of serious research on Native Americans.

            I really don’t care that you sound like a broken record or that you tick everyone off and make SJP hated on campus.

          • mxm123

            “indicating” is your conclusion. Thats far different from “he tweeted”. You lied and i caught you on it.

          • Elon

            I didn’t lie. You purposely misinterpreted in a pedantic manner, so that you could ignore the actual point, which is that he is a hateful, ignorant jerk, who had no right to be feted by three departments of the university.

          • Elon

            But the very fact that you chose to waste time on this, rather than focusing on the matter at hand, shows you have no argument. You never have an argument. Palestine is doomed if it had to rely on you as a counsel.

          • mxm123

            You lied. Pure and simple.

            You claimed “he tweeted”. Not any of that nonsense of “indicating” or “misinterpreted”. When you state “he tweeted” i asked you to point me the tweet. And there was no such tweet.

            Palestine may be doomed. Due to the dishonesty of its occupiers and its shills.

          • Elon

            He said it is honorable. There are more such tweets. You want to ignore the substance and hold me to a particular I never meant, because it is impossible for you to stand by the guy without also looking like a bigot.

          • mxm123

            You made a specific claim. ie “he tweeted”. You lied.

          • Elon

            You are just trolling at this point.

          • mxm123

            You’re desperate to get out of your fib.

  • Dawg Blogger

    ‘Tis a sad day

  • mxm123

    “As the president of a pluralistic Jewish organization” – You mean the Hillel that has speech codes and odious rules. Ever heard of the Open Hillel movement.