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July 25, 2017

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Alexander Tsesis

Salaita's inability to find an academic institution willing to take him onto its faculty, with so evident a record of antisemitic tweets, vindicates the University of Illinois's decision not to tender him a job offer in the first place. No decent institution of learning should give a person with a history of such antisemitic depredations a platform for expressing his views.

Salaita's propinquity to blame Jews for the hatred of others came through both in tweets he wrote while awaiting a letter of appointment from the University of Illinois. His memorable lines like: "Zionists: transforming ‘anti-Semitism’ from something horrible into something honorable since 1948" and "By eagerly conflating Jewishness and Israel, Zionists are partly responsible when people say anti-Semitic shit in response to Israeli terror", Salaita justified antisemitism, which is his First Amendment right but certainly reason to deny him academic appointment.

[M][a][c][K]

I wonder, how does Mr. Thesis feel about proposals to criminalise support for BDS in the US. Based on his posts so far, one can assume he's a strong supporter?

Steve Lubet

The proposed statute does not "criminalze" support for BDS, Mack, despite the overheated claims of both opponents and supporters.

It is actually a very minor piece of legislation, as explained in the following articles by Jay Michaelson and David Schraub:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/pay-no-mind-to-the-fake-ruckus-about-a-phony-israel-anti-boycott-law

https://www.jta.org/2017/07/24/news-opinion/opinion/the-us-anti-bds-bill-may-be-bad-but-not-as-bad-as-some-critics-say

The statute is still a bad idea, notwithstanding it nil effect. It is complex and intricate, but people ought to read it more closely before making exaggerated claims.

anon

One nice thing about the FL is that we can go back, all the way to 2014, and review what the usual group of commenters on this issue had to say. See, e.g., thefacultylounge.org/2014/09/why-did-salaita-lose[insertperiod]html

[M][a][c][K]

Professor David Cole of the ACLU in the Washington Post wrote this commentary Steve. What part is not true? The $1 million fine or 20 years in prison? First AIPAC (and Tsesis campaigned to fire professors who advocate BDS, not its time to jail them and their students)?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/this-piece-of-pro-israel-legislation-is-a-serious-threat-to-free-speech/2017/07/24/0752d408-7093-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html?utm_term=.fdd7f9bfbeee

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, legislation introduced in the Senate by Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and in the House by Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.), would make it a crime to support or even furnish information about a boycott directed at Israel or its businesses called by the United Nations, the European Union or any other “international governmental organization.” Violations would be punishable by civil and criminal penalties of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison. The American Civil Liberties Union, where we both work, takes no position for or against campaigns to boycott Israel or any other foreign country. But since our organization’s founding in 1920, the ACLU has defended the right to collective action. This bill threatens that right.

Steve Lubet

The bill is a bad idea, but it does not "criminalize" BDS or even apply to it. The penalties apply only to currently non-existent UN sponsored secondary boycotts.

I agree that the bill should be withdrawn or defeated, but I also think it is important to describe it accurately. It is basically a PR vehicle with not actual impact.

Anon

Here's an accurate description, then: S. 720 proposes to criminalize participation in boycotts and other expressive activities that organizations like BDS support and/or conduct. Wonderful use of public attention these Democrats are making right about now.

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