Professor Steven Salaita, who was sacked after tweeting remarks critical of Israel. (Getty)
Professor Steven Salaita, who was sacked after tweeting remarks critical of IsraelGetty

A professor is suing the University of Illinois, after being sacked for tweeting a series of anti-Israel remarks.

Professor Steven Salaita had a job offer rescinded by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign after he had already quit his previous job at Virginia Tech university.

In a statement, the university cites a number of anti-Israel tweets sent by Salaita as grounds for the decision.

"I repeat: If you're defending #Israel right now, then 'hopelessly brainwashed' is your best prognosis," reads one of the tweets, sent by Salaita at the height of Israel's war with Hamas in July 2014.

"You may be too refined to say it, but I'm not: I wish all the f*****g West Bank settlers would go missing," he wrote in another.

"These statements and many more like them demonstrate that Dr. Salaita lacks the judgment, temperament and thoughtfulness to serve as a member of our faculty in any capacity, but particularly to teach courses related to the Middle East," the university statement reads.

Salaita was due to be teaching on an American Indian studies course "comparing issues related to the experiences of Native Americans to issues related to Palestinians and the Middle East".

However, Salaita claims that the decision violates his right to freedom of speech, and he is backed by the New York based Center for Constitutional Rights, reports RT.

"UIUC's retaliatory firing of a tenured professor in response to the viewpoints he expressed on a matter of public concern represents a serious violation of his constitutional right to free speech," the group says. "Universities have historically been sites of rigorous political debate where dissent and disagreement are not only welcomed, but are at the heart of a campus climate that fosters new ideas."

The lawsuit is filed against the university's board of trustees, several top university administrators, and unnamed donors.

According to the lawsuit, Salaita's "academic career is in shambles", and the decision has caused severe emotional and financial distress.

At a press conference, Salaita claims he and his wife and child have struggle to make ends meet since the decision, and they have been forced to move in with his parents.

After the university's board of trustees voted to uphold the decision, students protested at the campus in support of Salaita.

Salaita, who is of dual Palestinian and Jordanian heritage, embarked on a lecture tour in protest at the university's decision.