CHICAGO (CBS) — The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has reportedly decided not to hire a controversial professor whose anti-Israel writing has lit up Twitter like gasoline on a fire.

WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, even though Steven Salaita has his supporters, the university reportedly rescinded its job offer to join the American Indian studies program, after a firestorm of criticism of Salaita’s comments on Twitter about the Middle East conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

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“Some of them seem to cross the line recently into advocating violence against people,” said Cary Nelson, a professor of English at U of I, and former president of the American Association of University Professors.

He said he has defended the hiring of controversial professors before, but this is not a matter of academic freedom.

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“Academic freedom does not protect incitation of violence,” he said. “There was an American reporter – who someone else Tweeted, saying his articles should be met on the point of a shiv. And Steven Salaita re-Tweeted that, apparently approvingly.”

Nelson predicted the university’s decision will affect the BDS – the Boycott Israel movement.

“Steven Salaita’s case will be taken up as a cause around the country. It may be that we have provided the BDS movement with its ideal martyr,” he said.

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Salaita, who currently is listed as an associate professor for the English Department at Virginia Tech, has not returned WBBM’s calls.