Temple University board of trustees leaders Patrick O’Connor and Mitchell Morgan and president Richard Englert have a choice to make about Marc Lamont Hill, the Steven Charles Professor of media who recently called for violence against Israel and for its destruction during a speech at the United Nations.
If Temple condemns Hill, removes his academic chair, and terminates his employment for repeatedly promoting the Jewish State of Israel’s destruction and violence against Jews, the university can restore its now-damaged reputation and become a moral beacon, showing that the campus is place where anti-Semitic hatred is not tolerated and where Jewish and pro-Israel students no longer live in fear.
But, if Temple continues to employ Hill, the university will be a shameful abettor of malicious, gratuitous hatred, and potential anti-Semitic violence.
On Friday evening, Englert released a statement saying only that Hill doesn’t speak for Temple. No criticism, no nothing. I believe that more action is needed.
During his rant at the U.N. last week, Hill proclaimed: “Free Palestine, from the river to the sea” – a phrase historically used as a call for Israel’s complete, violent replacement with “Palestine.” During the same speech, Hill insisted that “we must offer more than just words,” and that we must allow Palestinian Arabs to engage in “revolts,” “resistance,” and “tactics otherwise divergent from Dr. King and Mahatma Gandhi.”
Also at the U.N., Hill called Israel’s rebirth in 1948 the “Nakba – the tragic and great catastrophe” – language that rationalizes Hill’s calls for Israel’s extinction. Hill also demanded a so-called Palestinian “right of return” – an Arab ploy to eliminate the Jewish state by allowing millions of Arabs to move there.
Hill’s recent U.N. speech, which was praised by white supremacist David Duke, is only the latest in his series of hateful comments about Jewish people.
Hill’s record on this matter is frightening. Some examples:
On national television in 2014, Hill complained that the anti-missile defense system, the Iron Dome, “takes away Hamas’ military leverage” over Israel. Hamas is on the U.S. list of terrorist groups. Hill’s position would leave innocent Israeli civilians unprotected from Hamas’ rocket barrages.
In a 2014 debate with Alan Dershowitz, Hill justified terrorism and murdering Jews, saying: “Everything that Hamas is doing, everything that the Palestinian people are fighting for, is from a posture of resistance to occupation.”
In 2015, Hill defended Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Rasmea Odeh, who was convicted of murdering two Jewish students in a Jerusalem bombing, in an op-ed for the Huffington Post titled, “Why Every Black Activist Should Stand With Rasmea Odeh." Hill called Odeh a “Palestinian freedom fighter being railroaded for her commitment to justice.”
That same year, in a Palestine Solidarity “revolutionary struggle” video filmed inside pre-1967 Israel, Hill declared while standing in Israel that we’re here in “Palestine,” which “has been stolen by greed and destroyed by hate,” and falsely accused Israel of writing laws “in the blood of the innocent.” Hill also endorsed “revolutionary struggle,” “resistance,” and “fighting” against the Israeli “occupation” of “Palestine.”
In May 2017, Hill tweeted: “Trump’s position on Israel/Palestine is repugnant. His call for Palestine to 'reject hatred and terrorism’ is offensive & counterproductive.”
In a 2018 op-ed for the Huffington Post, Hill asserted that the statement “Israel has the right to exist” is merely “Israeli propaganda.” Hill also portrayed the Jewish people’s entire eternal homeland as “stolen land,” and opposed any deal that would leave any of Israel in existence.
Allowing Hill to remain on staff at Temple and hold the prestigious Steven Charles Endowed Chair sends an appalling message to Jewish and pro-Israel students and faculty. To rehabilitate Temple’s good name and stand up against anti-Semitism on campus, Hill should be removed from his position.