Young Israel in Temple U. Newspaper: Do the Right Thing and Fire Marc Lamont Hill

January 8, 2019

The National Council of Young Israel recently took to the pages of The Temple News, the student-run newspaper for the Temple University community, in order to reiterate its call for Temple University to sever its ties with Marc Lamont Hill after he delivered an anti-Semitic address in November in association with the United Nations’ commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (the full text of the letter to the editor from NCYI President Farley Weiss appears below).

In addition, the NCYI today heavily criticized the over 40 Temple faculty members who penned a letter that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer in December, in which they stated their “no confidence” in Patrick O’Connor, the chairman of Temple’s Board of Trustees, after he condemned Hill’s remarks. Calling them “lamentable” and “disgusting,” O’Connor said, “It should be made clear that no one at Temple is happy with his comments. Free speech is one thing. Hate speech is entirely different.” In their letter, the Temple faculty members, while referring to Hill’s “views on the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” wrote that, “We thought his arguments were passionate, considered, and thoughtful, and respected the humanity of Palestinians and Israelis.”

In his remarks at the UN, Hill, a Temple professor, belittled the State of Israel and endorsed the use of violence by Palestinian Arabs against Israel. Hill said that, “justice requires a free Palestine from the river to the sea,” a phrase that is often used by the terrorist group Hamas when it calls for Israel’s destruction. Hill’s remarks were the latest in a long line of anti-Semitic comments that he has made over the years. Following his controversial comments, CNN cut its ties with Hill, who had served as a political commentator for the network; however, Temple University took no action, saying that, “Marc Lamont Hill does not represent Temple University and his views are his own.”

“Hill’s anti-Semitism is not merely manifest in an isolated statement made on Twitter against a backdrop of pro-Jewish statements; rather, it is evident from a litany of anti-Semitic statements culminating with his public remarks at the United Nations, in which he very clearly called for the destruction of Israel with his outrageous ‘from the river to the sea’ statement,” wrote NCYI President Farley Weiss in The Temple News. “The defense offered by others of Hill is that he has the right of free speech. Free speech is certainly an important right afforded to us under the U.S. Constitution; however, in a situation where one of its professors is preaching the incitement of violence, Temple has no obligation to keep them in their employ.”

In his letter, Weiss also referenced another disturbing incident in which Hill made outrageous anti-Semitic comments. At a September 2018 event for the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Hill accused Israel of poisoning the water of Palestinians. In addition, he overtly promoted violence against Israel when he told the audience that he would go “Leila Khaled-style,” a frightening allusion to a convicted Palestinian Arab terrorist who played a pivotal role in the hijacking of TWA Flight 840 in 1969 and the attempted hijacking of EL AL Flight 219 in 1970.

“The shameless and alarming endorsement of violence and terrorism against Israel by Hill, both in September and more recently at the UN, is unacceptable, unprofessional and uncivilized, and should result in his immediate termination by Temple University,” Weiss wrote in his letter. “Temple has a monumental choice to make. It can decide whether it wants a campus that opposes anti-Semitism and the promotion of violence, or one that tolerates, condones and is even complicit in anti-Semitism. CNN quickly made the right decision regarding Hill by severing its ties with him in the wake of his anti-Semitic comments. We sincerely hope that Temple makes the right decision as well.”

Referring to the Temple faculty members who excused Hill’s behavior, Weiss today called on them to repudiate their outrageous comments.

“By rushing to Marc Lamont Hill’s defense and stating that his comments were ‘passionate, considered, and thoughtful,’ these over forty Temple faculty members in essence condoned anti-Semitism and revealed a pervasive anti-Israel bias amongst a large number of Temple professors,” said Weiss. “We call on each and every one of these professors to make it abundantly clear that they do not make allowances for anti-Semitism, and to disavow Marc Lamont Hill’s lengthy and troubling track record of anti-Israel bias and advocating violence against the State of Israel. Remaining silent and hiding behind the veil of academic freedom while their colleague espouses anti-Semitism and incites violence makes them complicit in Marc Lamont Hill’s anti-Semitism and warrants disciplinary action by Temple University.”

“Patrick O’Connor’s denouncement of Marc Lamont Hill’s remarks and suggestion that Hill could face disciplinary action was reasonable, justified and proper, and we commend him for taking a public stand against anti-Semitism,” Weiss added. “By assailing Chairman O’Connor for taking a principled stand and doing the right thing, these Temple faculty members have further sullied the university’s reputation and inexplicably chosen to support Marc Lamont Hill by sanctioning his racist and reprehensible remarks.”

 

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The following is the text of the letter to the editor by National Council of Young Israel President Farley Weiss, which appeared in The Temple News:

Temple needs to do the right thing

By: Farley Weiss, President of the National Council of Young Israel

 

As a professor at Temple University, Marc Lamont Hill wields considerable power wearing his academic hat and is very much in a position to indoctrinate and influence students at Temple with his anti-Semitic views.

Hill’s anti-Semitism is not merely manifest in an isolated statement made on Twitter against a backdrop of pro-Jewish statements; rather, it is evident from a litany of anti-Semitic statements culminating with his public remarks at the United Nations, in which he very clearly called for the destruction of Israel with his outrageous “from the river to the sea” statement.

For example, Hill proclaimed an outrageous blood libel at a U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights conference on September 28, 2018, accusing Israel of poisoning the water of Palestinians.

“How can you romanticize nonviolence when you have a state that is at all moments waging war against you, against your bodies, poisoning your water, limiting your access to water, locking up your children, killing them,” Hill said. “We can’t romanticize resistance.”

In virtually the same breath, Hill overtly promoted violence against Israel when he told his audience that he would go “Leila Khaled-style,” a frightening allusion to a convicted Palestinian Arab terrorist who played a pivotal role in the hijacking of TWA Flight 840 in 1969 and the attempted hijacking of EL AL Flight 219 in 1970.

The shameless and alarming endorsement of violence and terrorism against Israel by Hill, both in September and more recently at the UN, is unacceptable, unprofessional and uncivilized, and should result in his immediate termination by Temple University.

Hill’s own lame defense of his contemptible comments in response to the public outcry that they engendered includes the false statement that he has been fighting anti-Semitism for many years. How exactly has he been combating anti-Semitism? By fighting his own bigotry and intolerance toward Jews? If so, he has utterly failed in his efforts.

Hill also claimed that he did not call for Israel’s destruction; yet he also remarked that he does not support the existence of a Jewish state of Israel. Perhaps Hill neglected to realize that the international definition of anti-Semitism includes those who oppose the existence of the state of Israel, as well as clearly advocating terrorism against Jews and proclaiming blood libels.

The defense offered by others of Hill is that he has the right of free speech. Free speech is certainly an important right afforded to us under the U.S. Constitution; however, in a situation where one of its professors is preaching the incitement of violence, Temple has no obligation to keep them in their employ.

For example, what if Hill advocated pedophilia publicly and in the classroom? Would Temple and others proclaim the need to allow him to express these views under the guise of free speech to students at the university? Certainly not. Clearly, free speech has limits, and the question is where those limits lie.

One clear and obvious line in this particular case is when someone expresses support for the destruction of Israel, advocates terrorist violence against Jews, and engages in a blood libel against Israel. Would there be a consideration to keeping a professor if they endorsed the Islamic State or expressed support for Nazism? Of course not.

A line was clearly crossed by Marc Lamont Hill and frankly it is not an easy line to cross. By taking action in the aftermath of his offensive and dangerous comments and terminating Hill, Temple University would send a strong message that it will not tolerate anti-Semitism being expressed by its professors.

Temple has a monumental choice to make. It can decide whether it wants a campus that opposes anti-Semitism and the promotion of violence, or one that tolerates, condones and is even complicit in anti-Semitism. CNN quickly made the right decision regarding Hill by severing its ties with him in the wake of his anti-Semitic comments. We sincerely hope that Temple makes the right decision as well.