Hundreds of college professors and students are calling liberal news network CNN “racist” for firing Marc Lamont Hill after the Temple University professor called for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea,” a veiled phrase that is a call for the destruction of Israel.
“CNN’s response to Marc Lamont Hill was extremely unjust. CNN and Temple University should have celebrated Hill’s call for justice and equality, but instead used it as an opportunity to silence and intimidate those who criticise the state of Israel,” says the online letter addressed to CNN.
“The racist nature of this incident should not be overlooked nor can it be excused. We are not alone in our deep disappointment in CNN for firing Marc Lamont Hill. It is for these reasons, that we, as supporters of justice and liberation for all, condemn CNN’s firing of Marc Lamont Hill. We believe in fairness and anti-racism and thus cannot stand idly by while CNN enacts blatant anti-Blackness and anti-Palestinian violence. We also urge Temple University to avoid repeating CNN’s mistake and to stand by Marc Lamont Hill’s right to speak for justice in Palestine.”
While the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) ripped Hill for using a United Nations speech to call for the establishment of Palestine “from the river to the sea,” the professors and students say the ADL “ignores Hill’s call for justice and conflates criticism of the Israeli state with anti-Semitism” which signatories assert is both factually incorrect and “extremely dangerous.”
“The ADL,” the letter adds, “has a long history with anti-Arab sentiment and Islamophobia” in addition to its current “complicity in the racist policing of Black communities.” The ADL’s criticism of Hill, the signatories claim, is “nothing short of racist.”
“Temple University Board Chairman Patrick O’Connor previously denounced Hill, suggesting that ‘people wanted to fire him right away’ and that had Hill worked at a private company, administrators would have ‘tried to fire him immediately,’ ” Campus Reform reported.
The Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at Temple University denounced O’Connor as racist due to his remark that Hill’s comments “unnecessarily blackened” the Temple name, saying that “the language used by O’Connor speaks for itself.”
The letter to CNN echoed this rhetoric. It claimed that a comment by Temple President Richard M. Englert painted Hill as a “threat that Temple University must remove” and that this move was not “fueled by anything other than racism.”
“Professor Hill does not represent Temple University, and his views are his own,” Englert had said. “Temple condemns in the strongest possible terms all anti-Semitic, racist or incendiary language, hate speech, calls to violence, and the disparagement of any person.”
“Policing black voices in academia and in public spaces,” the letter supporting Hill claimed, “is part of a much larger history of anti-Blackness.”
Hill made his remarks while speaking during the United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, as first reported by Arutz Sheva.
“If we are in true solidarity, we must allow the Palestinian people the same range of opportunity and political possibility. We must recognize the right of an occupied people to defend themselves,” Hill said. “We must prioritize peace, but we must not romanticize or fetishize it. We must advocate and promote non-violence at every opportunity, but cannot endorse narrow politics of respectability that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in the face of state violence and ethnic cleansing.”
Hill concluded by saying that justice requires a “free Palestine from the river to the sea.” According to multiple reports, the phrase “Free Palestine from the River to the Sea” is a rallying cry often uttered by Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups calling for the elimination of the Israeli state.
Campus Reform reported that Temple’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter will hold an event on Thursday in support of Hill, dubbed “From the River to the Sea: Philly Stands with Marc Lamont Hill.”