Marc Lamont Hill at United Nations
Marc Lamont Hill at United Nations United Nations

Temple University has refused calls to fire a controversial professor, even after CNN cut ties with him over his endorsement of anti-Israel violence and calls for the elimination of the Jewish state.

Marc Lamont Hill, a veteran commentator for CNN and a professor of urban education and media studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, blasted Israel during an address at an event in the United Nations earlier this week, accusing the Jewish state of ‘cleansing’ the country of its Arab population, and gave his blessing to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

At an anti-Israel event in the United Nations on Wednesday, hosted by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Hill called for the termination of the State of Israel, and its replacement with a Palestinian state ‘from the River to the Sea”.

Justice requires a "Free Palestine from the River to the Sea," said Hill, adding that violence against Israelis must be legitimized, accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing”.

“We must promote nonviolence at every opportunity, but cannot endorse narrow politics that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in ethnic cleansing."

Hill’s comments sparked a wave of criticism and accusations of anti-Semitism. Hill later said via Twitter that he did not back anti-Semitism, and denied that his comments constituted an endorsement of violence.

“I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech. I have spent my life fighting these things.”

“My reference to ‘river to the sea’ was not a call to destroy anything or anyone. It was a call for justice, both in Israel and in the West Bank/Gaza. The speech very clearly and specifically said those things. No amount of debate will change what I actually said or what I meant,” continued Hill.

On Thursday, CNN announced that Hill was no “no longer under contract” with the cable news giant.

But Hill’s other employer, Temple University, appeared to be unwilling to terminate him over his remarks at the UN event.

In response to the controversy surrounding Hill’s anti-Israel comments, a spokesperson for the university told Fox News that Temple University ‘acknowledges’ his “constitutionally protected rights to express his opinion”.

“Marc Lamont Hill has been quoted extensively over the last 24 hours. Marc Lamont Hill does not represent Temple University and his views are his own. However, we acknowledge that he has a constitutionally protected right to express his opinion as a private citizen.”

On Friday, the National Council of Young Israel pressed Temple University to follow CNN’s example in terminating Hill, saying Hill’s address at the UN event was only the “latest in a long line of anti-Semitic comments”.

Young Israel hit Temple University for what it called the college’s “disingenuous” response.

“While we are grateful that CNN did the right thing under the circumstances, it is extraordinarily disingenuous for Temple University to summarily try and distance itself from Marc Lamont Hill,” said the National Council of Young Israel.

“The reality is that Dr. Hill is a member of Temple’s faculty, and he therefore does indeed represent Temple as a result, despite the university’s perplexing assertions to the contrary. While Marc Lamont Hill’s anti-Semitic views may be his own, Temple cannot simply disavow him when it is convenient for them. If he is a Temple professor, his hate-filled diatribe is a reflection of the university and the administration should do the right thing by severing its ties with him.”

“Temple’s failure to denounce Dr. Hill’s views is appalling, and allowing an anti-Semitic professor to teach at their university is intolerable,” continued the NCYI. “By maintaining its relationship with Marc Lamont Hill despite his toxic anti-Semitic beliefs, Temple is sending a disturbing message that espousing such repugnant views are acceptable at the university. Hatred of Jews and hostility towards Israel should be disqualifying and should not be treated any differently from other forms of bigotry. Keeping Marc Lamont Hill on the payroll as a professor is an affront to Temple University’s Jewish students and a slap in the face to the American Jewish community.”

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