Hundreds sign national letter condemning Temple, CNN reaction following Marc Lamont Hill’s UN speech

Two Temple students and a 1989 alumnus signed the letter along with several other organizations and professors not affiliated with the university.

Marc Lamont Hill serves customers at Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books on Nov. 27 in Germantown. Lamont Hill is the Steve Charles Chair in Media, Cities and Solutions in the Klein College of Media and Communication. | KHANYA BRANN / FILE PHOTO

UPDATED at 1:26 p.m. on Dec. 4.

Hundreds of organizations, professors and students signed a letter criticizing CNN and Temple University for their responses to Marc Lamont Hill’s controversial anti-Israel, pro-Palestine comments during a United Nations speech.  

The letter, penned on Nov. 30 and signed by Students for Justice in Palestine groups and Palestinian liberation organizations across the nation, criticizes President Richard Englert’s message to the Temple community, in which he condemns anti-Semitic hate speech, and recognizes that Hill has constitutional protections. The letter calls CNN’s decision to remove him “unjust.”

“We cannot pretend that painting Hill as a threat that Temple University must remove is fueled by anything other than racism,” the letter reads. “Policing black voices in academia and in public spaces is part of a much larger history of anti-Blackness.”

“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,” the letter continues. “The racist nature of this incident should not be overlooked nor can it be excused.”

In his speech, Hill — the first endowed Klein College Steve Charles Chair in Media, Cities and Solutions — referenced injustices the Israeli government committed against Palestinians and said Palestine should be freed “from the river to the sea,” a phrase often used by Palestinian liberation groups and Hamas, an Islamic extremist and Palestinian nationalist group.

The remarks were deemed anti-Semitic by several Jewish groups and scholars, who said Hill’s comments call for the destruction of Israel. Hill defended his remarks and apologized to the reaction they sparked in an open letter to The Temple News on Saturday.

Twelve of the 441 individual students who signed the letter attend Temple. A 1989 alumnus, two professors, and Hazim Hardeman, a 2017 strategic communications alumnus and the university’s first Rhodes Scholar, also signed the letter. None of the organizations listed are based at Temple.

Update: this story was updated to include the number of signers with a Temple affiliation

3 Comments

  1. I could care less whether Temple fires Hill or not, but his speech was wrong.

    Hill, while paying lip service to the principle of non-violence, essentially excused the long history of violent-terrorist acts of violence committed by Palestinian terrorists against innocent civilians, both Israelis and non-Israelis in the name of their cause. He referred to it as “resistance”.

    This of course includes decades upon decades of horrific acts of violence by Palestinians including the airplane skyjackings of the 1960s, the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of the entire Israeli team, the Achille Lauro attack in 1985, when an elderly Jewish American man, Leon Klinghoffer, was shot in his wheelchair and thrown overboard by Palestinian “freedom fighters”. It includes suicide bombings, bus bombings, kidnappings, and the more recent knife attacks and car attacks against innocent Israeli civilians including the horrific 2011 massacre of the Fogel family on the West Bank, which included the slaughter of children and the murder of a month-old infant in its crib. In response to the latter case, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza danced in the streets and passed out candy in celebration-as they did on 9-11. I could list so many more examples of the “resistance” of the heroic Palestinian people, but that would require a book.

    As for that phrase, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”: It is clear what it means in the hearts of those who chant it: That there will be one Palestinian state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea-in other words-no more Israel. The phrase is chanted by Hamas,a terrorist organization that strives for the complete destruction of the entire Jewish state.

    So if Temple wants to keep one more radical figure on its faculty, it’s your reputation that suffers.

  2. Shallow is the word for this article, THREE (3) Temple people sign on, is that news or just disinformation.

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