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Constitutional Freedoms

Temple University Can’t Fire Controversial Marc Lamont Hill Because of Tenure

'No one' at the college 'is happy' about anti-Semitic remarks

Controversial commentator Marc Lamont Hill (shown above right), who was cut loose by CNN last week following his widely condemned anti-Semitic remarks during a United Nations speech, is hanging onto his endowed and tenured professorship at Philadelphia’s Temple University by a fraying thread.

“It should be made clear that no one at Temple is happy with [Hill’s] comments,” said prominent Philadelphia attorney Patrick O’Connor, chairperson of Temple University’s board, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Hill, himself a Temple graduate, made his vile remarks last Wednesday during a speech at the U.N.’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

In the speech, Hill included the loathsome phrase “free Palestine from the river to the sea” — a well-known dog whistle that is code for extermination of Jews and the Jewish nation-state of Israel.

The phrase was a slogan of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the early ’60s and was later used by the terror group Hamas, as explained by Haaretz.

Hill also said during the speech that violence by Palestinians could be justified as self-defense.

On Saturday, the Philadelphia native penned an op-ed in the Inquirer apologizing for his use of the phrase. The op-ed was called, “I’m sorry my word choices caused harm.”

Temple’s O’Connor characterized Hill’s U.N. remarks as “lamentable” and “disgusting.”

O’Connor further said that that he, the board, and Temple’s administration are “not happy,” adding, “We’re going to look at what remedies we have,” the outlet continued.

Hill, for his part, is denying the blatantly obvious, as folks whose behavior has endangered their livelihoods are wont to do.

“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,” the disgraced commentator said in a series of tweets that failed to explain his remarks.

In another tweet, he said, “I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech.”

Jewish scholars — and anyone who has spent more than five minutes listening to his comments — would beg to differ.

“He [Hill] has advocated the killing of Jews … He’s advocating violence against people like me and like you and against other people who believe in Israel’s right to exist and thrive as the nation-state of the Jewish people,” said Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz (above left) last week on “The Laura Ingraham Show” before the news broke about Hill’s firing from CNN.

“The greatest dangers of anti-Semitism today, because they involve the future, are what’s going on on college campuses from the hard, hard, hard-Left,” Dershowitz also said.

“[Hill] should be the poster child for increasing anti-Semitism among college and university students and violence against Jewish students,” Dershowitz added, also noting he personally needs armed guards to protect himself when he visits college campuses.

But it may prove more difficult to relieve Hill of his endowed position as chair at Temple’s Klein College of Media and Communications than it was for CNN to sever its ties with him.

Tenure rules protecting academic freedom — and for good or ill, the First Amendment — may shield him.

However, he may be in for a fight to keep his job if O’Connor has anything to say about it.

“Free speech is one thing. Hate speech is entirely different,” he said.

See the video below for a partial look at Hill’s recent and controversial U.N. comments:

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.