Marc La­mont Hill does not de­serve for­give­ness

The Jerusalem Post - - COMMENT & FEATURES - • By ALAN KADISH

CNN con­trib­u­tor Marc La­mont Hill does not de­serve for­give­ness. His true col­ors were ev­i­dent as he is­sued a disin­gen­u­ous “apol­ogy” for ad­vo­cat­ing the de­struc­tion of Is­rael as he called for a Pales­tine “from the river to the sea.”

Athough it is not nec­es­sar­ily a pos­i­tive devel­op­ment that the age of so­cial me­dia has com­pelled us all to dis­pense with nu­ance and be­come quick to con­demn, some­times ap­ply­ing for­give­ness se­lec­tively is ex­actly what is war­ranted. Should a sin­gle mis­state­ment, poorly tuned phrase or a soli­tary act that is equiv­o­cal in its mean­ing and im­pact come to de­fine a per­son’s en­tire life?

Not al­ways. But in this case Marc La­mont Hill did in­deed mean what he said and a brief ut­ter­ance pro­vided a win­dow into strongly held be­liefs. In­stead of show­ing where he was wrong in his ini­tial state­ment, his “apol­ogy” for his re­marks ad­vo­cat­ing “a free Pales­tine from the river to the sea” fur­ther clar­i­fied his un­con­scionable po­si­tion. Hill ar­gued that the de­struc­tion of Is­rael was not his agenda – that he was sim­ply ad­vo­cat­ing a sin­gle state so­lu­tion that he be­lieves will pro­mote jus­tice in the re­gion.

He never ex­pressed concern re­gard­ing what such a so­lu­tion would do to the Jewish res­i­dents of even the pre-1967 bor­ders, who also hap­pen to live be­tween the Jor­dan and Mediter­ranean. In his “apol­ogy” he re­it­er­ated all that Is­rael has done to “op­press” the Pales­tini­ans, never as­sign­ing any re­spon­si­bil­ity to the res­i­dents of the West Bank or Gaza. It is a one-sided view of the con­flict that is pro­foundly an­tisemitic be­cause it as­signs rights only to those who are not Jewish.

Hill jus­ti­fied his stance by stat­ing that one can­not be “pro­gres­sive” and turn a blind eye to the plight of the Pales­tini­ans. He missed the point that many Jews, and even most Is­raelis, are pro­foundly con­cerned about the Arab res­i­dents of manda­tory Pales­tine. They just do not be­lieve that those rights must mean the de­struc­tion of Is­rael.

I do be­lieve Marc Hill is sorry for the pain his re­marks have caused. He cited a life of op­po­si­tion to an­tisemitism, ex­pressed sur­prise at the re­ac­tion to his re­marks, and de­nied that he har­bors ill will to­ward Jews. How­ever, the first step to re­pen­tance is ac­knowl­edg­ing one’s er­rors. Marc La­mont Hill has failed in this re­gard.

While he has been fired from CNN, he re­mains a pro­fes­sor at Tem­ple Univer­sity, where his ap­point­ment was reaf­firmed af­ter his “apol­ogy.” I dis­agree with the univer­sity ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ci­sion. His total lack of concern for the rights of all and his sup­posed shock at the re­sponse to call­ing for a Pales­tine “from the river to the sea” ought to dis­qual­ify him from teach­ing.

To for­give him is to em­power his hate-filled rhetoric to spread in an age when an­tisemitism is on the rise on col­lege cam­puses and around the coun­try. Im­pres­sion­able stu­dents de­serve to hear ob­jec­tive pre­sen­ta­tions of all sides of these key is­sues. To ex­on­er­ate Hill and al­low him to con­tinue pre­sent­ing the world as he sees it and shap­ing young minds is ir­re­spon­si­ble.

The writer is pres­i­dent of the Touro Col­lege and Univer­sity sys­tem, the na­tion’s largest in­sti­tu­tion of higher learn­ing un­der Jewish aus­pices.


WHY DID Marc La­mont Hill sup­port Pales­tinian claims to Is­rael?

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