High-level operatives of the Israel lobby are behind calls to fire Marc Lamont Hill from Temple University

Marc Lamont Hill at his new café and bookstore Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books in Philadelphia. Photo: Jehron Muhammad

It is now widely acknowledged on social media that

The Israel lobby that represents extreme political Zionism in the United States is seeking to make an example of Marc Lamont Hill in order to avoid having to discuss the important issues he brought up in his speech.

Or as Ali Abunimah points out in the Electronic Intifada,

The accusations against Marc Lamont Hill are outright lies promoted by high-level operatives [example Adam Milstein, Co-founder, Adam & Gila Milstein Foundation | Israeli-American Advocate & Philanthropist] of the Israel lobby in their latest effort to silence and punish anyone who dares speak out in support of Palestinian equality and freedom from Israel’s brutal regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.

You can watch Professor Hill’s pro-Palestine speech here.

Critics of Hill have claimed

that he implicitly called for the destruction of Israel as a state. Though Hill did not make that claim, the alarm raised by these critics is ironic given that Israel is currently — and has been for decades — seeking to ethnically cleanse the historic land of Palestine of all of its indigenous inhabitants.

In an expose titled The Political Lynching of Marc Lamont Hill: What You’re Not Being Told, Whitney Webb, a staff writer for MintPress News, details some of the actors involved and shows how they are connected to the Israel lobby.

Webb begins by naming Leonard Barrack, a politically influential Philadelphia lawyer, Temple trustee and major donor to the university, who, it turns out has connections to the Israel lobby, specifically to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Barrack was joined in his pressure on Temple University to punish Professor Marc Lamont Hill for his speech by another Temple University alumnus with connections to the Israel lobby: the President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Morton Klein, who called Professor Hill a “Bigot Jew-hater.”

Whitney Webb goes on to explain that

Like Barrack, Klein has considerable political pull in this situation, not because of his ties to Temple University necessarily, but because of his ties to the Trump administration and Trump’s largest political donor, Sheldon Adelson [who funds the organization Klein leads, the Zionist Organization of American (ZOA), which targets conservatives in the U.S.]

Webb cites more organizations implicated in the above through their tweets and other activities. These are:

  1. American Jewish Committee (AJC), which targets liberals in the U.S., through its spokesperson Avi Mayer.

2. UN Watch, a wholly owned subsidiary of AJC.

3. The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI), an umbrella group for over 100 smaller organizations in the U.S. which has boasted on its web page (“Our founding roots”) that it had funneled weapons to Zionist terror groups like Irgun during the Palestinian Nakba. It is now engaged in promoting anti-BDS action on U.S. college campuses, demonstrating that the Jewish-State Nakba in historic Palestine is ongoing.

In a comment on my answer on Quora, Tom Hammer, M.Ed. from Temple University (1972), adds another actor to the above:

I just finished reading an opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer attacking Hill by Adam Levick, a senior researcher at CAMERA, which is a noted pro-Israeli group that aggressively attempts to pressure US media to write pro-Israeli pieces or attempts to get retractions. They also tried to infiltrate Wikipedia and place one of their members there as an administrator without disclosing the [that] he was a member of their group. The disputed account was banned for life, I believe. Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America — Wikipedia

There is no doubt that

the campaign against Hill employed prominent figures and organizations in the Israel lobby, many of whom hold extremist positions and are openly racist.

For further information on the power of the Israel lobby, watch the final episode of Al Jazeera’s documentary film on the subject and read “It’s Killing the Student Movement”: Canary Mission’s Blacklist of Pro-Palestine Activists Is Taking a Toll.

Increasingly, however, I am glad to report, the excesses of the Israel lobby are catching up with it and many in academia are no longer cowed into silence.
Temple University’s faculty has rallied to Professor Hill’s defense and issued a statement, not only defending his right to express his views on Palestine, but also castigating the action of Patrick O’Connor, chair of Temple University’s board of trustees, who is so clearly under the sway of the Israel lobby:

We respect O’Connor’s right to express his own views on the Israeli occupation. But if anyone is guilty of violating Temple’s clause on academic freedom, it is O’Connor. His comments were not restrained, he did not show respect for Hill’s opinions, and he flagrantly misrepresented his views as those of everyone at Temple. Most egregiously, O’Connor undermined academic freedom by implying that firing Hill was desirable and/or in process. Academic freedom is a bedrock principle of academia. O’Connor has betrayed that principle and we have no confidence in his leadership of the board.


Note: The above content was first published (5 Dec 2018) as my answer on Quora to the question “Who is behind the call to fire Professor Marc Lamont Hill from his teaching position at Temple University?”.

Rima Najjar is a former professor (now retired) at Al-Quds University, Palestine