Dr. Jason Hill is a professor of philosophy at DePaul University, who recently published an article titled, “The Moral Case for Israel Annexing the West Bank.” In response to this article, The Depaul chapter of “Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP),” led a smear campaign against Hill, climaxing in a faculty council meeting to vote on a resolution condemning his article. Judaic Studies Professor Steven Resnicoff published an article, outlining in careful detail, how this faculty council meeting broke many rules of procedure. In addition, he explained that the resolution declared that Hill, “advocates for war crimes and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians.” The resolution was passed. But, Professor Resnicoff pointed out a serious flaw, “the resolution failed to identify which statements in the article purportedly did these things.”
The chair of the Faculty Council, Religious Studies Professor Scott Paeth helped write and propose the resolution against Hill, rather than therefore recusing himself, Paeth presided over the debate. As Professor Resnicoff explained, “the Faculty Council also violated its bylaws by allowing Professor Scott Paeth to preside over debate on the resolution.” Paeth also refused to call on Professor Resnicoff, who is an Orthodox Jew, and who would have clearly defended Hill in the debate. Thus, Paeth’s, “failure to do so rendered the Faculty Council’s action fundamentally unfair.”
It is also worth noting: Similar to Hill, Paeth has also written opinion pieces about the conflict, but in contrast, Paeth blames Israel for the lack of peace with the Palestinians. Professor Paeth is also an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. In 2015, his church voted to join the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel. Paeth wrote a blog praising the church’s decision, and expressed his hope that the boycott movement would break down Israel’s, “international legitimacy,” and thus force Israel to make greater concessions to the Palestinians. Paeth wrote, “But perhaps over time, as Israel watches its once-substantial international legitimacy dwindle, a subsequent government will recognize that the only path to peace and stability will come through a just resolution with the Palestinian people.”
When I finished reading the report of the twisted events, I sent Paeth a bristiling message accusing him of acting within a tradition of Christians who accused Jews of sadistic transgressions, or by extension, someone who dared to defend Jewish people. In response, Paeth forwarded my email around campus to his colleagues. So, I decided to present my recrimination against Paeth to the public. Are my analogies accurate?
Here are some excerpts:
“Dear Professor Paeth, I read about the kangaroo court you led to harm Professor Hill… You come from an ancient tradition of Christians who held mock trials to persecute Jews. In a different century you would have been a Catholic priest explaining that the Jews killed a young boy to drink his blood.”
Paeth scoffed: “You have clearly given this lots of thought, rather than having rattled off the kind of email that would be written by an imbecile with no real knowledge of the facts.”
I charged: “If you lived in France in the late 1800s, then you would have helped host the Dreyfus trial.” I also got a little personal and called him a, “self-righteous Christian windbag.”
Paeth laughed: “I find you hilarious!” And, “You’ve been providing enormous entertainment value, not only for me, but also for dozens of others today.”
I came back: “What did your friends find funny? Did they think it was funny that you broke a bunch of rules to harm the reputation of a black man?
Paeth retorted: “As for what my friends find funny, it’s precisely your ridiculous claims that there is even the slightest motivation of anti-Semitism or hostility to black people in it.”
The transformation of Jason Hill from a professor into a man who wants to kill people.
Professor Hill is not Jewish. He is a black, gay immigrant. Recently, he wrote an article, arguing that Israel has the legal right to annex The West Bank. In response, “Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP),” started a smear campaign to vilify Hill. Students chanted, “Jason Hill, you can’t hide, we know you want genocide.” SJP issued three demands: 1) the administration must, “censure Professor Hill for his heinous statements,” 2) Hill needs to, “commit to racial sensitivity training,” and 3) Hill needs, “to release a public apology for his immoral conduct.” SJP hosted a rally, called the, “Anti-Hate Rally: Condemn Jason Hill and Hate Speech on Campus.” The student president of SJP, Jinan Chehade started, “We are here to stand against racism and violence… that calling for the ethnic genocide of Palestinians and labeling an entire race and religion as primitive, barbaric, and animals with hooves, and targeting other minority groups is not a matter of academic freedom.”
Another SJP student, named Rifqa took the microphone, “DePaul we call on you… You validate the very man who says I don’t deserve to breathe. Professor Jason Hill has not only attacked Palestinians, but also attacked women, Muslims, immigrants and the Trans-Community.” The Chaplain of, “Muslim Life,” Abdul-Malik Ryan, spoke at the rally and proclaimed to the students that Hill was, “openly calling for a group to be exterminated.” This is how SJP frenetically transformed professor Hill, for simply making the case that Israel has the right to annex The West Bank – into a man who has declared Palestinians to be, “animals with hooves,” who, “don’t deserve to breathe,” which is why he calls for, “a group to be exterminated.”
The Kangaroo Court:
Some faculty members joined teams with the students leading this rally and ran with the accusations, so if Hill made any of these statements in his article, then they would be easy to cite. Professor Scott Paeth helped write the resolution to condemn Hill and presided over the debate on the resolution. The resolution accused Hill of four crimes, Hill’s article: “1) misrepresents the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 2) distorts the facts about the current state of Israeli-Palestinian relations, 3) promotes racism toward Arabs generally and Palestinians in particular, and 4) advocates for war crimes and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian populations of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.” In this case, a minimum of four quotes from the article would have been necessary to demonstrate definitively where Hill committed these four offenses.
The faculty council voted to condemn the article by a margin of 21-10. At first glance, it seems impressive – twenty-one professors agreed Hill’s article committed all four terrible crimes. Until you learn that not a single sentence of Hill’s article was quoted in the resolution. The resolution did not contain a single quote from Hill’s article. It doesn’t matter how many professors voted, it matters how many quotes they provided to prove Hill to be guilty. How do we know this was a Kangaroo Court? Hill was found guilty without evidence.
Another possible reason why Hill was found guilty:
Professor Resnicoff is the Director of Center for Jewish Law and Judaic Studies, so what did he say he believed was the reason Hill was found guilty? He explained: I, “recently attended a public meeting of the university’s Faculty Council. I feel compelled to comment on the procedurally improper and profoundly unfair way in which it publicly pilloried professor Jason Hill, a senior faculty member. Why? Because he had the temerity to publish unpopular opinions — pro-Israel opinions.”
What does it mean to accuse a person of wanting to commit genocide or war crimes?
Jason Hill is not Jewish, but, “he had the temerity to publish unpopular opinions — pro-Israel opinions.” When I emailed Professor Paeth, I claimed that he was acting from within a framework of, “an ancient tradition of Christians who held mock trials to persecute Jews.” I compared his actions to, “a Catholic priest explaining that the Jews killed a young boy to drink his blood,” and the Dreyfus Trial. I did not choose these two analogies at random. In a different century, Jews were often depicted as wanting to kill young Christian boys and drink their blood. With this accusation, Jews were not like human beings but like wild animals – they were incarnate evil.
After the Holocaust, in this century, the most evil act imaginable to the modern mind is genocide. In our day, to accuse a person of wanting to commit genocide, ethnic cleansing, or war crimes – is to accuse a person of the most evil acts possible. While in a more narrow context, after the creation of the State of Israel, when people want to demonize Jews, then they accuse them of wanting to murder Palestinian children. Hence, why both of these accusations were strategically made against Hill, both make him the incarnation of bloodlust.
When the DePaul professors buttressed the students indictment that Hill advocates for genocide and ethnic cleansing, they confirmed the accusation that Hill wants to commit the greatest possible evil. Accusing a professor of wanting to commit war crimes is not like accusing a professor of stealing a pencil off a desk. By definition, war crimes involve killing non-combatants, – it means killing innocent people. If Hill advocated for war crimes, then by definition he advocated for killing kids. Hence, why this charge against Hill is comparable to a Catholic Priest accusing a Jewish person of wanting to murder children. Professor Paeth is a minister and helped write the resolution to condemn Hill. This is why I am pointing out that he is acting within a tradition of Christians accusing Jews of being guilty of the worst kinds of evil imaginable – or in this case, someone who dared defend Jews.
In the Alfred Dreyfus Trial, a Jewish army officer was accused of selling military secrets to the Germans. A Kangaroo Court was held, and Dreyfus was convicted without any evidence. In the same way, Hill was also found guilty without evidence, or specifics. This is why I am pointing out that Paeth and the faculty council are acting within a tradition of finding Jewish people guilty without evidence, or, in this case, someone who dared advocate for Jewish rights and safety. Hence, both analogies are accurate.