Jason Hill is a Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University. Recently he published an article called, “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, which climaxed in a faculty council meeting to vote on a resolution condemning his article. In this blog, I would like to explain how the university demonstrated three major double standards against pro-Israel professors and students by condemning Hill. In addition, I would like to call the students accusing Hill of being liars.
First Double Standard: There is no logical or morally consistent principle in the attack against Hill.
The resolution to condemn Hill accused his article of four crimes, Hill: “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.”
The resolution was passed, but the resolution never quoted Hill. In other words, Hill was found guilty without evidence, the whole thing was a Kangaroo Court. Although, Acting Provost Salma Ghanem released a public statement, which finally produced a single quote from the article, justifying the reasons why Hill was condemned. However, I want to point out a contradiction. Provost Ghanem condemned Hill based on what appeared to be the accusation that Hill had argued that not all people should be treated as equal, but she provided a quote by Hill, which said that all people should be treated as equal.
Provost Ghanem wrote, “At DePaul, we value all individuals equally and are truly disheartened that a member of our own community (Hill) asserts ‘Not all cultures are indeed equal. Some are abysmally inferior and regressive based on their comprehensive philosophy and fundamental principles—or lack thereof—that guide or fail to protect the inalienable rights of their citizens.’” Yet, when Hill’s statement is flipped in reverse, then it reads: Societies which, “fail to protect the inalienable rights of their citizens,” are, “inferior and regressive.” Hill stated a normal moral principle: Societies which do not grant civil rights are morally inferior to societies which do grant civil rights. Notice the contradiction, Provost Ghanem and Hill said the exact same thing, but Hill was condemned as a bigot. This means there is no logical or morally consistent principle in the attacks against Hill by the Provost.
The only difference is who Hill accused. Hill accused Palestinian society of failing to create a functioning democracy. His crime was not the moral principle he stated, but rather who he accused of failing to achieve this moral standard. To me, it appears that the DePaul professors attacking Hill believe that Israel is to blame for Palestinian society failing to create a democracy. So when Hill blamed the Palestinians for the failure, then the faculty wanted to correct him.
Second Double Standard: The denial of other students who felt threatened by the actions of the students attacking Hill.
At first glance, the situation appears like the DePaul University chapter of SJP was so offended by Hill’s article that they had to take action. But, this is not accurate. SJP is a national organization, which boasts 200 chapters. The campaign they launched against Hill was nothing new. As a national organization SJP branches routinely harass pro-Israel professors and students. The book, “Anti-Zionism on Campus,” explains, “SJP members, calling for Israel’s destruction with violence endorsing slogans, often intimidate fellow students and professors, in some cases even assaulting Jewish students.”
SJP has an unpleasant rivalry with another national student organization that defends Israel on campus called, “Students Supporting Israel (SSI).” SJP regularly targets pro-Israel events for disruption. Fully aware of this pattern of attacks, the national organization of SSI started a campaign to protect Hill. SSI started a counter petition, which stated, “In some cases from around the country, these groups (SJP) physically disrupt events of Israeli or pro-Israel academics. This time they are trying to censure and shame an academic scholar via a resolution.” This statement by SSI is factually correct. The second double standard is demonstrated in the complete denial that a national organization of students wrote a petition expressing their fear of the pattern of attacks led by SJP. The safety of these pro-Israel students was completely ignored.
Third Double Standard: The DePaul SJP chapter officially calls for the destruction of Israel.
The Students Supporting Israel petition also explained, “We would like to express our outrage at this decision’s cowardliness and double standard. While hundreds of articles demonizing Israel or call for a one state solution that would end Israel are published on campuses nationwide and go unnoticed, it is an article of a faculty member that’s critical of terrorism and that calls out the problematic Palestinian moral stance that gets the writer accused of ‘an abuse of his academic freedom’ in a resolution.” The third double standard is exactly what SSI explained, which is that calls for the destruction of Israel are ever present on campus and go unnoticed. The best example is the DePaul Chapter of SJP, their official logo is a map of Israel being destroyed and replaced with Palestine.
When a student group shares a drawing of a specific map of a country, with specific borders, followed by it being destroyed and replaced with another country, then there is no way to misunderstand their goal. They completely reject the two-state solution. It is safe to say that the DePaul SJP has an official position that Israel should be destroyed and replaced with Palestine. This means that the DePaul faculty supported a student group, who officially calls for the destruction of Israel, in order to condemn Hill as a racist.
Sometimes college students are liars:
SJP hosted an, “Anti-Hate Rally: Condemn Jason Hill and Hate Speech on Campus.” At the rally, the student president of SJP, Jinan Chehade accused Hill of, “calling for the ethnic genocide of Palestinians.” Chehade also described Hill in a college radio interview, “if what he said were to come into fruition, millions would die.” 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.” SJP board member, Rifqa Falaneh also took the microphone, “DePaul we call on you… You validate the very man who says I don’t deserve to breathe.” In addition, the student newspaper, “The DePaulia,” interviewed both Hill and Falaneh. Hill explained that, “My physical safety was threatened on campus.” In response, Falaneh stated, “I think it’s very ironic what he’s saying.” And, “He’s kind of making us, the students at DePaul, the ones who are inciting this violence, where as he’s the one who published this article, and that whole article is inciting ethnic violence and inciting genocide.” Again, Falaneh repeated that Hill wants to commit genocide. The only problem is that Hill has never called for genocide, which means these students are liars.
So, I want to step in and bring some clarity to the situation: Hill never called for genocide. If I am wrong, then all those who claim Hill said he wanted to commit genocide need to do is produce this missing quote from Hill. Don’t worry, it doesn’t exist, so they can’t, it’s all made up lies. Sometimes students are not victims, sometimes they are the ones making the false accusations. Sometimes, you just have to call college students liars.