Student groups demand apology after professor’s ‘Islamophobic’ article

An ethics professor who is no stranger to controversy has found himself once again in the firing line of upset students following the publication of a recent op-ed in which he argues that Israel “has the moral right” to annex all of the West Bank and strip Arabs living in Israel of their right to vote.

Jason Hill, a professor in the philosophy department and a director of teaching practicum, wrote in the right-wing online magazine The Federalist that Israel can and should annex the West Bank, and made a mistake by not doing so right after the Six-Day War in 1967.

“The point I wanted to make in the article is that Israel, which has an unequivocal, categorical right to exist, made an altruistic mistake of making the Palestinian people their moral and political problem in the first place,” Hill told The DePaulia.

Hill argues under a subheading titled “The Palestinian Authority is a Terrible Government” that “a strong argument can and ought to be made to strip Palestinians of their right to vote—period.” He also writes that “not all cultures are created equally” and that some are “abysmally inferior or regressive.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who recently won his re-election campaign, has been facing criticism of his policies toward Arabs in Israel in recent weeks. Shortly before the election, he vowed to completely annex the West Bank, an announcement that pleased the Israeli right.

Hill and the article began to take flak almost immediately after it was published. A Palestinian DePaul student posted a tweet critical of the article, in which she says the article argues in favor of the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians, which has gathered more than 1,100 retweets by the time of publication.

“I had to read [the article] twice to believe what I was seeing because it was so blatantly racist and mean,” Sumaya Haydar, the sophomore who wrote the tweet told The DePaulia.

“I have never used the term [ethnic cleansing],” Hill said. “Those are nefarious conclusions that people are drawing from a misreading of this article.”

A coalition of activist student groups, including the DePaul chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine, United Muslims Moving Ahead, DePaul Socialists, Students Against Incarceration, College Democrats and Lambdas, banded together to call on DePaul to condemn the professor and ask for an apology.

“We, the students of DePaul University call upon the administration to censure Professor Hill for his heinous statements against marginalized communities,” the student coalition said in a statement. “His comments create unsafe and uncomfortable spaces for everyone, especially Palestinian and Muslim students […] We are not only seeking censure, but for Professor Hill to commit to racial sensitivity training and to release a public apology for his immoral conduct.

“I love DePaul and I love going to school here, but I think  having people [with views like Hill’s] here is a little problematic,” Haydar said. “I think it will say more about them how they deal with the issue and how they respond to students who have a problem with it.”

The group of students called the article “racist, anti-Palestinian, xenophobic, sexist, and Islamophobic.”

“I think [the blowback from the article] is a residual effect of a great deal of anti-semitism and hatred towards Israel as the only successful democracy in a very illiberal and primitive part of the world,” Hill said.

Hill also took flake for an opinion piece published in July by The Hill in which he argues that “the gravest internal threat to this country […] is leftist professors who are waging a war against America” and that colleges should be defunded and disbanded so than can be rebuilt with “conservative principles.”