Marc Lamont Hill learned the hard way that some things are off-limits to be said in public, even for him.

In case you missed it, the professor and television pundit was fired from CNN following comments he made at the United Nations calling for a “free Palestine.”

The line that drew most of the ire was when Hill called for a free Palestine “from the river to the sea.”

That line, which has been a rallying cry for terrorist groups like Hamas for decades, is an overt call to eliminate Israel from existence.

After CNN dismissed Hill, there have been others calling for his firing from his main job as a professor at Temple University.

And to those calling for that to happen, I suggest they think long and hard about what they are really asking for.

This is not to say that what Hill said was not disgusting and deplorable, because it is.

Keep in mind that while I am a proud Jewish man and Vice President of the American Jewish Congress, I am still capable of understanding the difference between criticizing Israeli policy towards the Palestinians and straight-up anti-semitism.

But Hill, a self-proclaimed expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict who loves to lecture people about “dog whistles,” surely knows what the phrase he uttered is commonly understood to mean.

Even using common sense, look at a map and as yourself if Palestine were restore from the river to the sea what would that look like for Israel?

The answer is it would look like non-existence.

I would respect Hill if he would just be honest about this and have the guts to stand behind it, rather than doing what he has been doing, which is pretending he did not mean what everybody knows he actually meant and accusing his critics of not understanding him or his message.

We all understood Professor Hill perfectly well.

Now is the time he should stop being a weasel and own up to the actual content of what he had to say in his speech.

This is like when Linda Sarsour called for “jihad” on the White House and then had the nerve to try to turn the comments on those who recognized her vile remarks for the grave threat they were clearly intended to be.

Nobody was fooled by Sarsour then, and they are not fooled by Hill now.

All of this said, I do not believe CNN should have fired him and I do not believe Temple should, either.

If we are being honest, Hill’s comments are in no way surprising based on everything he has said publicly about the conflict in the past.

CNN knew exactly who Hill was when they hired him and they should have had the guts to stand behind him when the heat came.

Temple should do the same.

Because, quite frankly, as disgusting as I find Hill’s comments, he is allowed to believe what he wants and feel how he feels.

Conservatives who have rightfully complained about having their voices marginalized on campuses and numerous other platforms should sympathize with Hill on this point, even if they are repulsed by what he actually said.

It all goes along the lines of what the ACLU used to stand for — the idea that America is stronger when everybody is free to express themselves, and the answer to speech you do not like is speech you do like.

I wish those who are coming for Hill’s scalp now would remember that.

And I hope Hill, who has far too often been on the other end of these rage mobs, remembers what this experience is like the next time he decides to go after somebody he deems worthy of being ruined for allegedly “dog whistling.”

Free speech only needs to be preserved and protected to shield unpopular speech, because popular speech needs no protection.

And one man’s “over the line” is another man’s “just cause.”

Both Hill and his critics would be far better served if they actually understood that and acted accordingly instead of trying to destroy anybody who says something they personally find objectionable.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store