Temple University stands by Marc Lamont Hill after CNN fires him for anti-Israel remarks

At least one person is somehow too polarizing for cable news, but apparently just fine for academia.

Temple University stood by Marc Lamont Hill on Thursday, the same day he was fired from CNN after he gave a speech at the United Nations in which he used language critics described as a dog whistle advocating the elimination of Israel.

Hill, a now-former CNN commentator, is also a professor of media studies and urban education at Temple University in Philadelphia. While the school doesn’t necessarily agree with Hill’s controversial rhetoric, it feels he has the right to speak freely.

“Marc Lamont Hill has been quoted extensively over the last 24 hours. Marc Lamont Hill does not represent Temple University and his views are his own. However, we acknowledge that he has a constitutionally protected right to express his opinion as a private citizen,” a Temple spokesperson told Fox News.

Hill had come under criticism for his remarks during a Wednesday meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. He accused the Israeli government of “normalizing settler colonialism" and called for a "free Palestine from the river to the sea," a remark that got applause from participating diplomats.

At one point, Hill poured himself some water and told participants that he just got off a flight from “Palestine” and that “I was boycotting the Israeli water so I was unable to quench my thirst.”

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“If we are standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must recognize the right of an occupied people to defend itself," Hill said during a portion of his speech comparing the Palestinian movement with the American civil-rights movement. "We must prioritize peace, but we must not romanticize or fetishize it."

On Thursday morning, Hill attempted to defend his remarks on Twitter. He wrote: "In my speech, I talked about the need to return to the pre-1967 borders, to give full rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel, and to allow right of return. No part of this is a call to destroy Israel. It’s absurd on its face."

Still, critics noted that the phrase "from the river to the sea" is used regularly by numerous anti-Israel groups, including the terror group Hamas. Hill responded by claiming that the phrase "precedes Hamas by more than 50 years" and "has a variety of meanings."

Media watchdogs pointed out that Hill’s controversial comment at the U.N. didn’t jibe with CNN’s anti-hate programming. The network parted ways with him after hours of speculation over the situation, during which many media critics questioned whether or not CNN would take action.

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"Marc Lamont Hill is no longer under contract with CNN," a spokesperson for the cable network told Fox News.

Hill previously taught at Morehouse College in Atlanta and Columbia University in New York.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.