CNN Fires Marc Lamont Hill After Israel Comments

Illustration for article titled CNN Fires Marc Lamont Hill After Israel Comments
Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images

Yesterday, in a speech before the United Nations, CNN commentator and Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill advocated for armed resistance against Israel, stating that a free Palestine should be expanded “from the river to the sea,” a phrase popular with opponents of Israel’s statehood.

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After his speech, he clarified on Twitter.

“I support Palestinian freedom. I support Palestinian self-determination. I am deeply critical of Israeli policy and practice,” he said. “I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech. I have spent my life fighting these things.”

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In response, the National Council of Young Israel called for his ouster.

“With his racist views and unabashed denigration of Israel, Dr. Hill does not deserve to be given any sort of platform that facilitates the dissemination of his bigotry, whether it be on Cable TV or in a classroom.”

“In light of Dr. Hill’s malevolent anti-Semitic remarks, we call upon CNN and Temple University to fire him immediately,” the statement continued.

Sharon Nazarian, the Anti-Defamation League’s senior vice president for international affairs, condemned Hill’s words.

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“Those calling for ‘from the river to the sea’ are calling for an end to the State of Israel,” Nazarian told the Jewish Journal.

Today, CNN announced Hill, who also hosted a show on BET, “is no longer under contract with CNN,” per a spokesperson’s email.

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Hill has come under fire for his anti-Israel comments in the past and has been labeled anti-Semitic by opponents online. His use of the “from the river to the sea” phrase is especially troubling: It’s been one of Hamas’ slogans for years.

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Still, his ouster saw an outpouring of support from pundits and commentators, many of them pointing out CNN’s decision to keep personalities with anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim rhetoric.

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Hill, for his part, has defended his words in a series of tweets, pointing to the historical significance of the phrase in question:

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While, ultimately, reaffirming his original speech:

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Temple University could not be reached for comment.

Contributing Editor. When he's not pullin' up, he's usually jumpin' out. You can find him in the cut.

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DISCUSSION

whatamithinking
whatamithinking

Given the nature of politics surrounding the state of Israel in the American context, Prof. Hill should have known that black intellectuals, politicians, clergy, activists and entertainers are not allowed nuance when criticizing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people. For black people you are either pro-Israel or an antisemite, so it seems. It’s almost a way of terrorizing you into silence, and it works. You will hardly find a black politician who opposes Israel’s policies; Those who dare, like Cynthia McKinney, have been demonized, marginalized and expelled from polite society. Prof Marc Lamont Hill is about to suffer the same fate.

Where does it say that oppressed or occupied groups of people do not have to the right to fight against their colonizers by any means necessary? Justice for the Palestinians!