On Wednesday, CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill appeared before the United Nations to speak about the plight of the Palestinian people. In his speech to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Temple University professor used a phrase often used by terrorist groups to advocate for the destruction of the Israeli state. Hill said it was time for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea,” a phrase that, by definition, would leave no room for the country currently identified as Israel.
Whether or not Hill meant it that way is up for reasonable debate, but the fact remains that this phrase is commonly used by Hamas and others to represent a future where Israel is wiped off the map. Hill, a strong advocate for Palestinians, has no excuse for not knowing that.
Hill’s speech came under immediate fire from supporters of Israel, and they called on CNN to do the right thing and condemn Hill, if not remove him from the network altogether. On Friday, CNN announced that they were doing just that.
“Marc Lamont Hill is no longer under contract with CNN,” a spokesman for the network said in a statement to media outlets.
Wow, CNN did the right thing for once? Extraordinary.
Hill’s reference to a “free Palestine from the river to the sea” was not the only disturbing portion of his speech. The entire thing was a paeon to Palestinian violence and a piece of propaganda made to characterize Israel as the evil oppressors of brown Muslims.
“If we are standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must recognize the right of an occupied people to defend itself,” Hill said. “We must prioritize peace, but we must not romanticize or fetishize it.”
Fetishize it! …What?
On Twitter, Hill denied that there was anything violent or anti-semitic in his speech.
“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,” Hill wrote. “My reference to ‘river to the sea’ was not a call to destroy anything or anyone. It was a call for justice, both in Israel and in the West Bank/Gaza. The speech very clearly and specifically said those things. No amount of debate will change what I actually said or what I meant.”
Well, that’s true, Mr. Hill. That’s absolutely true.