On November 28 , Marc Lamont Hill, a 39 year old professor of Media Studies at Temple University and a political commentator on CNN, delivered a speech to the United Nations in support of the Palestinian people. He advocated for their human rights, outlined how Israel denies Palestinians their basic liberties, and asked the international community to ‘commit to political action’.
The next day — under pressure from right-wing leaders and the Jewish establishment — CNN fired him.
The demands for Hill’s head from supporters of Israel that evidently led to his firing as well as expressions of solidarity from Palestinian supporters in the aftermath show that the end of the two-state-solution is bringing about open ideological conflict in the U.S. establishment, with supporters of Palestinians being accused of anti-Semitism, much as they are in the U.K.
The scholar had just returned from a visit to Palestine and said he was thirsty because he was boycotting Israeli water. Hill went on to say that Palestinians have been stripped of their rights for 70 years since the Nakba, described Palestinian persecution with great specificity and said that their resistance must be honored in all forms, chiefly by supporting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS. The speech notes that black resistance in the U.S. was not strictly nonviolent:All of this should by now be non-controversial but in the dumbed-down USA where AIPAC still holds money and power over craven politicians and media outlets.
Lamont Hill supports a boycott BDS the same nonviolent tactic which ended apartheid. He added
Solidarity from the international community demands that we embrace boycotts, divestment, and sanctions as a critical means by which to hold Israel accountable for its treatment of Palestinian people. This movement, which emerges out of the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society offers a nonviolent means by which to demand a return to the pre ’67 borders, full rights for Palestinian citizens, and the right of return as dictated by international law.
Advocating for Palestinian rights it seems is a fireable offense. In supporting Palestinian freedom, Marc Lamont-Hill was in no way being antisemitic.
Professor Hill has spent much of his life fighting against racism and oppression in America. In a tweet responding to accusations against him, he said “I support Palestinian freedom. I support Palestinian self-determination. I am deeply critical of Israeli policy and practice. 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”.
Especially in the Trump Era, it is dangerous to link advocating for Palestinian rights to anti-semitism. It distracts from real threats to Jewish community — the rise of white nationalism. Once again we are seeing the American Jewish establishment censor conversations about Palestinian rights by falsely claiming antisemitism, and it is setting a terrifying precedent.
Meanwhile, CNN has not cut ties with many other frequent contributors who have expressed beliefs that are actually bigoted. For example, Rick Santorum, currently a senior political commentator at CNN, has such reactionary views on Israel that he has called Palestinians an “invented people.”
with files from Mondoweiss