Under pressure from Israel’s lobby, CNN views Marc Lamont Hill’s support of Palestinian human rights as anti-Semitism
CNN has made a grave mistake by dropping renowned scholar Marc Lamont Hill (author of prizewinning Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond) as a political commentator on the network, a mistake that is bound to further erode CNN’s credibility as an objective news source.
Marc Lamont Hill is
a lifelong champion of human rights, and he speaks persistently against bigotry, including racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, and all forms of discrimination.
Nevertheless, Zionist organizations and high-level operatives in the Israel lobby, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), falsely accused him of anti-Semitism.
As the Electronic Intifada reports,
For this, the Temple University professor and long-time advocate for Palestinian rights has been the target of an orchestrated political lynching by Israel lobby groups.
Smeared as an anti-Semite and grotesquely and falsely accused of calling for genocide against Jews, Hill was fired from his role as a political commentator for CNN. …
Israel and its lobby see solidarity for Palestine from Black people as a particularly dangerous threat to be combatted with special zeal. It is no wonder that Jackie Walker, a Black Jewish anti-Zionist activist in Britain’s Labour Party, has likened the years-long smear campaign targeted at her by the Israel lobby to a lynching.
The mistake CNN has made is often referred to as “the Palestine exception” — i.e., the exception to free speech on Palestine. As reported by The Washington Post, Temple University where Hill teaches issued a statement supporting his constitutional right to speak on Palestine:
“Marc Lamont Hill does not represent Temple University and his views are his own,” said the statement. “However, we acknowledge that he has a constitutionally protected right to express his opinion as a private citizen.”
Additionally, as the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) was quick to point out, Professor Hill’s speech is “protected under basic AAUP principles of academic freedom.”
The assumption behind CNN’s firing of Marc Lamont Hill is a common mainstream media assumption, which is that Palestinian human and political rights are, by their very nature, anti-Semitic. According to this Zionist line of false and depraved reasoning, supporting one secular democratic state in Israel and the Palestinian territories under its control, a state in which all citizens are equal and restitution made to Palestinians for the Nakba, is an attack on Jews, because such a state does mean, in practical terms, an end to apartheid, Jewish supremacy (see Racial supremacy and the Zionist exception) and settler-colonialism in historic Palestine.
In fact, the opposite of such zionist reasoning is true, as Haymarket Books observed on Facebook:
The demand that Palestinians have equal rights from the river to the sea is not radical or racist or bigoted. Rather, anything short of that would be.
And as a petition circulating in support of Hill that has quickly garnered thousands of signatures from around the world states, Marc Lamont Hill advocated
for a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine crisis in a speech at the United Nations. Hill believes that given the extent of settlement activity in Palestinian territory occupied by Israel, a two-state solution is no longer viable. That leaves two paths forward: A single state in which all citizens within the borders have equal rights, or a single state that operates on an apartheid model where some citizens have basic rights, while others are left in a second-class legal status.
Under pressure from Israel’s lobby, CNN’s mistake is a failure to make room for an open discussion of a one state solution, a solution that is now considered the only viable way to end the 70-year tragedy of the Palestinian people.
Remi Kanazi, a Palestinian-American performance poet, writer and organizer based in New York City, expressed the sentiments of many Palestinians and Palestine supporters when he wrote on Facebook:
I’ve watched CNN smear Palestinians for the last 25 years, hire people who deny the existence of Palestinians, justify the bombing of schools and ambulances, and whitewash outright land theft, but one commentator simply calling for justice for Palestinians is one too many.
In CNN fires Marc Lamont Hill for pro-Palestine comments, but gives a platform to Israeli gov’t spokespeople, Amith Gupta provides us with a few particulars of CNN’s egregious policy regarding Palestinian human and political rights.
UPDATE: On 1 Dec 2018, two news reports appeared related to Marc Lamont Hill’s firing from CNN. One was a condemnation by Temple University’s Chairman of the Board Patrick O’Connor in which he calls Professor Hill’s speech “lamentable and disgusting”. The other an apology by Marc Lamont Hill himself, in which he takes the blame for the “controversy” and for causing pain by using certain phrases such as “from the river to the sea”.
There is no doubt in my mind that Professor Hill was responding to tremendous pressure, fear of losing his job at Temple University and not being able to find another, as had happened to Steven Salaita. There is no doubt also that his apology will not stop zionist attacks on him.
In my view, Professor Hill should have insisted in his clarification, if that’s what it was, that Israel does not equal the Jewish people, nor does it speak for all Jews or represent Judaism, that, in fact, it is an apartheid, settler-colonial entity occupying historic Palestine from the river to the sea.
Instead of simply calling for equality and restitution for Palestinians, Marc Lamont Hill’s “phrasing” in the apology advocates for self-determination “for both” Jews and Palestinian Arabs and for a “bi-national state” — what he calls a “radical change” within Israel.
“Radical change” within Israel in the form of achieving human and political rights, restitution and freedom for Palestinians does entail, by necessity, the destruction of the policies that maintain Jewish supremacy and Zionist control in Palestine from the river to the sea. To deny this is to prevaricate.
Full democratic rights for all in occupied Palestine from the river to the sea should take precedence over the maintenance of a majority Jewish state.
P.S. The phrase “from the river to the sea” is already visually depicted on the Israeli flag by the two blue lines containing the Star of David. Israel claims historic Palestine for Jews worldwide and not for its indigenous population, of whatever religion they might be. The claim that the stripes of Israel’s flag represent not just “from the river to the sea”, but also from “the Nile to the Euphrates” is based on clearly documented Zionist aims: “We want a Jewish Empire” (Jabotinsky in 1935); “The border of Israel will be where the army takes it” (David Ben-Gurion in 1954).
And in Tom Segev’s unmasking of the 1967 war, we learn:
As early as 1963, IDF chief of staff Yitzhak Rabin described Israel’s ideal boundaries as following the Jordan River, the Suez Canal, and the Litani River in the north. Indeed, there was widespread consensus that the borders drawn following the 1948 war were inadequate for Israel’s defense.
Note: The above was first published on Quora (30 Nov 2018) as an answer to the question: “Was CNN right to drop commentator Marc Lamont Hill after his Israel remarks?”
Rima Najjar is an activist for justice and equality in Palestine