CNN fires commentator Marc Lamont Hill for UN speech supporting Palestinian rights

CNN has fired commentator Marc Lamont Hill for a speech (view above) that he gave at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People Special Meeting at the United Nations on Wednesday.

Pro-Israel groups and individuals such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), National Council of Young Israel, Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Washington Examiner Executive Editor Seth Mandel immediately criticized Hill, and CNN quickly fired him.

Hill is a professor at Temple University, author, and media host. Ebony Magazine named him one of America’s 100 most influential Black leaders.

In response to the controversy, Hill tweeted:

‘Yesterday, I gave a speech at the UN in which I critiqued Israel’s polices and practices toward Palestinians. It’s baffling how people are not responding to the critique, but instead responding to things I didn’t actually say.

‘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.

‘I believe in full rights for all citizens. I believe in safety for all citizens. I believe in self-determination for all citizens. This is not an anti-Semitic position.

‘While I have my own beliefs about one vs two state solutions (I prefer one), it is not my job as an outsider to decide for Palestinians or Israelis. Regardless of the resolution, however, Palestinians cannot be denied freedom, self-determination, or human rights.

‘Unfortunately, we are in a moment where any critique of the Israeli government is called anti-Semitic. Any call for Palestinian freedom is seen as an attempt to diminish Israel freedom. This does not have to be, nor should it be, the case.

‘I concluded my remarks with a call to free Palestine from river to sea. This means that all areas of historic Palestine —e.g., West Bank, Gaza, Israel— must be spaces of freedom, safety, and peace for Palestinians.

‘Anyone who studies the region, or the history of Palestinian nationalism, knows that “river to sea” has been, and continues to be, a phrase used by many factions, ideologies, movements, and politicians.

‘The phrase dates back to at least the middle of the British Mandate and has never been the exclusive province of a particular ideological camp. The idea that this is a Hamas phrase is simply untrue.

‘It’s also ABSURD and illogical to suggest that a speech that explicitly called for redrawing borders and granting full citizenship for Palestinians IN Israel was also calling for its destruction. People either didn’t listen to the speech or they’re being dishonest.’

After some Twitter exchanges, Hill responded with more tweets:

‘I normally would ignore the current drama, but it’s actually important to me that I’m clear and understood. As a matter of principle.

‘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.

‘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.

‘This isn’t a case of throwing rocks and hiding hands. I genuinely believe in the arguments and principles that I shared in the speech. I also genuinely want peace, freedom, and security for everyone. These are not competing ideals and values.’

To Take Action:

Many groups are now calling for CNN to reinstate Hill. CNN’s contact info is:

CNN Twitter:
CNN: 1 (404) 827-1500
CNN Feedback form:

Sign a petition here

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