Marc Lamont Hill gave a monumental speech discussing the importance of solidarity and justice for the Palestinian people during an event at the United Nations. A speech that called for freedom and basic human rights. A speech that called Israel out for its continuous illegal occupation, destruction, and violence. A speech based on facts, and a call for non-violent action from the international community.
Hill, a commentator for CNN, was fired for this very speech. That’s right. A news outlet that prides itself on telling the “most difficult stories” and insists on #FactsFirst has fired one of its very own for speaking the truth. Unfortunately, this serves as another example of the world attempting to silence an individual for speaking up for the oppressed.
CNN reported that they severed ties with Hill “following controversial comments” he made about Israel. However, those so-called “controversial comments” are, in actuality, facts.
Hill’s firing is a display of hypocrisy in its absolute, purest form given the parade of anti-Palestinian bigots CNN keeps on its payroll. Rick Santorum in particular denies the existence of a Palestinian population entirely, and yet remains comfortably employed by CNN. The fact that a man denying the well-documented suffering of an entire people is permitted a platform for his hateful rhetoric, while an individual calling for an end to an illegal land-grab is not offered the same platform, is shameful, and hypocritical.
Palestinians have been denied their basic human rights for decades; it’s a known fact. No amount of obfuscation will change this. tweet
Hill stated in his speech that “Israel’s practices are routinely in clear violation of the UN’s Convention on torture which was signed by Israel in 1986 and ratified in 1991. While the Declaration of Human Rights insists that no one be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile, Palestinians are routinely denied due process of law.”
Palestinians have been denied their basic human rights for decades; it’s a known fact. No amount of obfuscation will change this.
Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner stated that “[Hill] made comments that called for the elimination of Israel and endorsed violent ‘resistance’ from Palestinians.” This has us scratching our heads, wondering if he even listened to the same speech.
Hill clearly stated, “We must advocate and promote non-violence at every opportunity, but we cannot endorse a narrow politics of respectability that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing, to do nothing in the face of state violence and ethnic cleansing.”
The Washington Examiner article went on to state that Hill had a “history” of anti-Semitism. We just have one thing to say to that, and we’ll say it louder for the people in the back: anti-Zionism is not synonymous with anti-Semitism. To further their stretch of the truth and misconstrued conclusions, they also stated that Hill called for the destruction of Israel because of his use of the phrase “from the river to the sea.”
What Hill actually said: “We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words, but to commit to political action, grassroots action, local action, and international action that will give us what justice requires and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea.”
A call for a free Palestine does not equate to the destruction of Israel. A call for a free Palestine is a call for just that: a free Palestine. There is no hidden meaning. There are no lines to read in-between. Misinterpreting a speech to serve your own agenda is not responsible journalism.
The Washington Examiner and CNN have served as a disservice to journalism and a disservice to humanity, for the way they chose to respond.
There was no call for violence or the destruction of Israel in Hill’s speech. His speech was a call to hold Israel accountable and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
“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, Hill said.
CNN didn’t fire Hill for his controversial comments about Israel. He was fired for being a voice for the Palestinian people. tweet
Hill’s point is clear. Words are no longer sufficient, and the international community must come together and take action through boycotts, divestments, and sanctions.
“Words will not stop poets like Dareen Tatour from being caged in Israeli jails for having the audacity to speak the truth about the conditions of struggle on her own personal Facebook page…Words will not stop peaceful protesters in Gaza from being killed as they fight for freedom against Israel’s still undeclared borders,” said Hill.
So, no. CNN didn’t fire Hill for his controversial comments about Israel. He was fired for being a voice for the Palestinian people. He was fired for speaking the truth. He was fired for advocating for basic human rights. He was fired for calling for non-violent efforts in the face of Israel’s state violence.
“Regarding the question of Palestine, beyond words, we must ask the question, ‘What does justice require?’ To truly engage in acts of solidarity, we must make our words flesh. Our solidarity must be more than a noun. Our solidarity must become a verb,” Hill said.
We will not stop speaking out against hypocrisy where the oppression of the Palestinian people is concerned.
We will not stop insisting on the truth that anti-zionism is not synonymous with anti-semitism.
We will not stop speaking up for those who are punished for their pro-Palestinian stance.
We stand with Marc Lamont Hill. #IStandWithMLH