Marc Lamont Hill politically lynched for telling truth about Palestine

Marc Lamont Hill gave a beautiful speech at a United Nations event marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People this week.

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.

The same Israel lobby operatives who bullied CNN into ending Hill’s contract are also demanding that he be fired from his teaching position.

The university has rebuffed these calls, citing Hill’s “constitutionally protected right to express his opinion as a private citizen.”

The accusations against Marc Lamont Hill are outright lies promoted by high-level operatives of the Israel lobby in their latest effort to silence and punish anyone who dares speak out in support of Palestinian equality and freedom from Israel’s brutal regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.

They perfectly match the kind of smear and sabotage tactics revealed in the censored Al Jazeera documentary on the US Israel lobby that was recently published in full by The Electronic Intifada.

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.

At the top of this page is the full video of Hill’s UN speech, published by the anti-Palestinian group UN Watch, no doubt in an effort to embarrass him.

You can also read a transcript.

Anyone familiar with Israel lobby defamation campaigns will not be surprised to learn that there is not one word of bigotry and of course nothing that can remotely be construed as a call for genocide.

Real solidarity

Rather, Marc Lamont Hill commits an even more unforgivable thought crime in the eyes of Israel and its lobby: he calls for effective solidarity with the Palestinian people on the basis that the full range of rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should apply to them no less than to any other people.

Hill also draws on the Black history of struggle against American state racism as a source of inspiration for that solidarity. His own words are worth quoting at length:

As a Black American, my understanding of action and solidarity action is rooted in our own tradition of struggle. As Black Americans resisted slavery, as well as Jim Crow laws that transformed us from a slave state to an apartheid state, we did so through multiple tactics and strategies. It is this array of tactics that I appeal to as I advocate for concrete action from all of us in this room.

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-1967 borders, full rights for Palestinian citizens and the right of return as dictated by international law.

Solidarity demands that we no longer allow politicians or political parties to remain silent on the question of Palestine. We can no longer in particular allow the political left to remain radical or even progressive on every issue from the environment to war to the economy. To remain progressive on every issue except for Palestine.

Contrary to Western mythology, Black resistance to American apartheid did not come purely through Gandhi and nonviolence. Rather, slave revolts and self-defense and tactics otherwise divergent from Dr. [Martin Luther] King or Mahatma Gandhi were equally important to preserving safety and attaining freedom.

We must allow – if we are to operate in true solidarity with Palestinian people, we must allow the Palestinian people the same range of opportunity and political possibility.

If we are standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must recognize the right of an occupied people to defend itself. We must prioritize peace. But we must not romanticize or fetishize it.

We must advocate and promote nonviolence 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.

Hill ended his speech with a call for “a free Palestine from the river to the sea.”

The political lynch mob tried to spin these words as a genocidal call for the destruction of Israel.

But they are a simple recognition of reality: historic Palestine – what is today Israel, the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip – is not free between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

As a landmark UN reportquickly withdrawn under Israel lobby pressure – documented last year, the entire territory and the entire Palestinian people are subject to an “apartheid regime.”

The report found “beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crimes of apartheid” as defined in international law.

With clarity and courage Marc Lamont Hill rightly stands by his principled words and we should stand by him – as many are doing.

Almost 5,000 people have already signed a petition demanding that CNN reinstate Hill.

Fake support for press freedom

Earlier this month, CNN and many of its defenders postured as defenders of press freedom and freedom of speech after the White House withdrew the pass of its correspondent Jim Acosta.

The Acosta affair was a cheap opportunity for pundits to pose as brave and courageous members of the #Resistance to Donald Trump.

But when freedom of speech really faces a test – as it so frequently does when it comes to Palestine – don’t expect to find too many of the same voices demanding that Hill’s right to ask difficult questions be respected and protected.

A critically important lesson from CNN’s firing of Marc Lamont Hill is that mainstream media will tolerate just about anything, from white supremacy to climate denial, but never clear, open and principled support for Palestinian rights.

That is a systemic problem and it underscores that only truly independent media free from corporate and state control can guarantee us the right to speak freely about Palestine and advocate for its liberation.

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From the river to the sea - Likud's own founding document!

a. The right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is eternal and indisputable and is linked with the right to security and peace; therefore, Judea and Samaria will not be handed to any foreign administration; between the Sea and the Jordan there will only be Israeli sovereignty.

b. A plan which relinquishes parts of western Eretz Israel, undermines our right to the country, unavoidably leads to the establishment of a "Palestinian State," jeopardizes the security of the Jewish population, endangers the existence of the State of Israel. and frustrates any prospect of peace.

Some people try to stoke fears by claiming that the Palestinians want to throw Israelis into the sea. But it was the Palestinians who were very literally thrown into the sea, most notably at Jaffa and Haifa. There is documentary evidence of this, including photographs.

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Professor Salaita said it best: "Zionism is incompatible with free speech." If this incident doesn't illustrate that principle with sufficient force, I don't know what it will take.

At this very moment, Marc Lamont Hill's teaching position at Temple University is being threatened by the same crew of gangsters that demanded his head from CNN. Those who want to defend Marc Hill from further attacks can contact the President of Temple, Richard M. Englert @
president@temple.edu
to register their support for this outstanding scholar.

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Headline better be like "CNN fires professor who expresses free speech".

It's about CNN, really.

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I have never met Dr Marc Lamont Hill, but I am aware of his writings, and now his speech to UN; he is obsessed with the idea of fairness and decency for all people, with no privilege or disfavour by reason of skin colour or ancestry - and so am I; he is an honourable and decent man, now under attack, not by Jews but by the Israeli Government; I regret that CNN, having flown the flag of free speech, has now substituted the flag of surrender; I trust that Temple University will continue to stand by him, and by his principles, and we should all support that

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There's every possibility that Marc Lamont Hill will be targeted for removal at Temple University by the same thugs who engineered his sacking from CNN. If I know these people, they'll be satisfied with nothing less than the Full Salaita. When the donors begin to circle, as I feel sure they will, it's up to us to offer our support to this courageous scholar. Anyone who feels able and inclined, please write a short email to the President of Temple- there appears to be no Chancellor- and let him know in clear but polite terms, that retaliation against Professor Hill at Temple is unacceptable. As I noted in a comment above, the President is Richard M. Englert. His email address is president@temple.edu

It doesn't have to be more than a few of lines. Here's what I wrote:

Dear Dr. Englert

Please note this expression of support for Prof. Marc Lamont Hill at Temple. I know you will come under pressure to take action against him for his recent remarks at the United Nations, but academic and constitutional values must take precedence over political animus. I urge you not to yield to demands for his dismissal or punishment. The issue of free speech lies at the heart of contemporary scholarship. In honoring his rights, you will be protecting those of Prof. Hill's colleagues and of your university as a whole.

Sincerely

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The Israeli government has been practicing a particularly ugly, clandestine form of censorship it its own country, the United States, and undoubtedly many other countries for decades. Being a senior citizen, I have watched this unfold, but we now have a reason to be optimistic. The young people today are now beginning to ask questions about the cruel, apartheid-like treatment of Palestinians by the Israelis, just as we did in the original apartheid back in the day. We must stoke the flames of this movement; it's an opportunity we can't afford to squander.

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Once upon a time, a man's whole life could be destroyed for less than this courageous young man has done.
Those days are gone, today one becomes a hero.
With insurmountable dignity, Marc Lamont Hill has done us all proud.

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Today we are all intrinsically linked
Today we are global
The whole world is their audience
This was not the case for Martin Luther King & his ilk
I am a little old lady in Coburg, Victoria, Australia & I know what is going on in your neck of the woods -
You are not alone dude.

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Ali Abunimah

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.