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 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.
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.
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.