Yes, Marc Lamont Hill Is an Antisemite
Marc Lamont Hill has an impressive biography, and a record of achievements as an academic, activist and TV personality. On his own website, he describes himself as “one of the leading intellectual voices in the country.” His Facebook page has almost 72,000 followers, on Twitter he has 318,000, and on Instagram almost 87,000. So, unfortunately, it matters that he seems to have a bit of a soft spot for Palestinian terrorism.
Earlier this month, Hill opined on Twitter that “Trump’s position on Israel/Palestine is repugnant. His call for Palestine to ‘reject hatred and terrorism’ is offensive & counterproductive.”
When the tweet came to the attention of Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg several days later, and Goldberg professed to be a “bit flummoxed,” Hill responded somewhat defensively, suggesting that “the context [was] missing,” and that “[p]eace will not come from demanding action from only one side.”
Hill later stated in exchanges with other Twitter users that he found it “offensive to only call on Palestinians to ‘behave’, while normalizing/ ignoring the violence of the occupation;” he also rejected it as “offensive” to compare “Palestinian resistance to settler-colonialism to the actions of ISIS.” He also declared: “We all agree that hatred and terrorism are bad things. The issue is who gets to define each term, and under what conditions.”
Obviously, it’s appallingly presumptuous of Israelis to define it as “terrorism” when Palestinians murder and maim civilians who are having pizza for lunch, who celebrate Passover or attend services in a synagogue, who ride a bus, go out for dinner and entertainment, or just go to sleep in their bed at home. And, of course, it’s also terribly presumptuous of those Israelis to call it “hatred” when the murderous perpetrators of such attacks are celebrated by Palestinians as heroes — heroes who get handsomely paid and have buildings or events named in their honor.
After all, who on earth would think of “hatred and terrorism” when the Gaza-based Wa’ed Band for Islamic Art produces a cute cartoon clip “depicting Israelis trembling in fear and fleeing the country,” while the band’s great musicians sing: “My rockets long for you, and they will rain down on you; … I’m coming for you with a gun, or with an axe and a knife — or I could run over you with my car.”
Hatred and terrorism? Nope. Just “Islamic Art” illustrating what “Palestinian resistance to settler-colonialism” is all about, right, Professor Hill?
After all, Hill has stated very clearly that he is “not anti Israel;” and he also says: “I’ve fought, and continue to fight, anti-semitism my entire life. But i oppose occupation of Gaza.”
Well, actually, in August 2014, when Hill declared his opposition to the occupation of Gaza, it had been almost nine years since Israel’s complete withdrawal from Gaza. Israelis hoped that their withdrawal would reduce hatred and terrorism, and perhaps even be a major step towards a peace agreement. It didn’t work out that way. According to the IDF, “Since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, terrorists have fired more than 11,000 rockets into Israel [until 2014].”
Of course, Hill might find it offensive to call the Palestinians who fire the rockets “terrorists;” instead, he might prefer to see them described as ordinary folks who engage in “Palestinian resistance to settler-colonialism,” and thus inspire artists like the Wa’ed Band for Islamic Art.
A few months after Hill tweeted about not being anti-Israel and fighting antisemitism, he joined a group called “Dream Defenders” — who dream about “the destruction of the political and economic systems of Capitalism and Imperialism as well as Patriarchy” — on a visit to “Palestine” (though Hill has denied ever having been to Israel). William Jacobson posted about the visit at Legal Insurrection under the fitting title: “Wow, Marc Lamont Hill drank the anti-Israel Kool-Aid.”
Jacobson also produced a must-see video showing Hill during a “Solidarity Demonstration” in Nazareth, with Hill telling the camera [my emphasis]:
We came here to Palestine to stand in love and revolutionary struggle with our brothers and sisters;
We come to a land that has been stolen by greed and destroyed by hate;
We come here and we learn laws that have been co-signed in ink but written in the blood of the innocent, and we stand next to people who continue to courageously struggle and resist the occupation;
People continue to dream and fight for freedom;
From Ferguson to Palestine the struggle for freedom continues.
When someone who speaks these lines (while standing in an Israeli city) claims to be a fierce opponent of antisemitism, the most benevolent explanation is that he simply doesn’t know that, for centuries, Jew-haters have invoked the greedy Jew who steals, the hateful Jew who destroys and the Jew who is after “the blood of the innocent.”
In fall 2015, Hill published an op-ed under the title “Why Every Black Activist Should Stand With Rasmea Odeh.” Again, one could note that people who fight antisemitism usually don’t advocate solidarity with a convicted terrorist who murdered two young Jews. But as far as Hill is concerned, Odeh is a “venerable woman” and “a Palestinian freedom fighter being railroaded for her commitment to justice,” whose story “must also be understood as a Black story. A story of global resistance to colonial power.”
After all, as Hill emphasized, Odeh was arrested “by the Israelis in Palestine,” and, after enduring “over 20 days of vicious rape, and other physical and psychological torture,” the completely innocent “Palestinian freedom fighter” was unfairly convicted “by the Israelis in Palestine.”
Those “Israelis in Palestine” are real evil, aren’t they?
Almost a year before Hill wrote his vile apologia for Odeh, William Jacobson published a thorough documentation showing that “Rasmea Odeh [was] rightly convicted of [the] Israeli supermarket bombing and US immigration fraud.” Legal Insurrection had published about two dozen additional posts on the Odeh case before Hill wrote his piece — that is to say, if Hill wanted to get information on Odeh to check the reliability of the material circulating in his activist echo chamber, he could have easily done so.
Needless to say, Hill is also an ardent BDS supporter; the goal of BDS is, of course, to rid the world of its only Jewish state. As Hill’s good friend, BDS leader Omar Barghouti put it so hopefully all the way back in 2004, while denouncing the two-state solution as an immoral ploy to save Zionism and eagerly anticipated “the final chapter of the Zionist project”: “We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it, for Zionism is intent on killing itself. I, for one, support euthanasia.”
Perhaps we can all agree that Barghouti is as devoted to “the work of creating peace and justice for the vulnerable” as Hill is devoted to fighting antisemitism?
Let’s conclude with a post by Hill [archived] from last August about Louis Farrakhan — the man that the Anti-Defamation League has described as “the leading antisemite in America.” The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) calls him “an antisemite who routinely accuses Jews of manipulating the US government and controlling the levers of world power.”
Hill greatly enjoys the company of Farrakhan, the notorious leader of the Nation of Islam: “Been blessed to spend the last day with Minister Louis Farrakhan. An amazing time of learning, listening, laughing, and even head nodding to music. God is Great.”
However, just to be clear: among “progressives,” Hill is in good company with his admiration for Farrakhan. As I have recently documented, two leading organizers of the Women’s March are ardent fans of Farrakhan. And while their beloved “sister” Linda Sarsour hasn’t offered gushing praise for the Nation of Islam leader, she has given a strident speech at one of its major events, and embraces the Nation of Islam as “an integral part” of “the history of Islam in America” and as “part of one ummah, one family. #Islam.”