CNN Was Right to Fire Marc Lamont Hill
CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill accused Israel of denying “citizenship rights and due process to Palestinians just because they are not Jewish,” and expressed his support for boycotting Israel in a speech at the United Nations on Wednesday. He also noted that he thinks there needs to be “a free Palestine from the river to the sea.” The phrase “from the river to the sea” is often used by those who believe that Israel should be eliminated.
Would a supporter of racism be allowed on CNN? How about someone who openly calls for violence against the LGBT community? But racism and calls for denying the right of a people to live on a certain piece of land are apparently OK if they are directed at Israel and Jews.
And this isn’t anything new.
On June 7, 2016, Hill tweeted: “Israel is very much, by definition, an apartheid state.” An avid supporter of the BDS campaign, he also criticized New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s initiative to stop illegal American boycotts of Israel, and simplistically defends the movement by insisting that it doesn’t seek Israel’s destruction.
Hill, quite active on social media, says, “Blaming the Palestinian Authority for violence in the region is dishonest and unproductive,” noting that Jerusalem is occupied. Hill also believes that there is no religious component to the conflict.
During a CNN appearance on August 4, 2014, Hill complained that Israel’s defensive Iron Dome system takes away Hamas’ leverage over Israel.
But what the Iron Dome does is it also takes away all of Hamas’s military leverage which is very different than say, 10 years ago or 15 years ago in other wars like Lebanon, etc. As a result, it not only serves a defensive purpose but de facto serves an offensive purpose. It allows Israel to essentially assault and siege Gaza without any retribution or response on the other side. So again, to some extent, they are not just funding defense, they are funding an offensive war and ultimately an occupation. That for me is the problem.
I object to Hill for other reasons as well. In 2009, he supported the America-hating professor Ward Churchill, who was fired from the University of Colorado at Boulder for an essay he wrote titled “On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” which said that the 9/11 World Trade Center victims deserved what they got.
Here’s what Hill said about Churchill’s termination:
This is a really sad day for American academic life and American public life. Ward Churchill should not have been fired. This has been about free speech from the beginning. … A witch hunt began the moment that he made those comments about the 9/11 victims. And regardless of what we think about his comments, he has the right to make them. In fact, he has the responsibility to make them as an academic if he believes them to be true … and if he can empirically substantiate them, and I think he’s done that. … When you look at his ‘Little Eichmann’ comment, he’s explained this. He was referring to Hannah Arendt, on of the great theorists of our time, in which he was saying that often times, the big bad person that you think is this crazy killer is actually an ordinary technocrat, someone in a building who pushes buttons, who does things without any sort of sensibility about how bad they are.
CNN was right to fire Marc Lamont Hill. His comments, and views, are unacceptable.
Ronn Torossian is a public relations executive.