Marc Lamont Hill, a 39-year-old renowned academic, distinguished professor, scholarly journalist, award-winning author, community-enlightening bookstore owner/employer, national/international justice-seeking activist, and intellectual news pundit was fired by CNN on Thursday for giving a historically accurate speech on Wednesday at the United Nations (UN) to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
It concerned the factually documented crimes against humanity committed by Israel against Palestinian men, women, children, and land.
Before discussing that speech, allow me to briefly — and I do mean briefly — discuss the history of that region. In World War II during the Holocaust, six million innocent Jewish men, women, and children were brutally murdered by Nazis in Germany and German-occupied territories.
The Jewish people who survived, as well as their families and offspring, wanted their own country. Following turbulent debates and intense negotiations between Jewish leaders and Arab leaders, the then British/American-dominated UN in 1947 created a “Partition Plan for Palestine” notwithstanding legitimate objections by Arabs to sections of that plan. And a year later, a group known as the Jewish Agency for Israel declared “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel to be known as the State of Israel.”
This location was designated despite the fact that Zionists had initially proposed their homeland to be in New York in 1820, in Kenya (as part of the “Uganda Scheme”) in 1903, and in Russia in 1928, while Arabs have laid claim to Palestine and that entire region ever since the Early Arab Era beginning in the seventh century.
In response to the establishment of this Jewish state, the Arab-Israeli War began in 1948. And there has been bloodshed on both sides, caused by warfare and terrorism. But Israel’s illegal settlements, unlawful annexations, rampant officially sanctioned murders of innocent Palestinians, and inhumane denial of Palestinians’ “Right of Return” have been in blatant violation of international law as proclaimed in the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and dozens of UN General Assembly resolutions and UN Security Council resolutions from 1948-2017.
As Hill explained via Twitter regarding Wednesday’s irrefutably factual speech, “Today, I spoke at the United Nations, as a representative of civil society, for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. It was truly an honor. I ruffled a few feathers, as I offered a thorough critique of Israeli policy and practice, American complicity (both current and pre-Trump), respectability politics, and state violence across the Middle East and US. Beyond critique, I also offered a vision of transnational political solidarity, courageous action, and radical hope.”
He added, “I talked about the need to return to the pre-1967 borders, to give full rights to Palestinian citizens, and to allow right of return. No part of this is a call to destroy Israel. It’s absurd on its face.”
Av Gutman, a Philadelphia journalist and Israeli citizen, supported Hill in a tweet directly from his family’s Tel Aviv home by writing, “Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza live under military occupation without citizenship.
Palestinian inhabitants of Israel are by law second class citizens. Everyone should join @marclamonthill’s call for full and equal civil and human rights for all people ‘from the river to the sea.’”
That “from the river to the sea” quote mentioned by Gutman pertains to the phrase used by Hill in his speech regarding justice for Palestinians from the area between the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Those who oppose basic human rights for Palestinians say it’s a phrase created by Hamas terrorists to destroy Israel.
But they’re wrong. In fact, as Hill pointed out, “My reference to ‘river to the sea’ was not a call to destroy anything or anyone. It was a call to justice, both in Israel and in the West Bank/Gaza. The speech very clearly and specifically said those things. No amount of debate will change what I actually said or meant.”
And if you don’t believe that’s what he said and meant, listen to his approximately 20 minute speech for yourself at https://youtu.be/BvzSv28z97o. In it, he talks eloquently, passionately, and especially truthfully about the plight of the Palestinians at the hands of the Israelis.
In firing Hill, CNN engaged in blatant hypocrisy because it continues to employ the likes of Rick Santorum who in 2011 falsely said “There is no ‘Palestine.’ This is [all] Israeli land,” in 2018 falsely accused President Barack Obama of having done “more to exacerbate racism” than Trump, and in 2012 falsely stated welfare is a program “giving Black people somebody else’s money” (despite the fact that more than 40 percent of food stamp recipients are white compared to only 25 percent for Blacks). Former CNN host Soledad O’Brien, a few days ago, said CNN gives “Racists and [other] white supremacists” a platform as a “ratings ploy.”
She’s right, you know.
I completely agree with Gutman, a self-described “Israeli Jew,” who says he “stand[s] with Hill’s call for freedom and dignity for all people in... [that] troubled land.” And I hope you agree and express your agreement on social media by using the hashtag #ILoveMarc to show not only CNN but America and the world that we all stand with Hill and his call for justice.
But don’t stop there. Show your support and your love by taking action in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) initiative, which is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom and equality. It operates in a manner similar to the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s wherein people and businesses were encouraged to end all buying, selling, trading, investing, governmental, and other interaction with South Africa and to expose its violently racist policies.
The three main goals of BDS are to end Israeli occupation and colonization of all Arab lands while dismantling “The Wall” (i.e., the 440 mile West Bank racial segregation barrier), to recognize the equal human rights of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and to respect, protect, and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as required in UN Resolution 194 of 1948.
For more information about BDS and to take specific action steps, log onto bdsmovement.net.
In conclusion, I understand that Israel has a powerful military armed primarily by a powerful racist in the White House. But no weapon formed against my Palestinian brothers and sisters shall prosper. And, besides, to paraphrase ancestor Bernie Mac, “I ain’t scared of you Murder-Felons.”