CNN Fires Marc Lamont Hill Over United Nations Speech Criticizing Israel

CNN Fires Marc Lamont Hill Over United Nations Speech Criticizing Israel

CNN parted ways with analyst Marc Lamont Hill after the pro-Palestinian activist and professor spoke about the Israel-Palestine conflict at the United Nations.

A CNN spokesperson told The Associated Press that Hill is no longer under contract but did not specify a reason.

His firing comes after the Anti-Defamation League and other groups accused him of endorsing violence against Israel, which he vehemently denies he did.

Hill, a professor at Temple University, accused Israel of "state violence and ethnic cleansing" and called for a one-state solution.

Hill called for "a single secular democratic state for everyone."

“We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words but to commit to political action, grass-roots action, local action and international action that will give us what justice requires and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea,” Hill said in the speech.

Hill accused of anti-Semitism: The ADL and other groups said in a statement that the “river to the sea” phrase is coded language used by Hamas and other groups who want Israel destroyed.

“Those calling for ‘from the river to the sea’ are calling for an end to the State of Israel,” the ADL’s Senior Vice President for International Affairs, Sharon Nazarian, said in a statement, before claiming that the UN’s annual UN’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People promotes “divisiveness and hate.”

The Jewish Voice for Peace noted that "while the ADL markets itself as a civil rights organisation, its history betrays an extensive record of anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian advocacy".

Hill rejects claims of anti-Semitism:

Hill slammed his critics for accusing him of saying things he did not say.

“I support Palestinian freedom. I support Palestinian self-determination. I am deeply critical of Israeli policy and practice,” he wrote. “I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech. I have spent my life fighting these things.”

“My reference to ‘river to the sea’ was not a call to destroy anything or anyone,” he added. “It was a call for 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 what I meant.”

Pro-Palestine activists slam CNN decision:

“CNN's decision contributes to the chilling effect on freedom of expression ... where speaking honestly about Israel's abuse of Palestinians could result in shunning, and even firing,” said Omar Baddar of the DC-based Arab American Insitute.

"Calling out the oppressive policies in Israel, advocating for Palestinians to be respected, and for Israelis and Palestinians alike to have peace and freedom is not anti-Semitic," Palestinian-American Rep. Rashida Tlaib told Al-Jazeera.

Media pundit Mehdi Hasan questioned why CNN fired Hill while keeping Rick Santorum, who has denied the Palestinians’ right to exist in the West Bank.

"Denying the legitimacy and existence of Palestinians/Palestine/historic Palestine, whether it's on-air commentary, or in official state policy or in simply punditry is widely acceptable among American mainstream media, politicians, and religious figures,” replied MSNBC anchor Ayman Mohyeldin.