Marc Lamont Hill has apologized for recent comments he made during a UN speech that called for “a free Palestine from the river to the sea.” Many, including his employers, rebuked it as anti-Semitic, but the college professor always maintained that at the heart of his comments was a message of peace. Over the weekend in an op-ed for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Hill apologized for the harm his words may have caused.
“My remarks have sparked heavy controversy, around the nation and right here in Philadelphia. Specifically, some have argued that my remarks endorsed or reflected anti-Semitism. For this reason, I feel morally compelled to respond,” the op-ed started.
Hill went on to clarify that he decries anti-Semitism and outlined the many times he has spoken out against hateful acts towards Jewish people. Saying, “As an activist and scholar, I have done my best to point out these realities and challenge them whenever possible.”
Even so, the Temple University professor acknowledged the concerns and feelings drawn from his remarks at the United Nations. His calls for Israeli political reform as it pertains to Arab citizens and his voiced belief that border lines should be redrawn came off as dog whistles when accompanied by a common phrase used by Hamas, a militant Islamic Palestinian nationalist movement dedicated to the establishment of an independent Islamic state.
“Rather than hearing a political solution, many heard a dog-whistle that conjured a long and deep history of violence against Jewish people,” Hill said of the backlash following his comments. “ Although this was the furthest thing from my intent, those particular words clearly caused confusion, anger, fear, and other forms of harm. For that, I am deeply sorry.”
The former CNN analyst (CNN fired Hill for his remarks) also apologized to Palestinians for causing their observance of solidarity among Palestinian people to be overshadowed by his remarks.
“Rather than talking about the plight of Palestinians, or engaging in tough but necessary conversations about a positive and successful way forward for both parties, the bulk of the conversation has been about my choice of words,” Hill admitted. To this extent, I did no favors to Israelis or Palestinians. For this too, I am deeply sorry.