CNN has fired Marc Lamont Hill after he made comments people alleged were anti-Israel.
The Temple University professor gave a speech for the UN’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on Wednesday, in which he advocated for resistance against Israel, and a free Palestine. He called for countries to boycott and divest from Israel.
“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.
However, he was immediately called an anti-semite for his views. Some, like the National Council of Young Israel, called out his “racist views and unabashed denigration of Israel.”
“Dr. Hill does not deserve to be given any sort of platform that facilitates the dissemination of his bigotry, whether it be on Cable TV or in a classroom,” they said. “In light of Dr. Hill’s malevolent anti-Semitic remarks, we call upon CNN and Temple University to fire him immediately.”
Statements of objection also came from other groups like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
These groups said the “river to the sea” phrase was code for the destruction of Israel, often used by Hamas and groups bent on its destruction.
“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.
CNN seemed to bow under the pressure, releasing a statement that Hill “is no longer under contract with CNN.” The network did not give a reason.
Hill later defended his words on Twitter.
“I support Palestinian freedom. I support Palestinian self-determination. I am deeply critical of Israeli policy and practice,” he clarified in a tweet after the speech. “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.”
He added: “Yesterday, I gave a speech at the UN in which I critiqued Israel’spoliciess and practices toward Palestinians. It’s baffling how people are not responding to the critique, but instead responding to things I didn’t actually say.”