Video Appears to Show Marc Lamont Hill Accusing Israel of Poisoning Palestinian Water

Marc Lamont Hill / Getty Images
December 6, 2018

Marc Lamont Hill, a professor at Temple University and prominent left-wing commentator, appears to accuse Israel of poisoning Palestinian water in a newly surfaced video.

The video is from the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) conference held on Sept. 28, according to the Jewish Journal.

"I can't just think about political prisoners here in the states; I have to think about political prisoners in Palestine," Hill said. "And I have to ask questions about what the face of those prisoners look like, and what legitimate resistance looks like."

Hill also said that people who struggle tend to favor a "civil rights tradition" that "romanticizes nonviolence."

"How can you romanticize nonviolence when you have a state that is at all moments waging war against you, against your bodies, poisoning your water, limiting your access to water, locking up your children, killing them?" Hill asked. "We can't romanticize resistance."

The Jewish Journal noted that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas previously accused "certain rabbis in Israel" of telling "their government that our water should be poisoned in order to have Palestinians killed," although he later walked back his remarks.

"So for me," Hill added, "part of the challenge is when we start saying we should overcome and holding hands and sit-ins, which is an important and indispensable strategy, I would never disrespect that strategy. We just can't fetishize that strategy. We can't fetishize that here in the states."

Hill said the "hands up, don't shoot" protest against the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown was "problematic."

"This ain't the posture I want to have against a violent state," continued Hill, who said he would rather go "Leila Khaled-style."

Leila Khaled, a Palestinian, was convicted of terrorism for her involvement in an airplane hijacking and an attempted hijacking. Khaled was part of a group that hijacked a flight from Rome to Athens in 1969. The plane was blown up after passengers were evacuated. One year later, she participated in the simultaneous hijacking of four planes and was arrested before being released in an exchange for hostages held by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

CNN fired Hill last week after he gave a speech at the United Nations in which he said that standing with Palestine means supporting violence as well as nonviolence.

"Slave revolts and self-defense and tactics otherwise divergent from Dr. King or Mahatma Gandhi were equally important to preserving safety and attaining freedom," Hill argued. "If we are to operate in true solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must allow the Palestinian people the same range of opportunity and political possibility."

Hill also said said he believes in "a free Palestine from the river to the sea," a phrase suggesting that a future Palestinian state should include all of Israel's current territory, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.