CNN Fires Marc Lamont Hill After Jewish Groups Denounce UN Speech

Marc Lamont Hill / Getty Images
November 29, 2018

CNN parted ways with contributor Marc Lamont Hill Thursday, after he delivered a controversial speech before the United Nations that was criticized by the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish organizations.

"Marc Lamont Hill is no longer under contract with CNN," a spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon.

In the Wednesday speech, Hill said that while he prefers nonviolence, standing with the Palestinian people meant supporting the use of violence as well.

"Slave revolts and self-defense and tactics otherwise divergent from Dr. King or Mahatma Gandhi were equally important to preserving safety and attaining freedom," he argued at the U.N.'s International Day of Solidarity event. "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."

"If we are standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must recognize the right of an occupied people to defend itself. We must prioritize peace, but we must not romanticize or fetishize it," he continued.

The Temple University professor also said he believes in "a free Palestine from the river to the sea," a phrase used by those who believe a future Palestinian state should include the entirety of current Israeli territory, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

"Those calling for ‘from the river to the sea’ are calling for an end to the State of Israel,"  responded Sharon Nazarian, ADL senior vice president for international affairs, in the Jewish Journal. "It is a shame that once again, this annual event at the United Nations does not promote constructive pathways to ‘Palestinian solidarity’ and a future of peace, but instead divisive and destructive action against Israel."

Following the backlash, Hill said the phrase had a "variety of meanings" and he wanted a redrawing of the borders to where they were before the 1967 Six-Day War.

The ADL Twitter account likewise criticized the speech, saying it promoted "divisiveness and hate."

Hill had been criticized previously for his history of meeting with and expressing admiration for Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader with a long history of anti-Semitism. His flirtation with Farrakhan goes back over a decade; on his now-deleted Myspace page, he listed the radical imam as one of the people "I'd like to meet," along with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and convicted cop killers Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu Jamal.

In a 2007 blog post, Hill called Farrakhan "a hero to Blacks of all religions."

"Although I have not always agreed with Minister Farrakhan, I have a profound respect for his love and sustained commitment to the struggles of Black people and his loyalty to the mission of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad," he wrote. "I also have a deep admiration for his willingness to admit mistakes, apologize for missteps, and sincerely attempt to heal wounds. Regardless of our differences with Farrakhan, it is difficult to deny that his growth and development are a testament to his faith and character."

"...I wish him continued peace, love, and joy on his journey," Hill concluded. "May Peace Be With Him."