Marc Lamont Hill: Prominent Progressives Secretly Share Views Endorsing Palestinian Violence

CNN fired the liberal pundit after he defended Palestinian violence to resist Israel

Marc Lamont Hill / Getty Images
January 24, 2019

A former CNN pundit fired for comments endorsing Palestinian violence against Israel doubled down in a podcast released Thursday, claiming his views were mainstream among progressives.

Marc Lamont Hill was fired by CNN after he called for "a free Palestine from the river to the sea" in a November speech at the United Nations. Hill spoke with Mehdi Hasan on his Intercept podcast "Deconstructed" in a segment called "What You Can't Say About Israel."

During the segment, Hill made clear he stood by his comments. "I think I was right," he said.

"If I had a dollar for every progressive member of Congress, for every progressive faculty member, for every progressive cable news or otherwise TV commentator who sent me a private message saying, 'I agree with you,'" Hill said, "I'd have so much money."

Hill claimed other progressives are afraid of backlash for publicly embracing the slogan.

"You can almost hear the whispers in the message, 'I agree with you, but, you know, stay strong, but this is why I don't say anything,'" he told Hasan.

The slogan "from the river to the sea" refers to the space between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. It suggests the formation of a Palestinian state spanning the two waters, erasing Israel entirely. Defenders of Palestinian terror organizations and those seeking a one-state solution that ends Israel's existence often repeat the slogan.

Hill made the comment during the United Nation's "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People." The Trump administration and Israel have slammed the U.N. for showing overwhelming hostility toward Israel in the longstanding conflict.

During his remarks, Hill said Americans should not "endorse narrow politics that shames Palestinians for resisting." He argued that non-violent resistance was unfairly limiting the Palestinians in their fight against Israel.

"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," he said.

The comments provoked outrage and drew condemnation from Jewish and pro-Israel organizations. Hill defended the "river to the sea" slogan's use, claiming he was referring to the creation of a Palestinian state along 1967 borders. Following the comments, a CNN spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon that "Marc Lamont Hill is no longer under contract with CNN."

Speaking on the podcast, Hill went on to claim he was unfairly fired by CNN for expressing a mainstream progressive view.

"It's actually stunning to see how people have responded," he said.

Hill has previously repeated an anti-Israel canard that the country was "poisoning" Palestinian water.

The 116th Congress is the first to have members who openly support the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement: Reps. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.). Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has slammed BDS as anti-Semitic.

In the podcast, Hill also defended civil rights activist Angela Davis. The activist has defended convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh, who assisted with the murder of two Jewish students in a terror attack against a supermarket. Davis is also a supporter of the BDS movement. Earlier this month, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute rescinded its planned award to Davis, saying she failed to "meet all of the criteria on which the award is based."

Hill concluded his conversation with Hasan by arguing Jewish people around the world can't expect safety until the Palestinian conflict is resolved.  "We will never have a world of safety and peace and justice, not just for Palestinians, but also for Israelis and Jewish people around the world, until we figure out some solutions that work for everybody," he said.