Tlaib Defends Marc Lamont Hill After He's Dropped by CNN, Praises Him for 'Calling Out Oppressive Policies in Israel'

Rashida Tlaib / Twitter
November 30, 2018

Congresswoman-elect Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) defended former CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill's remarks defending Palestinian violence against Israel at a recent United Nations speech, tweeting that "calling out the oppressive policies in Israel" was not anti-Semitic.

CNN dropped Hill from his contract on Thursday after he spoke at the U.N.'s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People a day earlier. A fervent critic of Israel, he used the Palestinian nationalist phrase calling for a "free Palestine from the river to the sea," which suggests the elimination of the state of Israel which sits between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, and said while peace should be prioritized, "we must not romanticize or fetishize it."

"Tactics otherwise divergent from Dr. King or Gandhi were equally important to preserving safety and attaining freedom," he said. "If we are in true solidarity, we must allow them the same range of opportunity and political possibility. We must recognize the right of an occupied people to defend themselves. We must prioritize peace, but we must not romanticize or fetishize it. We must promote nonviolence at every opportunity, but we cannot endorse a narrow politics of respectability that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in the face of state violence and ethnic cleansing."

"To commit to political action, grassroots 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 concluded, leading to applause.

"Resisting" is a common euphemism for defenders of Palestinian terrorist methods. The Gaza Strip, from which Israel withdrew unilaterally in 2005, is now governed by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which has fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians.

After an outcry over his comments that included condemnation by the Anti-Defamation League, CNN fired Hill. Tlaib defended Hill's comments in a tweet on Thursday.

"Calling out the oppressive policies in Israel, advocating for Palestinians to be respected, and for Israelis and Palestinians alike to have peace and freedom is not antisemitic. @CNN, we all have a right to speak up about injustice any and everywhere," she wrote, tagging Hill in the tweet.

Tlaib also retweeted Ryan Grim, a writer for the left-wing site The Intercept, which linked to a petition demanding CNN rehire Hill.

Tlaib, a Palestinian American, has taken several positions hostile to Israel, including saying she would vote against aid to the country, expressing opposition to a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which the ADL has condemned as a deceitful method of delegitimizing the Jewish state.

Hill strongly denied calling for Israel's destruction and has insisted he's fought against anti-Semitism, but he has a history of praising radical anti-Semite and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakahn. He once listed Farrakhan as among the people "I'd like to meet," as well as Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and convicted cop killers Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu Jamal.