Fired for Speaking Truth About Israel’s Crimes Against the Palestinian People

Professor, Author & Activist, Marc Lamont Hill, Fired by CNN

by Carl Dix

| Revolution Newspaper |


Author, professor, and activist Marc Lamont Hill was fired by CNN on November 29. Hill had been a commentator on the cable channel who made frequent appearances commenting on a variety of issues.

Why did they fire him? Their statement gave no reason for Hill “no longer being under contract” to CNN, but the timing and backdrop make clear that Hill was fired for a speech he gave on November 28 at an event at the United Nations (UN) marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. In this speech, he called out the many atrocities the Israeli regime inflicts on the Palestinian people: the land, air, and sea blockade it enforces (together with Egypt) on Gaza that means people there have access to electricity only four hours a day, very little clean water to drink or bathe in, and an unemployment rate of 50 percent; the disproportionate violence, restrictions on freedom of movement, and widespread use of torture and solitary confinement Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are subjected to; the apartheid laws in Israel that make Palestinians there second-class citizens.

Hill brought his experience in the struggle of Black people against their oppression in this country into this speech. He said the variety of tactics employed in that struggle—from slave rebellions and urban uprisings to nonviolent direct actions—were key to the advances this struggle achieved. And he noted the participation of Palestinian-Americans in the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, against the police murder of Michael Brown. Hill ended his speech with a call to take solidarity beyond words to deeds and give support to the struggle for a “Free Palestine, from the river to the sea.” We are including in this issue of the website a video of Hill’s speech to let readers judge for themselves.

Zionist forces immediately unleashed an internet outrage mob that condemned Hill and called for CNN and Temple University, where Lamont teaches, to fire him. Alan Dershowitz called him “an absolute bigot, anti-Semite, un-American, Anti-American,” and said, “He has advocated the killing of Jews.” The National Council of Young Israel said: “With 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.”

None of Hill’s critics said that Israel didn’t do the things Hill called the Zionist regime out for doing. People who want to debate the facts Hill laid out in his speech should bring it on and engage in debate over it. But none of Hill’s detractors did this. Instead they said it was beyond the pale to allow him to have platforms to spread his call for support for the Palestinian cause on TV or on campuses. Yet CNN, which styles itself as a defender of the truth in opposition to the Trump/Pence regime’s attempts to muzzle the free press, folded quickly and fired Hill, censoring a voice speaking truth about Palestine.

CNN didn’t criticize anything that Hill said either. They didn’t say his remarks represented his own personal viewpoint and not that of their cable network. They MUZZLED him, and thru muzzling him delivered a message to others that if they want to be able to have access to platforms like CNN to speak, they better not say the kind of shit Hill did—they better bite their tongues when it comes to criticizing Israel.

They did this because the truth Hill was telling runs right up against the interests that media like CNN really serve—the interests of the capitalist-imperialist system. Israel was created 70 years ago as an outpost of imperialism in the Middle East. It was and is a fortress with which and thru which the U.S. exercises its domination of this vital and volatile region. Since the creation of Israel, every U.S. president has backed the Zionist regime’s assaults on the Palestinian people, no matter how murderous and horrific. CNN may take issue with the Trump/Pence regime over its attacks on the media and calling it “enemies of the people.” But when it comes to voices that speak truth that is inconvenient for the interests of the capitalist-imperialist system, CNN has no problems with muzzling them; and thru doing that delivering a message to others that such truth is something that will not have a platform to be spoken on their channel.

CNN firing Hill feeds the flames of the Zionist forces who targeted him. It is an example of why we in the Revolutionary Communist Party say CNN, the rest of the liberal media, and the Democrats can’t be relied on to carry forward the resistance to the fascist regime. They have sharp differences with it, and those differences are indeed significant and can be made use of by a struggle from below, but left to themselves forces like CNN will seek to resolve those differences in the interests of the ruling class of the system. If those interests call for silencing someone for speaking the truth, so be it.

This fight is continuing. Now that Hill has been fired from CNN, his critics are stepping up their calls for Temple to fire him, and powerful forces at Temple want to do just that.

Patrick O’Connor, the chair of the Temple University board, called Hill’s speech at the UN “hate speech,” and said: “I’m not happy. The board’s not happy. The administration’s not happy. People wanted to fire him right away. We’re going to look at what remedies we have.” Temple University trustee and major donor Leonard Barrack said: “He [Hill] called for the destruction of the State of Israel in code words. I am very upset about it. I think it was anti-Semitic.”

Supporters of Marc Lamont Hill are also mobilizing. National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) said: “NSJP stands in solidarity with Dr. Hill, commending the bravery and resilience he displayed by challenging the status quo and speaking out against the continued oppression, colonization, and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their historic homeland. Furthermore, NSJP strongly condemns CNN’s disturbing attempt to stifle free speech, as well as its active contribution to the censorship of political activists of color who denounce the evils of settler-colonialism and racialized violence.”

Twenty-seven Temple University professors have signed a letter of no confidence in board chair O’Connor for his comments on Hill’s UN speech. In it they say: “We are faculty, students and staff at Temple University writing in support of Marc Lamont Hill’s academic freedom to express his views on the Israeli occupation of Palestine. We thought his arguments were passionate, considered, and thoughtful, and that they respected the humanity of Palestinians and Israelis. Regardless of whether we agree or disagree with him, we support his freedom to espouse his views.” The faculty union at Temple (American Federation of Teachers), the American Association of University Professors’ Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure and Governance, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have also expressed support for Hill.


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