Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired from CNN in November for calling for a "free Palestine from the river to the sea," defended Rep. Ilhan Omar's (D-Minn.) recent tweets in an Al Jazeera video.
Omar recently apologized to Jewish groups in a confidential phone call for tweeting that AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) buys off politicians' support for Israel. Hill said in the Feb. 20 AJ+ video that he didn't think Omar's comments were anti-Semitic since she was discussing "the relationship between lobbying groups and America's support for Israel."
"Everyone who's offered a principled, balanced and, I think, honest position on Israeli-Palestinian relations and of the occupation of Palestine, is being labeled anti-Semitic," Hill said. "They're being painted with a very broad brush and it's not only unfair and dishonest, but it's also dangerous."
Hill said that while he thinks anti-Semitism a serious threat, he also believes that "Jewish lives and Palestinian lives are worth the same."
Hill then defended his "free Palestine from the river to the sea" comment at the United Nations in November.
"When people were saying I was calling for the destruction of Israel in a speech where I was very explicitly and directly calling for Israel to be reformed, for me it was frustrating," Hill said.
Hill concluded the video by criticizing the Democrats of caving to Omar's criticism by issuing their own criticism of her AIPAC comments, saying the whole controversy was due to Omar being seen as part of "outsiderness that gets assigned to Muslims, that gets assigned to women, that gets assigned to black folk."
Sharon Nazarian, the Anti-Defamation League's senior vice-president for international affairs, told the Journal in an email at the time that Hill's remarks were "divisive and destructive." The Temple University Board of Trustees also condemned Hill's remarks in December.