Those who complained that CNN went too far when it fired Marc Lamont Hill last year have received their comeuppance.
Hill's contract as a political commentator was terminated in November after he made anti-Zionist comments during a United Nations-sponsored event. At the end of his presentation, during which he also echoed the goals of the radical boycott-divestment-sanctions movement, Hill – a professor at Temple University – used the terrorist tagline of "free Palestine from the river to the sea."
But people who called Hill's firing "rash" at the time must now reconcile his latest outburst. In retrospect, CNN's move was fortuitous – protecting itself from the potential backlash over Hill's continued controversial and offensive positions. It's something Temple now essentially owns, since Hill is a tenured member of the faculty.
This is yet another example of the establishment needing to "raise the Barr" by holding liberals in the public eye to the same standards that Roseanne Barr was held to when she made statements that were beyond the pale.
At the annual Netroots Nation conference, Hill was part of a panel making suggestions for "embedding Palestinian rights in the 2020 agenda." During the discussion, and despite his assertion otherwise, Hill pushed a conspiracy theory that major media organizations are "Zionist organizations." He said:
They're like, I want to work for Fox, or I want to work for ABC or NBC or whoever. I want to tell these stories. You have to make choices about where you want to work. And if you work for a Zionist organization, you're going to get Zionist content. And no matter how vigorous you are in the newsroom, there are going to be two, three, four, 17 or maybe one powerful person – not going to suggest a conspiracy – all news outlets have a point of a view. And if your point of view competes with the point of view of the institution, you're going to have challenges.
As far as being tools of Zionism, NBC, ABC and even Fox News have plenty to answer for when it comes to favoring the Palestinian cause in their poor reporting on Israel-Palestine relations. But Hill made a sweeping generalization. We should expect better from an academic.
Hearing statements coming from the progressive activists at the recent Netroots Nation summit makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.
I read how Marc Lamont Hill referred to the news media as being Zionist organizations. He included Fox, ABC and NBC in this accusation. For those who do not know, when people use Zionist in this term it has always been a dog whistle for Jewish, and we know anti-Semites have always talked about how Jews control the media.
Of course, Mr. Hill will not say "Jewish media," because doing so would completely shut down his argument to his audience and firmly place him in the same category as a white supremacist. However, we all know where Mr. Hill stands. If you recall last year, at an appearance at the United Nations, Mr. Hill stated, "free Palestine from the river to the sea." One can only interpret that as eliminating the state of Israel as well as all of its inhabitants.
First, let us have the proper definition of Zionist and Zionism. According to the Oxford dictionary, Zionism is "[a] movement for the re-establishment and the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel." A Zionist is "a person who believes in the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel." So is Mr. Hill stating those in the media are pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian? I find that ironic since his former employer, CNN, has been cited many times as being anti-Israel. Two decades ago, we had bumper stickers in the religious Jewish community that stated "CNN Lies" due to its very biased coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. Thus, those of us in the Jewish community knew long before the average conservative.
I have also read where some have said anti-Zionism is the rejection of racism, and Mr. Hill fanned those flames when he also stated Israel was engaged in a "white supremacist" project. I would like to know how being for the protection of a Jewish nation is racism. I am wondering if Mr. Hill or any of his audience have been to Israel outside of tourist spots. If you saw the makeup of the citizens of Israel, you would see one of the more diverse populations in the world and the most diverse in the Middle East. In addition, if Israel is so racist, why would it rescue thousands of Ethiopians of Jewish descent in Africa from devastating famines and war via the decades-long Operation Solomon? If Israel is so racist, why did it also bring in thousands of people of Jewish descent from India via Operation Menashe?
People do not realize – or maybe they do – that when you speak of anti-Zionism, you are speaking against Israel and its people. Israel is 75% Jewish. You are speaking against a right for Israel to exist, and you are speaking against a safe haven for my children and myself if it ever comes to that point.
Those on the left always speak of wanting safe spaces. To me, Israel will always be my safe space.