Yes, CNN’s Marc Lamont Hill Really Did Call for the Elimination of Israel

In a speech delivered to a UN committee, CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill called for “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.” Michael Brown explains the rhetorical significance of this phrase.

By Michael Brown Published on November 29, 2018

Update: CNN severed ties with Marc Lamont Hill on Thursday following the backlash from Hill’s speech. A CNN spokesperson told Mediaite that, “Marc Lamont Hill is no longer under contract with CNN.”

It doesn’t matter what spin is put on this in the days ahead. The meaning was clear and unmistakable. CNN contributor and Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill called for the elimination of Israel in a speech delivered yesterday. Specifically, he called for “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.”

Four Reasons Why That Was a Call For the End of Israel

Why do I (and a host of other commentators and news outlets) feel so sure that Prof. Hill was actually calling for the end of the Jewish State?

First, Hill has a history of blatantly anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic comments. What he said yesterday was nothing new.

Second, Hill was speaking at the UN’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Need I say more? (As for the UN’s broader anti-Semitic history, see here and here.)

Third, Hill specifically endorsed violent resistance when necessary. (“We must advocate and 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.”)

Fourth, and most importantly, there was Hill’s very specific, very intentional, and very direct reference to “a free Palestine from the river to the sea.” The meaning of these words is unmistakable and indisputable.

A Phrase Well-Known to the Enemies of Israel

If all you had was a map of Israel, you would know what Hill meant. The State of Israel exists between the Jordan River to the East and the Mediterranean Sea to the West. The disputed territories called the West Bank butt up to the Jordan, while Gaza Strip butts up to the Sea.

What Hill called for, then, was for everything else — meaning, every square inch of the recognized State of Israel — to be part of a “free Palestine.” Goodbye, Jewish State! 

But Hill wasn’t just speaking in clear geographical terms. He was speaking in rhetorical terms well-known to the enemies of Israel. His words — which were the closing words to his speech — were carefully chosen. (Watch the clip here.)

That’s why Students for Justice in Palestine chant these same words at campus protests: “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free!”

Hill wasn’t just speaking in clear geographical terms. He was speaking in rhetorical terms well-known to the enemies of Israel.

As noted by the Times of Israel in 2014, “‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.’ What does this even mean? This chant, which is screamed across hundreds of campuses in North America, and Canada, is a call for the genocide of the Jewish people.

“These chanting students are coming from groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and the Muslim Student Association (MSA). Both SJP and MSA trace their roots to the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization that founded Hamas. They both claim ‘Palestine’ is under occupation by Israel, and they are not afraid to voice their opinions on campus.”

Yes, Hill knew exactly what he was saying.

Just Ask Hamas Leaders

If you’re still unsure, just ask Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal what the words mean.

In December, 2012, Meshaal returned to Gaza for a “victory rally” after Israel’s crushing defeat of Hamas in what Israel called Operation Pillar of Defense.

As reported by the Guardian, “Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal vowed Gaza’s rulers would never give up ‘an inch of the land’ to Israel in an uncompromising speech before tens of thousands of cheering supporters at a triumphalist ‘victory’ rally in Gaza City.” (Hamas claimed the crowd was half-a-million strong.)

Yes, Meshaal affirmed to his enthusiastic hearers “Palestine is ours, from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on an inch of the land. We will never recognise the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take.” (My emphasis.)

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This is in keeping with the original Hamas charter, which states that “‘our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious’ and calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in Palestine, in place of Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and the obliteration or dissolution of Israel.”

Again, in 2014, another Hamas leader used similar words. Memri.org reported: “During a military parade, conducted in Gaza on December 14, 2014, Khalil Al-Hayya of the Hamas leadership declared: ‘Palestine, all of Palestine, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, is pure Arab Islamic land, which we will share with no one.’” (My emphasis; watch the full video clip, with translation, here.)

CNN Must Renounce His Comments

Prof. Hill was simply echoing these words, regardless of what spin may be put on them in the days ahead and regardless of what nuancing Hill will do.

CNN needs to discipline him immediately and make a clear and unequivocal statement renouncing his comments. Anything less than that is unacceptable.

(For my one and only direct interaction with Hill on CNN, see here.)

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  • Paul

    “CNN needs to discipline him immediately and make a clear and unequivocal
    statement renouncing his comments. Anything less than that is
    unacceptable.”

    I’ll be surprised if anything is done.

    • Ken Abbott

      Well, they might promote him…

      • Paul

        LOL, you got me there

    • Rachel

      Wow so much for free speech

      • Paul

        Actually isn’t about free speech, rather about if those views represent the company that aired them.

    • Rachel

      Why is it unacceptable???

      • Paul

        I was quoting Michael there so you’d need to ask him what he meant.

  • Sumerian King

    With all due respect, Mr. Brown, I don’t think you should put so much emphasis on CNN apologizing for or retracting their comments. It will be a sham apology, and their hearts will remain unchanged. If anything, I’m glad they’re speaking so openly about their feelings; at least they’re being honest. The kind of Israel hatred and demonic anti-Semitism that motivated Israel’s ancient, Old Testament enemies, Nazi Germany, and contemporary Islam is the same that animates the radical Left. It’s sad to see people so pathetically ignorant of history. Alas, such times were already prophesied by the Prophets and Apostles long ago, so no reason to be shocked by it. In the end, God wins.

  • Patmos

    A lost soul like Hill looking for purpose, meaning, and value in his life is naturally an easy victim for the shallow and baseless propaganda delivered by so many Muslims in that region. I mean, ethnic cleansing by Israel? The guy obviously has no idea what he is talking about.

    • apollo

      sure he does , he has a different world view then yours.

  • Patmos

    Looks like he got fired, or at least is no longer under contract (not sure what his role at CNN was), for the comments.

    I wonder if he’ll now blame “the Jews in the media”. Such a notion would almost be as insane as the ones that got him fired in the first place.

  • tz1

    Even more people hate your comments even more. WHEN (not if) the people who hate what you say, who don’t wish to debate or argue, just destroy you, demand you lose your platforms, income, etc. what defense will you have. But I’m on the right side of WHAT to censor? That your “hate speech” doesn’t count?

    Let me try a mirror: Apologize for the Sabra and Shatilia massacres of Palestinians – you sound like you wanted them dead – and at the hands of Jews. Kill ’em all!. If you don’t I demand the Stream fire you!!

    This is not exaggeration. Consider transgenders – if you misgender, Twitter will ban you. At what point will that censorship mob come here to the STream and demand the Stream fire everyone who says such “offensive” things, and if they don’t they will go to your DNS provider, ISP hosting, and who processes donations.

    It has happened to Gab, and many others.

    The evil is not that CNN isn’t renouncing things, it is that you are demanding it when there are already bonfires of Christian books – and Christians.

    Meanwhile, there’s China with its concentration camps and Falun Gong which are executed by taking their organs for transplant tourism, and their forced abortion policies. And Israel’s “friend” Saudi Arabia that does worse. No problem about them because you are a Jew and only care about the least slight to Israel? If three billion gentiles were genocided would you even shed one tear or care? From your words I think not. But if so, your faith in Jesus is superficial. You are still a Jew at heart, a heart where the holy spirit does not live.

    Even racism. The first question you seem to ask is “Was it a Jew?”, instead of “was it right or wrong?. If this guest said the same things against China pertaining to the Urghuirs? Or vice versa? There is supposed to be neither Jew nor Greek in Christ Jesus. I haven’t seen a single post concerning the Greeks under your byline.

  • William Barret Travis

    Dr. Michael Brown is nothing more than a Trojan Horse in Christianity to push Zionism, promote division among Christians, push philosemitism and Jewish political aims by attacking Trump as unChristian while he buddies up with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach who pushes LGBTQ agenda & policies destructive to America.

    A hypocrite of the highest order.

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