Temple professor Marc Lamont Hill was fired by CNN Thursday after a speech he gave to the United Nations. Hill was an analyst for CNN, and had been a longtime contributor. Mediaite first reported Hill’s firing.
Hill’s UN speech Wednesday called for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea.”
The UN speech has drawn criticism for its rhetoric – ‘free Palestine from the river to the sea’ is a phrase sometimes associated with Hamas and anti-Israeli groups.
Hill took to Twitter Thursday morning to defend his speech.
Hill went on to defend his position through multiple tweets:
“In my speech, I talked about the need to return to the pre-1967 borders, to give full rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel, and to allow right of return. No part of this is a call to destroy Israel. It’s absurd on its face.” -@marclamonthill
“I believe in full rights for all citizens. I believe in safety for all citizens. I believe in self-determination for all citizens. This is not an anti-Semitic position.” -@marclamonthill
“While I have my own beliefs about one vs two state solutions (I prefer one), it is not my job as an outsider to decide for Palestinians or Israelis. Regardless of the resolution, however, Palestinians cannot be denied freedom, self-determination, or human rights.” -@marclamonthill
“Unfortunately, we are in a moment where any critique of the Israeli government is called anti-Semitic. Any call for Palestinian freedom is seen as an attempt to diminish Israel freedom. This does not have to be, nor should it be, the case.” -@marclamonthill
“I concluded my remarks with a call to free Palestine from river to sea. This means that all areas of historic Palestine —e.g., West Bank, Gaza, Israel— must be spaces of freedom, safety, and peace for Palestinians.” – @marclamonthill
“Anyone who studies the region, or the history of Palestinian nationalism, knows that “river to sea” has been, and continues to be, a phrase used by many factions, ideologies, movements, and politicians.” – @marclamonthill
“The phrase dates back to at least the middle of the British Mandate and has never been the exclusive province of a particular ideological camp. The idea that this is a Hamas phrase is simply untrue.” – @marclamonthill
“It’s also ABSURD and illogical to suggest that a speech that explicitly called for redrawing borders and granting full citizenship for Palestinians IN Israel was also calling for its destruction. People either didn’t listen to the speech or they’re being dishonest.” – @marclamonthill
After a few hours, Hill returned to Twitter to defend himself after word of his firing became public.
Further tweets went on:
“My reference to “river of the sea” was not a call to destroy anything or anyone. It was a call for justice, both in Israel and in the West Bank/Gaza. The speech was very clearly and specifically said those things. No amount of debate will change what I actually said or what I meant.” – @marclamonthill
“This isn’t a case of throwing rocks and hiding hands. I genuinely believe in the arguments and the principles that I shared in the speech. I also genuinely want peace, freedom, and security for everyone. These are not competing ideals and values.” – @marclamonthill
The Anti-Defamation League responded to Hill’s comments in an email to the Jewish Journal, which was later retweeted by the organization. The ADL called the comments “divisive” and “destructive” in an email to the Journal.
When asked for comment on the matter, Temple University spokesman Brandon Lausch told Temple Update “Marc Lamont Hill has been quoted extensively over the last 24 hours. Marc Lamont Hill does not represent Temple University and his views are his own. However, we acknowledge that he has a constitutionally protected right to express his opinion as a private citizen.”
Temple Update has reached out to Mr. Hill for comment. As of publication, we had not received a response.
A link to view Hill’s speech can found here. Temple Update does not own the rights to this video.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.