Marc Lamont Hill

Wading River Jordan to the Mediterranean

Can you imagine Marc Lamont Hill accepting the apology of a commentator, at least a non-black one, using the ‘N’ word† and claiming he didn’t understand its connotations? That he really thought it was only a variation of ‘negro’, the Spanish word for the colour black?

I think not.

River to the Sea?

He certainly has antisemitism form. However, for me the undiscussed feature of this episode is how he and his defenders vehemently deny that he hates Jews and that Palestine will be free from the River to the Sea can mean something other than destroying Israel and the accompanying genocide/ ethnic cleansing/ dhimmitude‡ of its Jewish population.

In an op-ed published on Saturday in Hill’s hometown newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, he wrote: “Critics of this phrase have suggested that I was calling for violence against Jewish people. In all honesty, I was stunned, and saddened, that this was the response.”

How can anyone who has any knowledge of the Israel/Arab conflict, let alone a university professor with journalism cred be so tone-deaf to the way that slogan would resonate with Israel Haters and Lovers alike?

Did he never attend a demonstration where that is a familiar chant or a conference where a speaker repeated that chant to applause and ask what was understood by it?

Perhaps Palestinians living outside the British Mandate for Palestine excluding Transjordan borders that River to Sea defines and suffering major discrimination in Lebanon and slaughter in Syria don’t deserve freedom? Perhaps return to Kuwait and the Gulf States from where they were ethnic cleansed following Yasser Arafat’s blunder in backing Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War is not the right of return to which he was referring?

I doubt he gave it a thought. He certainly didn’t feel it deserved a mention at the United Nations

Should we be stunned at his naivety[?]

Nazi BDSHe may not have been aware of the medieval (Jews poison the wells) or Nazi (boycott Jewish businesses) antecedents of some of his positions although as an educated man and a public figure it is hard to credit that no one ever told him.

Not an antisemite

Specifically, some have argued that my remarks endorsed or reflected anti-Semitism. For this reason, I feel morally compelled to respond.

First, I strongly believe that we must reject anti-Semitism in any form or fashion. This means not only preventing physical violence against Jews, but also ugly anti-Semitic images, stereotypes, conspiracy theories, and mythologies.

Some have suggested that his apology has more to do with the economics of job loss at CNN and possible consequences at Temple University. Respectfully I disagree. One door closes and another opens. He will be a welcome guest at Destroy-Israel fests, worldwide.

If I had one question to ask him it would be, “What is the difference between killing Jews in a synagogue in Pittsburgh and killing them in a synagogue in Jerusalem”?

Is it that, in his mind, antisemitism can only come from the safe target of the extreme Right and not from the extreme Left, Arabs or Muslims in general?

Is it that killing defenseless Jews in America is ‘bad’ antisemitism while killing them in Israel or the territories ‘good’ resistance?

Is it just, Location, Location, Location?

By the way all references to the welcome he received at the Klein College of Media and Communication have mysteriously disappeared from the university website although not from Google. (Screengrabs for posterity: here and here.) Could this be hint that he might be headed for the same scrap heap as another famous Temple grad, Bill Cosby?

Trivia question

Marc Lamont Hill CritiqueWhat is the difference between the word use in the critique of Israel he supposedly made at the United Nations and criticism of Israel that is not antisemitism?

Functional antisemitism

Five Minutes of Israel often posts three tests for examining whether supposed criticism of Israel qualifies as antisemitism in social media and on site (Corbyn: Walking like a Duck? Pt II)

  • Lies are not criticism
  • Relabeling Nazi or medieval antisemitism as criticism of Israel is still antisemitism
  • Sharing a platform with those who don’t bother to hide their antisemitism is antisemitism by proxy
  1. Just about anything he says about Israel qualifies as lies;
  2. His claim that ‘Israel poisons Palestinian water’ is a rehash of the medieval ‘Jews poison the wells‘ libel;
  3. His friendship with Nation of Islam chief Louis Farrakhan (“Satanic Jews who have infected the whole world with poison and deceit.”) is proxy antisemitism as is his defence of Hamas.

Extra credit


† Using the euphemism for ‘nigger’ only because Facebook would gaol (jail in American) me in an instant if the word came up in a preview.
‡ A dhimmi is a person living in a region overrun by Muslim conquest who was accorded a protected status and allowed to retain his or her original faith. Dhimmitude is willing submission to the second-class status that comes with being a dhimmi. Hill would recognise it as Uncle Tomism.

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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