On Wednesday (November 28), author, scholar and activist Marc Lamont Hill spoke at the United Nations as part of the annual programming for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. His 21-minute speech focused on how he feels Israel’s treatment of Palestinian people violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He closed by saying, “We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words, but to commit to 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.”
The Anti-Defamation League condemned the comments, with Sharon Nazarian, the organization’s senior vice president for international affairs telling Jewish Journal, “Those calling for ‘from the river to the sea’ are calling for an end to the State of Israel.”
Yesterday (November 30), Mediaite reported that CNN subsequently cut ties with Hill, who is a frequent contributor on the network.
Hill took to Twitter to respond to claims leveled against him.
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.— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) November 29, 2018
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.— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) November 29, 2018
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.— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) November 29, 2018
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.— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) November 29, 2018
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.— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) November 29, 2018
Watch the full speech that caused the uproar above.