Activist and author Marc Lamont Hill has been in a media firestorm after days of backlash due to his comments about the Israel-Palestine conflict. CNN fired him and the chairman of Temple University’s board, Patrick O’Connor, called his comments hate speech. Now, Hill is issuing an apology.
In an article for Philly.com, he wrote, “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. As an activist and scholar, I have done my best to point out these realities and challenge them whenever possible.”
He addressed the controversy of using the term “from the river to the sea,” a phrase that is often a call for violence and used by groups, including Hamas, who wish to remove Israel and replace the country with a Palestinian state that would stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Hill explained in his apology, “My use of ‘river to the sea’ was an invocation of a long history of political actors – liberal and radical, Palestinian and Israeli – who have called for their particular vision of justice in the area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. For many, justice will come from a two-state solution. For some, like me, justice will come through a single bi-national democratic state that encompasses Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. I strongly believe that this is the best method to achieve peace, safety, security, and self-determination for both Israelis and Palestinians. Justice requires that everyone, not just a single side, is free and equal.”
He said “the final words of my speech became a dangerous and harmful distraction from my political analysis” and added, “To this extent, I did no favors to Israelis or Palestinians. For this too, I am deeply sorry.”
See a clip of Marc Lamont Hill’s speech below.