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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.

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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.

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