Progressive CNN contributor and Temple University Professor Marc Lamont Hill significantly moved the goal posts regarding America’s position towards Israel. Speaking at the United Nations today, he used a line that Hamas and other terrorist organizations have used for years. He said that justice requires a “free Palestine, from the river to the sea.” For many years, this phrase has been the central mantra of those who wish to wipe Israel from the map.
The river in question is the Jordan River, the sea is the Mediterranean, and between those two bodies of water exist the state of Israel. Quite frankly, for a Palestinian state to exist between them can mean nothing but the destruction of Israel. There is literally nowhere else for the Jewish state to exist.
Israel is, and has been since its inception midwifed by the United States, our staunchest ally and the only democracy in the Middle East. It has consistently protected our interests and the interests of international democracy, as we protect theirs. Mainstream political debate about the future of Israel has always centered on a solution in which Israel still exists. Hill’s dangerous exhortation at the United Nations undermines that, and threatens to invite the American left into an alliance with terrorist regimes.
The spectacular irresponsibility of these comments, which cannot help but embolden those who kill innocents in the name of Palestinian reconquest, is regrettable, but not surprising. We have on the left, and far too many on the right, people who have taken the excuse of Trump’s unconventional presidency to throw Israel directly under the bus.
The first president to actually do what Congress asked and move our embassy to Jerusalem is now so connected to the Jewish state that people who should know better are taking sides with terrorists, because they hate Trump that much. We should expect the Max Boots and Tom Nichols and Rick Wilsons to condemn this complete affront to U.S. foreign policy. But don’t hold your breath, because Trump says inelegant things.
Back in 2010, liberals and conservatives both decried White House Correspondent Helen Thomas’s anti-Israel and, frankly, anti-Semitic comments. Will that happen today? Will members of both parties come out strongly against an American — who has a big bully pulpit at the network that supposedly separates apples from bananas — for calling for the destruction of the Jewish state?
Hill quickly claimed he wasn’t saying that.
That’s because I didn’t say it. Lol. https://t.co/bKe1goccuj
— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) November 28, 2018
Honestly, what else could he have meant? Perhaps he didn’t know he was parroting the language of terrorists. Perhaps the line was fed to him and he was ignorant of its origins. But assuming he has the most basic grasp of geography, where does he expect the Jewish state to exist? In the Red Sea? Swallowed up by the waters that once in the Bible parted for them? If Palestine exists from river to sea, there is no Israel. Can he possibly be unaware of that?
Maybe he was honestly unaware. In such case, he should apologize and admit he had no idea what he was talking about. But if not, if he really is calling for the destruction of the state of Israel, if this is a position no longer existing at the extreme of progressive Democratic politics, then we need to know. It marks an incredibly dangerous shift in American discourse.
This is not something that left-wing commentators or politicians can ignore. They cannot cast a blind eye to this, for fear of offending those who would wish the destruction of Israel. They either stand with Israel or they don’t.
I’m talking to Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand. Do you believe Israel has a right to exist, or should a free Palestine range from river to sea? Your acolytes are making this once-certain position seem up for grabs. Is it up for grabs for you? Or are you still dedicated to the right of the Jewish state to exist?
For all the talk of Trump’s unseemly rhetoric, for all of his ugly comments and weird expressions, he has never made a statement so antithetical to the basic interests of the United States as Hill made in the presence of our friends and adversaries at the United Nations. It was shameful and deserves universal rebuke. We will see in the coming days if that rebuke is forthcoming.