A few years ago, I was admonished by a prominent CNN anchor upset that The Federalist had published an article he claimed was anti-Semitic. The column in question, written by an Orthodox Jew, warned that his co-religionists had become fixated on the largely powerless alt-right while allowing left-wing anti-Semitism to go unchecked in American institutions.
It didn’t hit me at the time to mention that a perfect example of this trend could be found on CNN. Marc Lamont Hill, allegedly “one of the leading intellectual voices in the country,” according to the network, already boasted a long history of using anti-Semitic rhetoric, not only defending terrorists abroad but praising Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan here at home.
On Wednesday, Hill gave speech in front of the United Nations, advocating for violence against the Jewish State and dropping the well-known eliminationist phrase, “from the river to the sea,” a favorite of Hamas and other Islamic terror groups, to the applause of representatives from theocrats and tyrannies around the world.
No one uses this phrase accidentally — certainly not in this context. Certainly not someone smart enough to be considered one of the nation’s leading intellectuals. As Hill pointed out in his ham-fisted attempts to walk back these statements, “from the river to the sea” predates Hamas by 50 years. It also predates the idea of “occupied territories.” The expression, which has existed in various forms since the inception of Israel, was adopted by Yasser Arafat in 1964, before the West Bank came under Israel’s control after repelling an attempt to destroy it.
During the Oslo negotiations, when he finally dropped the idea, Arafat openly admitted that the phrase connoted complete Arab control of the lands between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea. It has nothing to do, as Hill laughably contends, with the emergence of a multi-ethnic liberal democratic state. Rather, it is about pushing Jews into the sea.
You’d think this kind of bigoted rhetoric would be highly upsetting to CNN’s sensitive journalists, who are able to ferret out anti-Semitic dog whistles, sometimes real and often imagined, all over the place.
When a neo-Nazi shooter went on a murder spree in a synagogue, it didn’t take long for the bodies of those Jews to be used as a partisan cudgel. CNN’s media critic, Brian Stelter, quickly wrote an article wondering whether the “de-humanizing” language used by Fox News guests, right-wing radio, and Donald Trump comparing the immigrant caravan moving from Central America to “invaders” may have spurred Robert Bowers to kill American Jews. He was just asking questions, of course. All of this was tied into the supposed anti-Semitic language used to describe progressive moneyman George Soros.
Conveniently, criticism of the liberals’ leading funder is beyond the pale, but featuring an intellectual who pals around with a guy who calls Jews termites is okay.
Not a peep from @JakeTapper or @brianstelter about their CNN colleague @marclamonthill‘s public call for the destruction of Israel and a Jewish genocide yesterday. The real test isn’t what either will say on Twitter or via DM, but whether they will cover the scandal on TV.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) November 29, 2018
Jeffrey Lord, incidentally, was fired from CNN for making a stupid joke about Nazis. Maybe he deserved it, I don’t know. But Hill, as of this writing, hasn’t been fired. CNN hasn’t even condemned his remarks. The network’s leading finger-wagging moralist, who is constantly asking other networks (well, Fox News) to immediately comment on their mishaps, hasn’t even mentioned the incident. Even Obama’s ambassador to Israel, an administration that was no great friend of the Jewish state, called it “disgusting.” Nothing from CNN.
Until today, I never heard of of @marclamonthill (don't watch a lot of cable TV). This is disgusting. Calling for the elimination of Israel is anti-Semitic and (being thankfully futile) does Palestinians no favors. https://t.co/na3ma7n8IV
— Dan Shapiro (@DanielBShapiro) November 29, 2018
Yesterday @marclamonthill has called for the elimination of the State of Israel. His comments should be condemned in the strongest terms. The fact that he made these comments under the employment of @CNN and @TempleUniv should call his fairness and credibility into question
— Almog Elijis (@AlmogElijis) November 29, 2018
CNN is free to do as it likes. Hill’s continued presence, even before this incident, and the slow reaction from the network to comment, tell us enough about its hypocrisy. But it would be nice if the nation’s self-appointed moral compass explained itself.
(As of late Thursday afternoon, “Marc Lamont Hill is no longer under contract with CNN,” a spokesperson from the network said in an email. CNN did not explain why or condemn his anti-Semitic remarks.)