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Black American university professor and political commentator Marc Lamont Hill was fired by CNN and harshly attacked by Zionists, after he called for equality for Palestinians in a speech at the UN.

In his remarks, which were made on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Hill promoted non-violence and argued that “we cannot endorse a narrow politics of respectability that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in the face of state violence and ethnic cleansing.” He also called for a free Palestine “from the river to the sea.”

Lamont’s words contradict the American cable news network’s traditional stance on Israel-Palestine. CNN has constantly provided a platform for Israeli propaganda and actively engaged in the dehumanization of Palestinians. Firing Hill was a logical extension of these policies. In a seemingly orchestrated attempt to destroy his career, Israel’s supporters also immediately smeared Hill as a genocidal anti-Semite.

 

In a series of tweets, Hill reiterated what was already obvious from his speech, i.e. that he is critical of Israeli policies, but at no point voiced anti-Semitic remarks.

The attacks against Hill are, however, not only about his criticism of Israel. Rather, they are about his commitment to treating and speaking about Palestinians as human beings, deserving of the same dignity as Israelis. Universal human rights are incompatible with Zionism. Indeed, any notion of freedom and equality for Palestinians puts the survival of the Zionist project into question. Israel, which was not built alongside Palestine but on top of it, currently controls all historic Palestine, and subjugates Palestinians from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea by denying them equal rights through continuous military occupation and ethnocratic structures. As it comfortably consolidates its geo-political control, Israel opposes both a one-state and a two-state solution, rejects coexistence, and prefers erasure and oppression.

The notion of universal human rights and freedom “from the river to the sea” can only be realized if Israel departs from its structures of ethnic supremacy and racial segregation. This, however, would presuppose the recognition of Palestinians as human beings.

Israel cannot exist without the ongoing subjugation of the Palestinians. As Judith Butler argued, “Israel in its present form cannot do without its mechanisms of dispossession without destroying itself as Israel. In this sense, the threat to Israel is a consequence of its fundamental dependency on dispossession and expulsion for its existence.”[1]

Israel’s supporters are right. Universal human rights are an existential threat that would eventually result in the fall of Zionist Israel. The controversy over Hill once again shows that this scenario is the worst nightmare for Israel and its verbally militant supporters in the United States.

 

[1] Judith Butler, Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (New York: Columbia U P, 2012) 214

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