CNN Pundit Used Phrase 'River to the Sea.' Now He's Canned

Marc Lamont Hill's contract nixed after controversial comments at the UN
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2018 8:06 AM CST
CNN Dumps Pundit After UN Remarks on Israel, Palestine
This Jan. 17, 2001, file photo shows pedestrians entering CNN's headquarters in downtown Atlanta.   (AP Photo/Ric Feld,File)

A pundit who appears regularly on CNN made remarks at the United Nations Wednesday that apparently caused him to lose his gig at the network. "Marc Lamont Hill is no longer under contract with CNN," was the curt notice from a CNN rep to Mediaite, which first reported the news. What seems to be the reasoning behind his ejection: In his UN speech, Hill implored nations around the globe to boycott Israel and called for a "free Palestine from the river to the sea." It's that phrase specifically that's receiving the most backlash from pro-Israel groups (including the Anti-Defamation League), as it's been appropriated by Hamas and other anti-Israel groups and is widely thought to refer to erasing Israel and establishing a Palestine that reaches from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, Politico notes.

In a series of tweets Thursday, Hill insisted, "I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech. I have spent my life fighting these things." He said his goal is to "support Palestinian freedom" and "Palestinian self-determination" and that he's simply "deeply critical of Israeli policy and practice." He also said the phrase "river to the sea" has a "variety of meanings" and "precedes Hamas by more than 50 years." Per Al Jazeera, many pro-Palestinian activists, journalists, and politicians are calling Hill's firing a "kowtowing to right-wing Israeli groups." A petition started by Intercept journalist Ryan Grim, calling for CNN to rehire Hill and offer an apology "to the world," had more than 4,700 signatures as of Friday morning. (The DOE takes a new look at an Israeli-Palestinian battle at Rutgers.)

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