Monday, May 15, 2017

So Marc Lamont Hill claims not to be anti-Israel…

Marc Lamont Hill has an impressive biography and record of achievements as an academic, activist and TV personality. On his own website, he describes himself as “one of the leading intellectual voices in the country.” His Facebook page has almost 72K followers, on Twitter he has 318K, and on Instagram almost 87K. So unfortunately, it matters that he seems to have a bit of a soft spot for Palestinian terrorism.

Earlier this month, Hill opined on Twitter that “Trump’s position on Israel/Palestine is repugnant. His call for Palestine to ‘reject hatred and terrorism’ is offensive & counterproductive.”

When the tweet came to the attention of Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg several days later and he professed to be a “bit flummoxed”, Hill responded somewhat defensively, suggesting that “the context is missing” and that “[p]eace will not come from demanding action from only one side.” He later stated in exchanges with other Twitter users that he found it “offensive to only call on Palestinians to ‘behave’, while normalizing/ ignoring the violence of the occupation;” he also rejected it as “offensive” to compare “Palestinian resistance to settler-colonialism to the actions of ISIS,” and he declared: “We all agree that hatred and terrorism are bad things. The issue is who gets to define each term, and under what conditions.”

Right… Obviously, it’s appallingly presumptuous of those Israelis to define it as “terrorism” when Palestinians murder and maim civilians who are having pizza for lunch, who celebrate Passover or attend services in a synagogue, who ride a bus, go out for dinner and entertainment, or just go to sleep in their bed at home. And it’s of course also terribly presumptuous of those Israelis to call it “hatred” when the murderous perpetrators of such attacks are celebrated by Palestinians as heroes, who get handsomely paid and have buildings or events named in their honor.  And really – who on earth would think of “hatred and terrorism” when the Gaza-based Wa’ed Band for Islamic Art produces a cute cartoon clip “depicting Israelis trembling in fear and fleeing the country,” while the band’s great musicians sing “My rockets long for you, and they will rain down on you;” “I’m coming for you with a gun, or with an axe and a knife – or I could run over you with my car.”

Hatred and terrorism??? Nah – just funky “Islamic Art” illustrating what “Palestinian resistance to settler-colonialism” is all about, right, Prof. Hill?

After all, Marc Lamont Hill has stated very clearly that he is “not anti Israel;” and he emphasized: “I’ve fought, and continue to fight, anti-semitism my entire life. But i oppose occupation of Gaza.”

Well, actually, in August 2014, when Hill declared his opposition to the occupation of Gaza, it was just a few weeks to the ninth anniversary of Israel’s complete withdrawal from Gaza – which, Israelis hoped, would reduce hatred and terrorism and perhaps even be a major step towards a peace agreement. It didn’t work out as hoped: “Since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, terrorists have fired more than 11,000 rockets into Israel [until 2014].”

Of course, Hill might find it offensive to call the Palestinians who fire the rockets “terrorists;” instead, he might prefer to see them described as ordinary folks who engage in “Palestinian resistance to settler-colonialism” and thus inspire artists like the Wa’ed Band for Islamic Art.
A few months after Hill tweeted about not being anti-Israel and fighting antisemitism, while just opposing the non-existent occupation of Gaza, he joined a group of “Dream Defenders” – dreaming  about “the destruction of the political and economic systems of Capitalism and Imperialism as well as Patriarchy” – on a visit to “Palestine” (he has denied ever having been to Israel). William Jacobson posted about this visit at Legal Insurrection under the fitting title: “Wow, Marc Lamont Hill drank the anti-Israel Kool-Aid.”

From a propaganda video produced by the group, Jacobson cut a must-see clip showing Hill during a “Solidarity Demonstration” in Nazareth – which is in Israel, as everyone who doesn’t oppose the existence of the world’s only Jewish state will know – with Hill speaking to the camera [my emphasis]:

“We came here to Palestine to stand in love and revolutionary struggle with our brothers and sisters;
We come to a land that has been stolen by greed and destroyed by hate;
We come here and we learn laws that have been co-signed in ink but written in the blood of the innocent and we stand next to people who continue to courageously struggle and resist the occupation;
People continue to dream and fight for freedom;
From Ferguson to Palestine the struggle for freedom continues.”

When someone who speaks these lines while standing in an Israeli city claims that he has always fought, and will always fight antisemitism, the most benevolent explanation is that this guy simply doesn’t know that for centuries, Jew-haters have invoked the greedy Jew who steals, the hateful Jew who destroys, and the Jew who is after “the blood of the innocent”. And for centuries, Jew-haters have always believed that they were just telling it as it was…

In fall 2015, Hill published an op-ed under the title “Why Every Black Activist Should Stand With Rasmea Odeh.” Again, one could note that people who fight antisemitism usually don’t advocate solidarity with a convicted terrorist murderer of two young Jews. But as far as Hill is concerned, Odeh is a “venerable woman” and “a Palestinian freedom fighter being railroaded for her commitment to justice,” whose story “must also be understood as a Black story. A story of global resistance to colonial power.” After all, as Hill emphasizes, Odeh was arrested “by the Israelis in Palestine,” and, after enduring “over 20 days of vicious rape, and other physical and psychological torture,” the completely innocent “Palestinian freedom fighter” was unfairly convicted “by the Israelis in Palestine.”

Those “Israelis in Palestine” are real evil, aren’t they.

Almost a year before Hill wrote his vile apologia for Odeh, William Jacobson had published a thorough documentation showing that “Rasmea Odeh [was] rightly convicted of Israeli supermarket bombing and U.S. immigration fraud.” Legal Insurrection published about two dozen additional posts on the Odeh case before Hill wrote his piece – that is to say, if he wanted to get information on Odeh to check the reliability of the material circulating in his activist echo chamber, he could have easily done so.  

Needless to say, Hill is also an ardent BDS supporter, and the goal of BDS is of course to rid the world of its only Jewish state. As Hill’s good friend, BDS leader Omar Barghouti put it so hopefully all the way back in 2004, when he denounced the two-state solution as an immoral ploy to save Zionism and eagerly anticipated “the final chapter of the Zionist project:” “We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it, for Zionism is intent on killing itself. I, for one, support euthanasia.”

But as far as Hill is concerned [archived], “Omar” is admirably devoted to “the work of creating peace and justice for the vulnerable.”

Perhaps we can all agree that Omar Barghouti is as devoted to “the work of creating peace and justice for the vulnerable” as Marc Lamont Hill is devoted to fighting antisemitism?
Let’s conclude with a post by Hill [archived] from last August about the man the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has described as “the leading anti-Semite in America,” while the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) calls him “an anti-Semite who routinely accuses Jews of manipulating the U.S. government and controlling the levers of world power,” heading an organization that has “earned … a prominent position in the ranks of organized hate.”

But Hill greatly enjoyed the company of Louis Farrakhan, the notorious leader of the Nation of Islam: “Been blessed to spend the last day with Minister Louis Farrakhan. An amazing time of learning, listening, laughing, and even head nodding to music. God is Great.”

However, just to be clear: among “progressives”, Hill is in good company with his admiration for Farrakhan. As I have recently documented, two leading organizers of the Women’s March are ardent fans of Farrakhan, and while their beloved “sister” Linda Sarsour hasn’t offered gushing praise for him, she has given a strident speech at one of his major events, and embraces the Nation of Islam as “an integral part” of “the history of Islam in America” and as “part of one ummah, one family. #Islam.”

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