In an exchange on Twitter, Marc Lamont Hill sadly admitted that rapper Ice Cube had posted some antisemitism, gently denouncing them as conspiracy theories that he, of course, never engages in:
Hill’s record indicates otherwise.
In 2018, Hill said that Israel “poisons the water” of Palestinians, echoing the antisemitic conspiracy theory of Jews poisoning water that has been hurled since the Black Death of 1348.
Last year he said that the entire State of Israel created a category of Mizrahi Jew out of thin air for as part of a “racial and political project that transformed Palestinian Jews (who lived peacefully with other Palestinians) into the 20th century identity category of ‘Mizrahi’ as a means of detaching them from Palestinian identity.”
While one can argue that Mizrahi Jews from Morocco, Jerusalem, Syria and Yemen have different customs, they have far more in common with each other, and accept the same interpretations of Jewish law as each other compared to Jews who lived in Europe. For all of Israel’s failures in integrating the Mizrahi Jews properly in the 1950s, putting them in the same category had zero to do with any “Palestinian identity” that they wanted to “detach” them from.
That is a conspiracy theory, and worse, it is an attempt to erase the identity of Jews who identify as Mizrahi.
Hill’s love of conspiracy theories about “Zionists” doesn’t end there.
Last year Hill participated in a conference with other prominent anti-Israel activists, whose criticisms of Israel are published as op-eds in the most influential media outlets, claiming that they are being “silenced” by Zionists. Being fired from CNN has not slowed down Hill’s anti-Israel activism – in fact, it probably accelerated it – and there is no “silencing” going on.
That is a conspiracy theory.
An example of how Hill has not been “silenced” is his bizarre comments at the Netroots Summit also last year, where he said that news outlets like CNN, ABC and NBC are “Zionist organizations.” He described a Zionist conspiracy behind the news that he then quickly denied was a conspiracy:
“They’re like, I want to work for Fox, or I want to work for ABC or NBC or whoever. I want to tell these stories. You have to make choices about where you want to work. And if you work for a Zionist organization, you’re going to get Zionist content. And no matter how vigorous you are in the newsroom, there are going to be two, three, four, 17, or maybe one powerful person — not going to suggest a conspiracy — all news outlets have a point of a view. And if your point of view competes with the point of view of the institution, you’re going to have challenges.”
When you say that Jews control the media, you are peddling an antisemitic conspiracy theory. But when you say Zionists control the media, you are celebrated as an anti-racist fighter.
At that same summit, fellow panelist Noura Erekat invented a new conspiracy theory about an “explicit project” led by Ashkenazi Jews in Israel to avoid “sully[ing] the blood line with becoming dark and oriental” by marrying Mizrahi Jews. Hill didn’t say a word against that. (Her theory is complete fiction – today, some 20% of children in Israel are born to parents of marriages between Ashkenaz and Mizrahi Jews.)
Finally, Marc Lamont Hill still proudly associates with Louis Farrakhan, and while he has expressed discomfort with Farrakhan’s anti-LGBTQ preachings, he has never said a word against his antisemitism – including his rabid antisemitic conspiracy theories such as that Jews were behind the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
There is no difference between saying Jews poison the wells or Israelis poison the wells, between saying Jews control the media or Zionists control the media, between claiming Jews have supernatural powers to silence critics or that Zionist have that power. The fact is that in order to believe in an Israel of unparalleled evil, one must believe in the same kinds of conspiracy theories that traditional antisemites have believed about Jews over the centuries. And Marc Lamont Hill is an enthusiastic purveyor of these conspiracy theories.