What the Firing Of Marc Lamont Hill Tells Us About Progressives

Marc Lamont Hill [NSH]29 by Flisadam Pointer, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

On Wednesday, Temple University professor, CNN contributor, Louis Farrakhan acolyte, racialist, and general douchenozzle, Marc Lamont Hill used the occasion of the U.N. International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (yeah, I know, wtf, right?) to advocate the genocide of Jews living in Israel.

The questionable segment is:

…we have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words but to commit to political action, grassroots action, local action and international action that will give us what justice requires and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea.

Since 1964 the PLO, and now Hamas, have used the “Palestine from the river to the sea” as a catchphrase for the destruction of Israel. It has never been associated with the peace process but only with the masturbatory anti-Semitic end-state of the eradication of the Jewish state. As Hill has made a career on CNN of finding “dog whistles” by Republicans it is pretty ridiculous for him, of all people, to insist that his comments were taken out of context. If there are whistles for dogs out there, this is very obviously one.

Yesterday, without any fanfare, CNN fired hill. This is how CNN’s in-house flack, Tater, announced it:

Yep, he just retweeted an ambivalent story by the hapless and clueless Oliver Darcy.

Of course, many of Hill’s fans leaped to his defense. Here is Glenn Greenwald:

Conservatives claimed to be offended, traumatized and hurt by Hill’s political views on Israel and Palestine, which they somehow construed as being anti-semitic, and demanded that CNN fire him as punishment for the expression of those opinions. CNN honored the demands of those claiming to be victimized by exposure to Hill’s viewpoints by firing him as a political analyst.

The right-wing outrage machine sprung into immediate action. The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein accused Hill of a “long history of anti-Semitism,” adding: “The phrase ‘from the river to the sea’ has been a rallying cry for Hamas and other terrorist groups seeking the elimination of Israel, as a Palestinian state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea would mean that Israel would be wiped off the map.”

Some on the pro-Israel right who agitated for Hill’s firing have previously mocked what they call “outrage culture,” in which people are fired for controversial comments. The Washington Examiner’s Executive Editor and fanatical Israel defender, Seth Mandel, has long denounced and ridiculed such “mobs,” angrily objecting, for instance, when Disney recently fired director James Gunn for provocative Twitter remarks about pedophilia. Mandel used similarly derisive language (“internet outrage machine”) to denounce the removal by Business Insider of a column by Daniella Greenbaum that many found to be hurtful and traumatizing because it was, they insisted, transphobic.

Yet the very same Seth Mandel who finds “outrage mobs” so offensive when they target people who have similar political views to his own helped lead his own “internet outrage mob” to have Hill fired. This Stalwart Champion of Free Expression posted a series of tweets directed at CNN claiming that Hill was an anti-Jewish bigot and an advocate of genocide, and then posted multiple childish tweets with gifs celebrating Hill’s firing.

There are few people more craven or contemptible than those who pretend to support free expression and oppose the attempts of “internet mobs” to have those they disagree with fired, only to instantly change positions when it comes to those whose views diverge from their own. Seth Mandel is the poster child for such principle-free, duplicitous frauds, but he is far from alone.

(This narrative is largely bullsh**. Klein and Mandel and others not only have legitimate reason to call out Hill’s call to genocide even if they may be operating within what Kurt Schlichter calls the “New Rules.” For way too long, too many self-described conservatives have defended the marginalization of conservatives with that “hobgoblin of small minds:” foolish consistency. They’ve been supine, often for reasons of their own real and potential monetary gain, as conservatives are one-by-one bounced from all outlets that aren’t Fox and been replaced by collaborationist and Vichy conservatives who are only too willing to trash conservatives…but that is a story for a different day.)

But the real story here is not that Hill got fired. The real story is that anti-Semitism is so common on the left that Hill, who I think is deeply dishonest but not blindingly stupid, saw nothing wrong with his speech, and, as you can tell from his fevered tweets on the subject, he is absolutely dumbfounded that anyone would object to the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of its citizens. What is more, the total silence of the left. They, too, were taken by surprise that anyone could look askance at a university professor and media figure who seems to aspire to “public intellectual” status would casually mouth a slogan created by a terrorist organization, popularized by a terrorist organization, and still used by a terrorist organization.

And who can blame him?

The Women’s March is led by virulent anti-Semites. The BDS movement that flourishes on many American university campuses is anti-Semitism dressed up in UN speeches. A DC city councilman blamed the weather on a Jewish conspiracy (okay, this may not be the most exotic statement ever made by a member of the DC Council, but you get the point).

So, while the media goes around trying to find people making the “okay” sign and claiming they are “white nationalists,” those same newsrooms are chock full of people for whom the casual, day-to-day anti-Semitism of Hill is unremarkable and totally reasonable.

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