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CNN fired its popular commentator the Temple University professor and public intellectual Marc Lamont Hill last week. Contrary to most reporting, Hill was not actually fired as a result of the speech he gave at the United Nations on November 28—he was fired as a result of powerful pro-Israel forces, most notably the Anti-Defamation League or ADL, who used the speech to demand that he be fired.
Hill’s words are important. Not only because he laid out a fiery, cogent argument for the need to end Israel’s policies of oppression against Palestinians in the context of international law. But because, and it was especially fitting since he was addressing members of the UN General Assembly and top UN officials, Hill shaped his presentation around this year’s shared 70th anniversary of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Palestinian experience of the nakba, or catastrophe, of 1948—when 750,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes, expelled from their land, and dispossessed of their country with the creation of the state of Israel. And Hill depicted how the Palestinians, during that experience and since, have continued to be denied the very rights—political, civil, economic, social, and cultural rights—supposedly guaranteed to every human being in the Universal Declaration. —Phyllis Bennis & Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, "Marc Lamont Hill Was Arguing for the Rights of Humans, Not of States"