Congresswoman-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), one of the first two Muslim American women elected to Congress, defended former CNN Commentator Marc Lamont Hill on Twitter Thursday after he was fired for an anti-Israel comment.
Hill, a professor at Temple University, spoke at a United Nations event for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on Wednesday.
During his remarks, he said countries should boycott Israel and called for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea.” He also argued that "we must recognize the right of an occupied people to defend themselves. We must prioritize peace, but we must not romanticize or fetishize it."
These comments drew a backlash from many, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), as the phrase “from the river to the sea” is used by Hamas and other anti-Israel terrorist groups and, according to ADL, the phrase implies the destruction of Israel.
Lamont Hill has disputed that characterization of his remarks.
My reference to “river to the sea” was not a call to destroy anything or anyone. It was a call for justice, both in Israel and in the West Bank/Gaza. The speech very clearly and specifically said those things. No amount of debate will change what I actually said or what I meant.— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) November 29, 2018
Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib pushed back on CNN’s decision to fire Lamont Hill, saying he was simply “calling out the oppressive policies in Israel.”
Calling out the oppressive policies in Israel, advocating for Palestinians to be respected, and for Israelis and Palestinians alike to have peace and freedom is not antisemitic. @CNN, we all have a right to speak up about injustice any and everywhere. @marclamonthill https://t.co/YT49WCxVbo— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) November 30, 2018
Tlaib has backed a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has also opposed U.S. aid to Israel.