On February 6, the Democratic Socialists of America hosted an online panel discussion titled “DSA, BDS, and Palestine Solidarity.” One of the panelists was Marc Lamont Hill, a professor of media studies and urban education at Temple University and outspoken Black Lives Matter activist, who admitted that one of the explicit goals of the Black Lives Matter movement was to “embrace BDS” and “dismantle” the Jewish State of Israel.
“This generation of activists say ‘No, let’s defund. No, no, let’s abolish. Let’s imagine new possibilities,’ and one of the new possibilities that they’ve imagined, um, is a world where, that is anti-imperialist,” stated Hill.
Temple U professor and BLM activist Marc Lamont Hill says the goal of Black Lives Matter is to "dismantle the Zionist project" and is "very explicitly embracing BDS" pic.twitter.com/V9hKAm5jby
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) February 14, 2021
“They don’t want to just nation build, but they want to world make,” he continued. “And so Black Lives Matter very explicitly is talking about the dismantling of, um, of the Zionist project, dismantling of a settler-colonial project and very explicitly embracing BDS on those grounds.”
The deliberate mischaracterization of Israel as a colonialist “settler” state is part of an anti-Semitic smear used to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist. According to the “working definition of anti-Semitism” provided by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) — a definition adopted and endorsed by the United States State Department under the Biden administration — this form of rhetoric is “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination,” an example of anti-Semitism. In addition, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement has been criticized by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), who have stated that “BDS advocates employ antisemitic rhetoric and narratives to isolate and demonize Israel.”
Earlier in the panel discussion, Hill also said that “our fates are bound up with one another,” that “at the analytical level we understand that we can’t dismantle white supremacy or imperialism ‘section by section,’ that these systems don’t have passports or visas, they don’t stop at borders, that these are international transnational movements,” and that there was “no way to stop a settler colonial movement in Palestine and not be mindful of its relationship to a settler colonial project in New Zealand or Australia or the United States.”
Hill then continued to imply a connection between systemic police racism and Israel.
“We’re literally engaged in intersectional struggles. One of the things that came up in the last few years with the movement for black lives was this question around police exchanges, just as one example. That U.S. police are being trained, some police departments are being trained in Israel, and some Israeli police are being trained in the United States,” said Hill.
After clarifying that this wasn’t to say that Israel taught America “how to be repressive or violent or kill black people,” Hill continued.
“There is something to be said about the rising authoritarianism, the expansion of a security state, the use of particular types of weaponry that we see both in Israel and the United States that speaks to a global system that we have to dismantle.”
Hill’s language closely aligns with common anti-Israel rhetoric which “falsely posits that counterterrorism trips and conferences organized by American Jewish organizations … facilitate a ‘deadly exchange’ of worst practices between U.S. and Israeli forces.” In a piece titled “I am the architect of the U.S.-Israel police exchange. Don’t believe the lies,” Steven Pomerantz rejects this argument, which is often promoted by “extremist organizations that oppose Israel’s right to exist, and amplified by institutionally anti-Semitic regimes like Iran’s.”
In 2018, Hill was fired by CNN as a contributor after footage was uncovered in which he called for Palestine to be “free from the river to the sea,” a pro-Palestinian slogan which seeks to achieve a “one-state solution” to the Israel-Palestinian conflict by replacing all of Israel with a Palestinian state.