CAMERA Op-Ed: Marc Lamont Hill and the Soviet Union’s Ongoing War against Israel

On Nov. 28, 2018, Temple University professor and then-CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill advocated the elimination of the Jewish state of Israel in his prepared remarks before the United Nations. The pundit’s decision to use a chant employed by genocidal terror groups like Hamas received widespread media coverage and likely prompted CNN to sever ties. It also received widespread applause from Hill’s audience: the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP).

A Cold War relic, CEIRPP continues the Soviet Union’s war against Jewish self-determination. The Committee remains at the forefront of international efforts to delegitimize and attack the Jewish state.

According to Gil Kapen, a special adviser to the American Jewish International Relations Institute (AJIRI), CEIRPP and its sister U.N. organization, the Division for Palestinian Rights, are used for “organizing conferences and disseminating information condemning Israel, and otherwise spreading one-sided propaganda consistent with the most extreme Palestinian positions.” Indeed, it was founded for that express purpose.

CEIRPP was established on Nov. 10, 1975 after the U.N. General Assembly passed Resolution 3376, which was backed by the Soviet Union and co-sponsored by its satellite state, East Germany. That same day, both communist powers successfully advocated for Resolution 3375, which gave Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) observer status at the U.N. a mere two years after Arafat approved the murder of the U.S. Ambassador to Sudan, Cleo A. Noel Jr in March 1973.

Most infamously, the U.N. also passed the Soviet-inspired Resolution 3379, which equated Zionism—Jewish self-determination—with “racism and racial discrimination.”

As the historian Jeffrey Herf detailed in his 2016 book Undeclared Wars with Israel:

“The resolutions of Nov. 10, 1975, made Israel a pariah state at the U.N. They placed the language of ‘inalienable rights’ and the search for a ‘just and lasting peace’ in the service of the PLO’s ongoing terrorist campaign waged against Israel.”

The U.N., the historian Gil Troy noted, “was building an institutional infrastructure” for an “ideological assault” against the Jewish states very right to exist. That assault was being led by the Soviet Union.

The USSR initially supported Israel’s recreation in 1947, but this likely had more to do with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s desire to stick a finger in the eye of Mandate Palestine’s rulers, the British. Soviet Jewry’s enthusiasm for the new country alarmed USSR officials. Stalin soon reversed course and initiated a policy of unmitigated hostility towards Zionism, which was portrayed as part of an imperialist plot to attack the Soviet Union.

Soviet anti-Zionism and antisemitism rose significantly in the years leading up to Stalin’s death in March 1953. Those of “Jewish origin” were singled out in a 1952 trial of the “Leadership of the Anti-State Conspiratorial Centre” in communist Czechoslovakia and Jews were purged from top positions in the Soviet Union.

Most infamously, in the winter of 1952-53, Stalin and the Soviet leadership concocted a non-existent “Jewish doctors plot” which denounced innocent doctors as “monsters and murderers” working for a “’corrupt Jewish bourgeois nationalist organization’ in the service of Anglo-American relations,” according to the historian Christopher Andrew who examined KGB archives smuggled out by Soviet defector Vasili Mitrohkhin in 1992.

At the time of Stalin’s death, the Soviet press was publishing material warning of Jewish “plots” and “conspiracies” and rumors were spreading that the autocrat was even planning to round up and deport Soviet Jewry to far-off places of exile.

In addition to arming and advising Israel’s Arab enemies, Stalin and his successors began to use international forums to attack Israel. This policy later dovetailed with Soviet efforts to influence new countries amid the decolonization that followed World War II.

In the wake of the 1967 Six-Day War, Moscow began to restrict immigration to Israel and, according to Markus Wolf, a leading East German intelligence operative, the KGB increasingly “fixated on Israel as an enemy.”

Like their Soviet sponsors, East German officials hoped that the U.N. General Assembly resolutions of Nov. 10, 1975 would intensify “the international isolation of the aggressor Israel” and they placed “special importance” on CEIRPP. AJIRI’s founder, Ambassador Richard Shifter, has described how pro-Soviet countries like Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya and Fidel Castro’s Cuba hoped to use the resolutions and General Assembly to “embarrass the United States and delegitimize Israel.”

Indeed, in the years since the demise of the Soviet Union and East Germany, Cuba has continued to play a leading role in maintaining the U.N.’s anti-Zionism infrastructure.

Although CEIRPP claims to support a two-state solution, its actions say otherwise. As the journalist Ben Cohen has documented, the Committee, serviced since 1979 by the member states-funded Division for Palestinian Rights, has a history of hosting anti-Israel speakers.

Among them, Cohen noted, are “Rebecca Vilkomerson, the head of Jewish Voice for Peace— a rabidly anti-Zionist group allied with extremist and antisemitic American campus organizations, such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).” Zochrot, an Israeli NGO that supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) effort and which calls for a one-state solution, has also testified before CEIRPP—despite Zochrot’s reputation “for abusing and lampooning the Holocaust.”

Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Marc Lamont Hill was given an audience by CEIRPP. Among other actions, Hill has complained that Israel’s Iron Dome defense system against rockets “takes away all of Hamas’s military leverage” and advocated for convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh. Hill has also defended Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan who has, among other antisemitic utterances, called Adolf Hitler a “very great man.” Hill has described himself as “blessed” to spend time “learning, listening, laughing, and even head nodding to music” with a man that the ADL has described as “virtually synonymous with antisemitism.”

Hill’s exhortation for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea” is an explicit call for Israel’s elimination—a fact easily discerned from looking at a map. Yet, some media outlets, such as The Washington Post, omitted Hill’s previous statements and claimed that he was dismissed merely for “criticizing Israel.”

The Post followed up its report with a Dec. 5, 2018 Op-Ed by Noura Erakat that praised Hill’s speech as “bold” and lied about its meaning. As CAMERA has documented, Erakat has a history of whitewashing anti-Jewish violence (see, for example “Noura Erakat Rewrites Hamas and Rebrands ‘Return,’” June 8, 2018). Erakat sought to portray CNN’s decision to sever ties with Hill as an example of “disdain for advocacy on behalf of Palestine” which, she claims, was “particularly acute and targeted moderate black leaders.” The George Mason University professor not only praised Hill’s call for the elimination of Israel, she failed to address recent revelations of Hill heralding Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled or his use of a modern day blood libel.

Washington Post Global Opinion Editor Karen Attiah tweeted that she was “glad to have” Erakat’s piece. As CAMERA highlighted, last month Attiah made the very questionable decision to publish an Op-Ed by the leader of the Houthi militia, an anti-American, antisemitic proxy of Iran. The Houthi motto—“Death to Israel, Curse the Jews”—is openly antisemitic, as The Jerusalem Post noted.

Despite efforts by The Washington Post and others, history indicates that Hill knew what he was saying—perhaps he even anticipated that his comments calling for Israel’s elimination would be met with a standing ovation. Hill, who styles himself a “leading intellectual voice,” knew his audience and its purpose.


(Note: A slightly different version of this Op-Ed appeared in The Jerusalem Post on Dec. 9, 2018)


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