CNN cuts ties with Marc Lamont Hill after Israel comments

CNN cut ties with contributor Marc Lamont Hill on Thursday after the Temple University professor made controversial comments regarding Israel at the United Nations. 

"Marc Lamont Hill is no longer under contract with CNN,” a CNN spokesperson told The Hill.

Hill had urged countries to boycott Israel in a speech at the U.N. on Wednesday, calling for a "free Palestine from the river to the sea."

“We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words but to commit to political action, grass-roots 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,” Hill said in his speech.

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The phrase "from the river to the sea" is a phrase used by anti-Israel terror groups, including Hamas, that have stated it wants to replace Israel with a Palestinian state that would extend from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Hill's use of the phrase sparked rapid criticism and outrage from a variety of sources, including the Anti-Defamation League and the National Council of Young Israel on Thursday.

Hill did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Thursday, he defended his speech in a series of tweets, writing, "I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech. I have spent my life fighting these things."

"My reference to 'river to the sea' was not a call to destroy anything or anyone," he added in another tweet. "It was a call for justice, both in Israel and in the West Bank/Gaza. The speech very clearly and specifically said those things."

"I genuinely believe in the arguments and principles that I shared in the speech," he wrote. "I also genuinely want peace, freedom, and security for everyone. These are not competing ideals and values."

Temple University, where Hill serves as a professor, told The Hill that his views are his own.

"Marc Lamont Hill has been quoted extensively over the last 24 hours," the university wrote in a statement. "Marc Lamont Hill does not represent Temple University and his views are his own.

"However, we acknowledge that he has a constitutionally protected right to express his opinion as a private citizen.”