Al Jazeera host and CUNY professor Marc Lamont Hill slammed the media for “framing” Hamas as terrorists as a way to delegitimize the group instead of calling it a “government organization” despite its control of Gaza.
Last week, Hill appeared on Briahna Joy Gray’s “Bad Faith” podcast after he hosted a Hamas spokesperson on his Al Jazeera English (AJE) program “UpFront.”
Hill suggested Hamas would be willing to speak with other news organizations but that the media refuses to do so because of the group’s terrorist status.
“I’m not convinced that they’re unwilling to talk to these other networks. It seems to me that other corporate media outlets have made the decision that they don’t want to be in conversation with them, and part of why is because they’ve decided to frame them as a terrorist network,” Hill said.
“And when you have Netanyahu and others saying that they’re no different than… ISIS, then it becomes- you wouldn’t do an exclusive with ISIS on CNN so they’re not going to do one with Hamas,” Hill continued. “And it’s part of a broader project, I think, of framing Hamas not as a government organization – even if you think that what happened on October 7 was an act of terrorism – by framing them as a terrorist organization rather than a government, rather than a democratically-elected government and/or political party, it makes it easy to avoid political and diplomatic solutions.”
Hill repeatedly insisted he was not a supporter of Hamas but said he understands “what happens when you take away people’s political options, and you isolate them.”
Oct. 7 was the deadliest attack on Jewish people since the Holocaust, as Hamas invaded Israel and killed at least 1,400 soldiers and civilians including women, children and the elderly.
Hundreds more were kidnapped and taken into Gaza.
Most news organizations in America have referred to Hamas as a terrorist organization, but other foreign outlets, like the BBC initially, refused to do so.
BBC’s world affairs editor John Simpson explained to viewers, “Terrorism is a loaded word, which people use about an outfit they disapprove of morally. It’s simply not the BBC’s job to tell people who to support and who to condemn – who are the good guys and who are the bad guys… We don’t take sides. We don’t use loaded words like ‘evil’ or ‘cowardly’. We don’t talk about ‘terrorists’.”
Following overwhelming backlash, the British broadcaster was forced to do an about-face and acknowledge Hamas as a terrorist organization rather than referring to the group as “militants.”
Hill was fired from CNN in 2018 when he called for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea,” an expression widely seen as a declaration for the elimination of Israel, during a speech at the United Nations. He addressed the controvsery on the podcast with Gray.
“The people who were critical of me would argue that I was echoing a specific chant from Hamas, who, when they were formed in 1987, were saying, ‘We don’t support a two-state solution.’ Right? ‘We’re a liberation organization, and we want all of historic Palestine to be returned to the Palestinian people,’ which was, frankly, the default position of the Arab world between 1948 and 1967, right, was that all of historic Palestine would be returned to Arabs,” Hill told Gray.
“When Hamas says… ‘from the river to the sea,’ for them, the argument is if they’re calling for all the land to come back then that has to mean all Jews are being pushed into the sea, that all Jews must be killed in order for this to happen. That’s their analysis of Hamas. Now … when I say, ‘Free Palestine from river to the sea,’ I wasn’t echoing the Hamas charter. When you go to any ‘Free Palestine’ rally, when you go to a Palestinian rights rally, you’re going to hear ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,’ … these aren’t calls to kill Jews. These are calls for Palestine and Palestinians to have freedom, safety, dignity and self-determination in all areas of historic Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea,” he claimed.
“Why is it important to say that entire region? Well, because those in the West Bank need the occupation to end. Those in Gaza need the effective occupation to end. They need the siege to end as well,” Hill said.
“So, ‘from the river to the sea’ is a call for justice in all the regions of historic Palestine. It’s not a Hamas call,” Hill continued. “It would be like if you said ‘Black power,’ and somebody says, ‘Well, I can pull up the new Black Panther Party’s statements on, you know, killing White people’… and they say ‘Black power,’ and therefore Briahna is echoing a new Black Panther Party call.’”
“Most people I know who are calling for ‘the river to the sea’ are calling for, not the enforcement of Hamas’ charter… I haven’t met anybody who thinks that,” he added.
Back in 2018 when he initially faced backlash, Hill wrote, “In my speech, I talked about the need to return to the pre-1967 borders, to give full rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel, and to allow right of return. No part of this is a call to destroy Israel. It’s absurd on its face.”
Neither Hill nor Al Jazeera English immediately responded to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.
Several members of the legacy media previously worked at Al Jazeera, the Qatar-run news organization known for its hostile coverage of Israel.
Among them are MSNBC weekend hosts Ali Velshi, Ayman Mohyeldin and Mehdi Hasan, all three of whom made headlines over their anti-Israel stance during the network’s coverage of the aftermath of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks.
Notably, Hasan previously hosted “UpFront” prior to Hill, who took over the AJE program in 2021.