Netroots speaker: Talking about networks as "Zionist organizations" isn't anti-Semitic

In a vacuum, maaaaybe. At a conference where T-shirts equating Zionism with racism sell like hot cakes and at a dais with “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have to go” signs attached to the table? Come on, man. Marc Lamont Hill slapped back at Jewish Insider’s Ben Jacobs for reporting on his Netroots Nation advice to progressive activists about their career choices. If you want to be a journalist, Hill advised, you have to watch out for the trap of working for “Zionist organizations” if you don’t want to collaborate with Zionist messaging.

And just for example, Hill offered a few outlets in this panel on “embedding Palestinian rights in the 2020 agenda”:

In response to a question from the audience, Hill described the choices faced by young journalists when they tell stories about Palestinians.

“They’re like, I want to work for Fox, or I want to work for ABC or NBC or whoever. I want to tell these stories,” he said. “You have to make choices about where you want to work. And if you work for a Zionist organization, you’re going to get Zionist content. And no matter how vigorous you are in the newsroom, there are going to be two, three, four, 17, or maybe one powerful person — not going to suggest a conspiracy — all news outlets have a point of a view. And if your point of view competes with the point of view of the institution, you’re going to have challenges.”

Hill took to Twitter to rebut Jacobs after Yashar Ali picked up on them:

Hill isn’t exactly a font of credibility on this. He got fired from CNN (a notable omission on his list) for mouthing a Palestinian eliminationist-propaganda slogan, which he then denied meant what it clearly means to Palestinians. He’s lauded Louis Farrakhan and defended the Nation of Islam leader against condemnations of his anti-Semitism.

With that context and in the context of the question, it certainly seems as though Jacobs got the message sent, regardless of intent. For even more context, Jacobs describes the environment at Netroots Nation:

Other panelists on Friday seemed to imply a desire to eliminate the State of Israel entirely. Noura Erekat, a professor at George Mason University, proclaimed “the whole land is occupied” and said those “still having conversations about a two-state solution are either ignorant or malicious.”

Erekat also described Hawaii as occupied and discussed an “explicit project” led by Ashkenazi Jews in Israel to avoid “sully[ing] the blood line with becoming dark and oriental” by mixing with Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews.

The Netroots Nation summit also included a training session on “making Palestine part of the progressive agenda,” where Israel was described as helping to drive the “environmental crisis” due to its role “driving the profits of the petrochemical companies and the weapons industry.”

Er … aren’t there neighboring countries that have a lot more involvement in the “petrochemical companies”? And then, of course, there was the merchandising of the conference in regard to Zionism. This T-shirt puts it on par with every social ill imaginable:

Readers can watch Hill’s remarks in the full context of the panel and the event and judge for themselves whether listing American media organizations in the same breath as warning against working for Zionists amounts to anti-Semitism. One can’t blame Jacobs or Jewish Insider for picking up on the vibe. Neither can anyone else be blamed for noticing that strong vibe from the progressive movement.