Professor Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired from his position at CNNlast fall after he called for a "free Palestine from the River to the sea" at the United Nations, drew renewed criticism for dismissing the identity of Middle Eastern Jews.
Responding to an article in the Los Angeles Times by Israeli journalist Hen Mazzig in which Mazzig argued against the notion that Israel was nothing but an outpost of “privileged and powerful white Europeans," Hill wrote on his Facebook account that Mizrachi Jews were an "identity category" that was "detached from Palestinian identity."
Mazzig, whose mother came from Iraq and whose father came from North Africa, noted that Jews of Middle Eastern descent make up a larger percentage of Israel's population than Jews of European descent today.
Hill responded that “What [Mazzig] ignores, however is the racial and political project that transformed Palestinian Jews (who lived peacefully with other Palestinians) into the 20th century identity category of ‘Mizrachi’ as a means of detaching them from Palestinian identity.”
In saying that 'Mizrachi' Jewish identity was invented in the 20th century to sever Jewish identity from Palestinian identity, Hill seemed to include the Jewish communities of Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa outside of the boundaries of the British Mandate for Palestine.
Mazzig later shared posts from an exchange he and Hill engaged in over their differing views on the identity of Mizrachi Jews, including a post where Hill wrote “I literally study Yemeni and Moroccan Jews for a living.”
"So I’m just gonna go die, as he knows more about Middle Eastern and North African Jews in Israel then Hen Mazzig," Mazzig wrote in response.
Jimena, an organization founded by former Jewish refugees from Arab nations to achieve universal recognition of the expulsion of 850,000 Jews by Arab and Muslim nations across the Middle East, accused Hill of "erasing" the voices of Mizrachi Jews.
"Marc Lamont Hill categorically defines our Mizrachi identities and experiences by speaking over us and for us because he “studies us” for a living. Nothing new here, yet another non-representative ‘social justice’ activist who erases Mizrachi voices to assert an anti-Israel agenda,” Jimena wrote on Twitter.