Progressive commentator Katie Halper said Thursday that she was "censored and fired" by the media outlet The Hill over a segment defending Rep. Rashida Tlaib's recent comments on Israel.
Last week, Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in the US Congress, spoke at an event hosted by American Muslims for Palestine. She described the links between the Palestinian struggle and others, such as Black Lives Matter, and called upon activists to be consistent with their political beliefs.
"I want you all to know that among progressives, it becomes clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values yet back Israel's apartheid government, and we will continue to push back against this idea that you are 'progressive, except for Filastin,'" she said in the livestreamed event, using the Arabic word for Palestine.
While Tlaib's comments sparked outrage among American Jews, her characterization of Israel as an apartheid state - a label that mainstream human rights organizations have used to describe the government's grotesque treatment of Palestinians â garnered support from journalist Katie Halper.
Halper, who until Wednesday co-hosted "Rising" on The Hill's digital news channel, Hill TV, prepared a 12-minute video for a political soapbox segment of a show called "Radar," in which she elaborated on Tlaib's talking points using quotations from United Nations treaties and even former Israeli leaders to bolster the claim that Israel is an "apartheid state" akin to pre-1994 South Africa.
However, executives at the publication blocked the monologue from airing on the platform, an intervention that another Hill TV co-host, Ryan Grim of The Intercept, described as unprecedented for the show. When Halper tried to suggest changes, she was told on Wednesday that "we will not be needing you to appear on Rising tomorrow am."
"The bad news: I was censored and fired by The Hill over defending Rashida Tlaib & labeling Israeli apartheid "apartheid" The good news: I shot the censored video with an actually independent media outlet (see below)," Halper tweeted. The video was then hosted by New York-based news outlet BreakThrough News.
"I'm not a Jewish colleague of Tlaib, but I am a Jew and I am outraged. Not by Tlaib, but by the attacks on Tlaib. Rashida Tlaib is saying that Israel is an apartheid state and that people who claim to have progressive values cannot support an apartheid state. No matter how loose a definition of progressive we use, it certainly excludes supporting a racist apartheid system," Halper said in the video.
"So the question we should be asking ourselves as progressives and Americans and some of us as Jews is not how to excoriate Rashida Tlaib for pointing out the obvious, or how to turn all criticisms of Israel as challenges to Israel's right to exist or as expressions of antisemitism. Rather, the question to ask is how an apartheid-free Israel would look."