Congress Condemns Pro-Palestine Slogan as ‘Antisemitic’

by | Apr 17, 2024

Congress Condemns Pro-Palestine Slogan as ‘Antisemitic’

by | Apr 17, 2024

river to sea sign palestine protester

FILE PHOTO: A protester holds up a sign during a demonstration in London, UK, November 4, 2023. (Credit: Getty Images / Mark Kerrison)

US lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to condemn a popular pro-Palestinian slogan as “antisemitic,” with Rep. Thomas Massie the sole Republican to oppose the bill. The legislation claims the slogan “From the river to the sea…” is a “call to arms” and a rallying cry to “destroy Israel.”

The measure passed the House in a 377-44-1 vote on Tuesday, as Massie joined 43 progressives across the aisle to vote ‘no.’ Though Democratic Rep. Madeleine Dean broke ranks with other lawmakers with a ‘present’ vote, strong bipartisan support allowed the bill to easily sail through the lower chamber. 

The resolution declares that the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” – a chant commonly used by pro-Palestine activists around the world – is “antisemitic” and that “its use must be condemned.”

“The slogan… is an antisemitic call to arms with the goal of the eradication of the state of Israel, which is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea,” the bill reads, adding that the phrase “seeks to deny Jewish people the right to self-determination and calls for the removal of the Jewish people from their ancestral homeland.”

The legislation goes on to claim that “terrorist organizations and their sympathizers” have used the slogan as “rallying cry for action to destroy Israel and exterminate the Jewish people.”

The first half of the slogan – “From the river to the sea…” – has a long history even predating the state of Israel, once used both by Zionist and Arab factions seeking an independent state within historic Palestine. A longer version was adopted by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and later Hamas, and has since been used extensively by pro-Palestine activists across the political spectrum. 

Israel’s ruling Likud Party has also employed variations of the slogan in its own official documents, with the party’s founding charter declaring that “Between the sea and the Jordan [River] there will only be Israeli sovereignty,” explicitly denying the possibility of a future Palestinian state.

The phrase has since been removed from the party charter, though some Israeli politicians have continued to use it in public, as did then-Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar during a 2020 campaign speech. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who has vocally opposed the creation of a Palestinian state over the decades – recently told reporters that under “any future arrangement,” Tel Aviv would retain total control of “all territory west of the Jordan [River].”

Last November, Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib was censured by fellow lawmakers over her comments about Israel, as well as a video she posted online which showed protesters chanting the “river to the sea” slogan. At the time, she insisted the phrase was “an aspirational call for freedom” and did not promote “death, destruction or hate.”

Introduced last year by lawmakers from both major parties, the anti-slogan legislation quickly garnered bipartisan support, with the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Gregory Meeks, explaining that he voted ‘yes’ due to the “the danger of the phrase.”

“If you consider the geographic area of the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea to be exclusively Palestine, you are taking the Jewish state of Israel off the map,” he said.

About Will Porter

Will Porter is assistant news editor at the Libertarian Institute and a regular contributor at Find more of his work at Consortium News, ZeroHedge and RT.

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