Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib spoke at a rally on Tuesday in Washington D.C. where other fringe far-leftists called for the elimination of the state of Israel.
“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” the activists chanted. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
Video from the event showed that Tlaib was in attendance and spoke.
Tlaib has been frequently criticized for her antisemitic behaviour, and was blasted this week in a series of tweets by a top Israeli ambassador, Gilad Erdan, for using words the ambassador described as encouraging terror.
Left-wing Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote that “when protesters chant ‘Palestine will be free from the river to the sea,’ it is appropriately interpreted by most people as a call for the erasure of Israel – and it is anti-Semitic.”
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) also released a statement on the antisemitic chant, saying that it was a “catch-all phrase symbolizing Palestinian control over the entire territory of Israel’s borders, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”
The AJC added:
“From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free” is a common call-to-arms for pro-Palestinian activists. It calls for the establishment of a State of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, erasing the State of Israel and its people. It is also a rallying cry for terrorist groups and their sympathizers, from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to Hamas, which called for Israel’s destruction in its original governing charter in 1988.
Sometimes the Palestinian flag emoji is used as shorthand for this phrase to spam social media posts related to Jews, whether having to do with Israel or not. There is of course nothing antisemitic about advocating for Palestinians to have their own state. However, calling for the elimination of the Jewish state, or suggesting that the Jews alone do not have the right to self-determination, is antisemitic.
In Tlaib’s rant, she made absurd claims that included the false claim that Israel was engaged in “ethnic cleansing” and that everything was “interconnected.”
The rally took place after the Palestinian terror organization Hamas fired hundreds of rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing at least five and wounding more than a hundred. Israel responded to the attack with strikes that have killed top terrorist leaders in Hamas, one of the groups behind the assault on Israel.
The central Israeli city of Lod, which has a mixed Jewish and Arab population, also experienced intense rioting on Tuesday night. Three synagogues and numerous shops were reportedly set on fire as well as dozens of cars, according to the Times of Israel. “Some residents reported power was cut in their homes and petrol bombs were thrown through their windows, Channel 12 news said, and police acknowledged having to escort some residents from a community centre to their homes as Arab mobs marauded in the streets.”
Lod Mayor Yair Revivo compared the acts of terrorism to Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, in 1938 where Nazis in Germany killed nearly 100 Jews, torched synagogues, homes, schools and businesses.
“This is Kristallnacht in Lod,” Revivo said on Channel 12. “I have called on the prime minister to declare a state of emergency in Lod. To call in the IDF. To impose a curfew. To restore quiet… There is a failure of governance… This is a giant incident — an Intifada of Arab Israelis. All the work we have done here for years [on coexistence] has gone down the drain.”
“All of Israel should know, this is a complete loss of control,” Revivo added, sounding desperate. “This is unthinkable. Synagogues are being burned. Hundreds of cars set alight. Hundreds of Arab thugs are roaming the streets… Civil war has erupted in Lod… The Orthodox-nationalist community here has guns. I’m imploring them to go back home but they understandably want to protect their homes. Petrol bombs are being thrown into [Jewish] homes. The situation is incendiary.”