Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) retweeted a post over the weekend in honor of “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” that read, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” before deleting the text which implied that “Palestine” rests between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, leaving no room for the current State of Israel.
After deleting the embarrassing text, the radical legislator replaced it with a message saying she was thinking of her family in the West Bank.
“Thinking of my sity Muftieh and family in Palestine today. From Detroit to Gaza, we will always fight against oppression and inequality,” she wrote.
The deleted phrase was originated by Palestinian nationalists in the 1960s, when the entire Palestinian movement sought Israel’s elimination and was later adopted by Islamists, including the Hamas terrorist group.
The original retweet was captured by one Twitter user, who added, “Tell me again how Rashida Tlaib is not a raving antisemite.”
Tell me again how Rashida Tlaib is not a raving antisemite. pic.twitter.com/lHFzbBmrBm
— Claire Voltaire (@Claire_Voltaire) November 30, 2020
A wave of condemnations was quick to follow.
“Did she finally go too far?” asked the Los Angeles Jewish Journal.
“There is no room for anti-Semitism in the halls of Congress,” wrote Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA). “I call on @SpeakerPelosi to remove Rep. Tlaib from her congressional committees immediately.”
“Rashida Tlaib’s repetition of a slogan calling for the elimination of the State of Israel is immoral and reprehensible,” wrote William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “She does great dishonor to the United States Congress by promoting odious views that deny the right of the Jewish people to self-determination.”
“From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free – code for eradicating the State of Israel and its millions of Jews,” elaborated StopAntisemitism.org. “Reminder – this is a sitting U.S. Congresswoman.”
Rashida Tlaib RT's out the same message that got Marc Lamont Hill canned from CNN.
From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free – code for eradicating the State of Israel and its millions of Jews.
Reminder – this is a sitting U.S. Congresswoman pic.twitter.com/zEWOptrGPW
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) November 30, 2020
The progressive Democratic Majority for Israel also had criticism for Tlaib, stating that “calling for the destruction of Israel is immoral” while clarifying that the slogan she repeated was unambiguous.
“@RashidaTlaib is not just opposed to Israeli control of the West Bank — this slogan means she sees the entire State of Israel as illegitimate and wants it eliminated,” the group wrote. “That’s an immoral and reprehensible position.”
.@RashidaTlaib is not just opposed to Israeli control of the West Bank — this slogan means she sees the entire State of Israel as illegitimate and wants it eliminated. That’s an immoral and reprehensible position. pic.twitter.com/ldJmAZ0Fsv
— Democratic Majority for Israel (@DemMaj4Israel) November 30, 2020
Even the human rights advocacy group B’nai Brith had harsh words for the congresswoman.
“How outrageous for a sitting Congresswoman, @RepRashida Tlaib, to tweet ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,’ a well-known call for elimination of the Jewish State,” the group wrote. “With her since deleted tweet, [Tlaib] is well aware of [the] message behind this call for Israel’s demise.”
How outrageous for a sitting Congresswoman, @RepRashida Tlaib, to tweet “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a well-known call for elimination of the Jewish State. With her since deleted tweet, Tliab is well aware of message behind this call for Israel’s demise. pic.twitter.com/naqczbD6jE
— B'nai B'rith Int’l (@BnaiBrith) December 1, 2020
“Disgraceful,” wrote Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) who is running against the anti-Israel Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock. “No wonder @ReverendWarnock has your full support — and the support of the Squad. He’s bashed Israel for years, calling it an ‘apartheid state’ & celebrating anti-Semite Jeremiah Wright.”
“I will ALWAYS stand with Israel,” she added.
“Instead of acknowledging the 850,000 Jews exiled from the Middle East, on #JewishRefugeeDay Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted out a slogan calling for the mass murder of Jews in Israel,” wrote activist Hen Mazzig. “If you can’t support Palestinians without calling for genocide, maybe you shouldn’t be in Congress.”
“US Congresswoman Tlaib retweets code calling for Jewish state’s demise,” wrote the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group dedicated to defending the safety of Jews worldwide. “But millions of American citizens are free & proud to support strong alliance [between] our great democracies & will continue to defend flourishing Democratic State of Israel & her 9 million+ Jewish & Arab citizens.”
“A Member of Congress, @RashidaTlaib, has endorsed Israel’s end,” wrote CEO of the American Jewish Committee David Harris. “Let that sink in. She’s saying Israel — a country w/ 9+ million people, world’s only Jewish-majority nation, UN member since 1949, key US ally & thriving democracy — should disappear. Beyond appalling!”
Some responses went even further in their condemnation.
“Rashida is a raging anti-Semite (Jew Hater),” wrote Republican Congressional Candidate Bryan Leib. “She’s going to feel the legal wrath of the Jewish people during her second term. We’ve had enough! Enough is enough!”
“I’m calling on House Republicans to draft a resolution condemning Rashida Tlaib for calling for the genocide of the Jewish people in Israel,” he added. ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ is a call for genocide!”
Leib also called out Jewish groups for their silence.
“Why won’t any of the left leaning Jewish organizations speak out regarding Rashida Tlaib’s latest attack on Israel?” he asked.
I'm calling on House Republicans to draft a resolution condemning Rashida Tlaib for calling for the genocide of the Jewish people in Israel.
— Bryan E. Leib 🇺🇸 (@Bryan_E_Leib) November 30, 2020
Zionist Organization of America head Morton Klein called for Tlaib’s peers to express their condemnation.
“Rashida Tlaib called for the destruction of the sovereign UN member Jewish State by stating ‘from the river to the sea Palestine will be free,’ he wrote. “Tlaib must be condemned by her peers in Congress. The ugly Jew hater also says boycotting Israel is the same as boycotting Nazi Germany.”
Rashida Tlaib called for the destruction of the sovereign UN member Jewish State by stating “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free.”Tlaib must be condemned by her peers in Congress. The ugly Jew hater also says boycotting Israel is the same as boycotting Nazi Germany.
— Morton Klein (@MortonAKlein7) November 30, 2020
Tlaib also received some support from liberal author and noted Israel critic Peter Beinart, who did his best to reinterpret and defend Tlaib’s now-deleted message.
“I get why many Jews find [the] slogan ‘Palestine from River to Sea’ frightening,” the CNN political commentator admitted. “Some have used it to disregard Jewish rights (1st Hamas charter, for instance). But @RashidaTlaib has been clear that Jews + Palestinians deserve equality. Suggesting otherwise is a smear.”
Beinart reiterated Tlaib’s intention of spreading equality, despite Tlaib herself removing the original message.
“@RashidaTlaib supports 1 state where Jews + Palestinians live equally, under the same law,” he wrote. “Why is that less moral that the current 1 state: Where millions of Palestinians lack citizenship, due process, free movement + the right to vote for the govt that controls their lives?”
I get why many Jews find slogan "Palestine from River to Sea" frightening. Some have used it to disregard Jewish rights (1st Hamas charter, for instance). But @RashidaTlaib has been clear that Jews + Palestinians deserve equality. Suggesting otherwise is a smear https://t.co/2YXZCdcbV7
— Peter Beinart (@PeterBeinart) December 1, 2020
Beinart’s tweets drew a host of negative reactions.
“Nothing to see here,” wrote international human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky. “Just Peter Beinart defending @RashidaTlaib’s calls for genocide against #Israel!”
Ostrovsky also noted the inherent hypocrisy.
“It’s only natural that Peter Beinart goes from calling for the destruction of the Jewish state (#Israel), to full-on apologist for the #Iran regime,” he added.
“Friendly reminder that self-loathers like Peter are a small minority of the Jewish diaspora in America,” assured Bryan Leib.
“According to polling, most Palestinians reject Rep. Tlaib’s proposal,” wrote senior policy analyst Shiri Moshe. “They don’t want 1 state where Jews and Arabs live equally. They prefer ‘regaining all of historical Palestine for the Palestinians.’ Why are you constantly trying to speak over them, Peter?”
“Actually, Rep. Tlaib supports a Middle East where Jews are relegated to being second-class citizens — again,” she added. “She denies Jews their right to self-determination, while supporting that right for Palestinians. And you’re trying to help her legitimize that prejudiced ideology.”
Actually, Rep. Tlaib supports a Middle East where Jews are relegated to being second-class citizens — again.
She denies Jews their right to self-determination, while supporting that right for Palestinians. And you're trying to help her legitimize that prejudiced ideology. https://t.co/ajIDHd0ijw
— Shiri Moshe (@shirimoshe) December 1, 2020
“Are there other cases where millions of people who live in a country are told by a US member of Congress that their state will be removed and forced into another country…say like ordering India and Pakistan together, or Kosovo back to be part of Serbian-led Yugoslavia?” asked Seth Frantzman, the executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis.
“Rashida & Peter are justifyin the potential genocidal elimination of the only Jewish state in the world,” wrote Dr. Ariel Cohen, a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council Eurasia Center and a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. “There were Jews in the 20th century who were forced to collaborate with Nazis. Nobody forces Peter Beinart to collaborate w/those who want to destroy Israel. He volunteers.”
“Israel exists,” proclaimed columnist Caroline Glick. “It is the largest Jewish community in the world and the center of Jewish life worldwide.”
“@PeterBeinart and his buddy @RashidaTlaib seek its annihilation,” she added. “That makes both of them anti-Jewish bigots, Beinart’s Jewish heritage notwithstanding.”
Israel exists. It is the largest Jewish community in the world and the center of Jewish life worldwide. @PeterBeinart and his buddy @RashidaTlaib seek its annihilation. That makes both of them anti-Jewish bigots, Beinart's Jewish heritage notwithstanding. https://t.co/EZJ8ADvDIc
— Caroline Glick (@CarolineGlick) December 2, 2020
Tlaib is scheduled to participate in a December 15 panel co-sponsored by the radical IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace groups, among others, under the banner “Dismantling Antisemitism, Winning Justice,” though some have expressed their reservations at having Tlaib speak on matters pertaining to what qualifies as antisemitism.
“Criminals don’t decide what a crime is,” says Director of Combat Anti-Semitism Sacha Dratwa. “With the same rationale, anti-Semites can’t determine what Jew-hatred is.”
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.