Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., on Friday defended a controversial phrase being used by anti-Israel protesters across the country, which one antisemitism watchdog defined as “code for eradicating” the largely Jewish nation.
“From the river to the sea is an aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction, or hate. My work and advocacy is always centered in justice and dignity for all people no matter faith or ethnicity,” the far-left “Squad” member wrote in post on X following a video she posted earlier in the day that included the phrase.
The Anti-Defamation League, an advocacy group that combats antisemitism, ripped Tlaib for a previous use of the phrase in 2020. “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,” the group wrote on X, then referred to as Twitter.
The phrase has also received sharp criticism from others, including former counterterrorism expert Nathan Sales, who said last month that when protestors chant “Palestine from the river to the sea,” they are really calling for the “extermination of the Jewish state.”
“They think that Israel shouldn’t exist at all,” Nathan Sales told Fox News’ “Sunday Night in America.” “This is exterminationist rhetoric and our First Amendment means that we have to tolerate this kind of speech, but the antidote for that kind of abhorrent speech is more speech. We need to expose what these Hamas sympathizers are really all about.”
The video Tlaib posted to X before defending the phrase included demands for President Biden to support a cease-fire to stop “the genocide of the Palestinian people” or face electoral consequences in 2024.
In the video, Tlaib condemned Biden’s declaration that the U.S. stands with Israel and opposes a cease-fire, telling him, “the majority of the American people are not with you on this one. #CeasefireNow.”
A multitude of X users found the post “disturbing,” and accused Tlaib of antisemitism. Others disputed her claim that most American’s don’t want to back Biden’s support for Israel, and some demanded she resign.
Fox News’ Maria Lencki and Gabriel Hayes contributed to this report.