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Resolution denouncing ‘From the River to the Sea’ chant as antisemitic approved despite SQUAD objections

Resolution denouncing 'From the River to the Sea' chant as antisemitic approved despite SQUAD objections

Resolution denouncing ‘From the River to the Sea’ chant as antisemitic approved despite SQUAD objections. The House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning the pro-Palestinian activist chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” as antisemitic, with 377 votes in favor and 44 against. The resolution, introduced by Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY), aimed to formally criticize the phrase, which has been used by Hamas and other anti-Israel actors as a call to arms against the Jewish nation.

The vote split the Democratic Party, with progressives like Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Cori Bush (D-MO), and House Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) voting against the measure. One Republican, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), also voted against it.

The phrase “From the river to the sea” has been used by pro-Palestinian activists to call for the liberation of Palestine from Israeli occupation. However, critics argue that it implies the destruction of Israel and has been used by antisemitic groups.

Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress, has faced criticism for her use of the phrase, including a bipartisan censure in November. However, she remains unapologetic, stating that the phrase is an “aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction, or hate.” She has argued that the phrase is a call for justice and equality for Palestinians, and that it should not be misconstrued as a call for violence against Jews.

The resolution is part of a list of 17 measures aimed at affirming support for Israel and condemning Iran, which launched airstrikes on Israel over the weekend. The vote marks a dramatic escalation in Middle East tensions and highlights the ongoing debate over Israel-Palestine relations in the US Congress.

The passage of the resolution has sparked controversy, with some arguing that it stifles free speech and criticism of Israeli government actions. Others argue that it is necessary to combat rising antisemitism and protect Jewish communities.

The vote all lso highlights the growing divide within the Democratic Party on Israel-Palestine issues. Progressives like Tlaib and Omar have been vocal in their criticism of Israeli government actions and have called for greater accountability and human rights protections for Palestinians. More moderate Democrats, however, have been more hesitant to criticize Israel and have emphasized the need for a two-state solution.

The resolution is likely to have little practical impact, but it serves as a symbolic statement of congressional support for Israel and opposition to antisemitism. However, the debate surrounding the resolution highlights the ongoing challenges in addressing Israel-Palestine issues in a way that balances free speech, criticism of government actions, and protection of vulnerable communities.

“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,” Tlaib said at the time.

In the midst of escalating tensions in the Middle East, the vote serves as a reminder of the complex and deeply divisive nature of Israel-Palestine relations. As the US Congress continues to grapple with these issues, it remains to be seen how they will balance competing interests and priorities in the pursuit of peace and justice in the region.

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