House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries released a statement condemning a pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist slogan claiming it polarizes, divides, and incites violence.
The slogan in question, often used by pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist supporters, states, “From the river to the sea.” The slogan, which refers to Israeli land, is often followed up by protestors adding, “Palestine will be free.”
Jeffries began his statement by noting a month had passed since Islamic militant group Hamas’ attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing over 1,400. The House Minority Leader, like others critical of Hamas’ attack, referred to the day as the “largest loss of Jewish life in one day since the Holocaust.”
“People of goodwill should unequivocally condemn this vile terrorism, as well as the deeply disturbing rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia in America,” Jeffries wrote. “We must also respect the right of a sovereign country like Israel to defend its citizens while making clear that the international rules of war related to Palestinian civilians in Gaza should be meticulously followed.”
The House Minority Leader affirmed Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and Democratic state as their “ancestral homeland.”
“Echoing slogans that are widely understood as calling for the complete destruction of Israel – such as from the River to the Sea – does not advance progress toward a two-state solution,” he continued. “Instead, it unacceptably risks further polarization, division and incitement to violence. There are millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who legitimately aspire to peaceful self-determination and economic dignity. The continued presence of Hamas undermines that cause, further making clear that the ongoing effort to decisively defeat this brutal terrorist regime must succeed.”
BREAKING: Hakeem Jeffries just released a statement condemning the phrase "from the river to the sea" saying it "risks further polarization, division, and incitement to violence."
He makes no mention of the fact that Rashida Tlaib used it. pic.twitter.com/NtWvISUasO
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) November 7, 2023
Jeffries noted the Biden administration was working to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinian citizens caught between Israel and Hamas’ military conflict “through no fault of their own.”
“This is an important step in the midst of the fog of war, where thousands of civilians have tragically been killed and hundreds of hostages remain in peril,” Jeffries wrote. “Congress must now do its part by passing emergency legislation that provides support for Israel and Ukraine as well as the resources needed to deliver humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians.”
The House Minority Leader stressed the importance of language used by public officials serving in Congress: “words we choose matter.”
“It is my strong belief that we must all take care to respect each other personally, even when strongly disagreeing on matters of policy or legislation,” he wrote. “We should be able to agree to disagree on domestic or foreign policy issues, without being disagreeable with each other or the President of the United States.”
If the end goal following the defeat of Hamas and safe return of all hostages is a just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinian people, as I believe it should be, ad hominem attacks against colleagues will never accomplish that objective. The searing moment of turbulence in our society and throughout the world calls for us to tackle the challenges we confront in a serious, sober and substantive manner.
“Let us all recommit to doing just that for the good of everyone,” he concluded.
Some critics of Jeffries noted the House Minority Leader did not reference Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who has previously invoked the pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist slogan, in his statement. Tlaib was the focus of a censorship resolution filed by Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene nearly two weeks ago.
Greene’s initial resolution, which suggested Tlaib engaged in “insurrection” during her presence at the Capitol during the pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist demonstration in October, failed a House floor vote last week. The Georgia representative changed language in the measure and reintroduced the resolution to note Tlaib engaged in “illegal occupation” rather than “insurrection.”
The reintroduced resolution passed a House floor vote yesterday with a vote of 234 to 188.