US Congress declares Palestinian slogan ‘anti-Semitic’ — RT World News

US Congress declares Palestinian slogan ‘anti-Semitic’ — RT World News

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to condemn the chant “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” as hate speech. 

The slogan, which dates to the 1960s, calls for a Palestinian state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Israel has argued that this implicitly denies its right to exist in the same territory. 

“Our resolution makes it clear that the slogan ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ is antisemitic and calls for the total eradication of the Jewish, democratic state of Israel and the annihilation of the Jewish people,” said one of its sponsors, Congressman Josh Gottheimer.

Congress has the responsibility to “condemn disgusting, divisive, and dehumanizing chants” and fight against “prejudice and hate,” added Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat. The other two sponsors were New York Republican Anthony D’Esposito and Florida Democrat Jared Moskowitz.

The resolution was adopted by 377 votes in favor to 44 opposed. Only one Republican, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, voted against it citing constitutional grounds. The other 43 nays were from the “progressive” faction of the Democrats.

The first amendment of the US Constitution prohibits Congress from making any laws limiting the freedom of speech, press or assembly. The US therefore has no “hate speech” laws or legal grounds for government censorship.

The recent escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has presented a domestic political challenge for the ruling Democrats, as they count on votes from both liberal Jews and Muslim immigrants.

Gottheimer noted that prominent Jewish organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Jewish Committee have condemned the chant as anti-Semitic. His statement also mentioned that the ADL has recorded “nearly 9,000 antisemitic incidents” in the US in 2023 – mostly after October 7 – and the highest number since 1979, when such record-keeping began. According to the ADL, chants and slogans count as “incidents.”

October 7 was when Hamas, the Gaza-based militant Palestinian group, raided nearby Israeli military bases and villages, killing over 1,100 Israelis and taking over 200 hostage. West Jerusalem responded by declaring war on the group and invading Gaza. The military operation has turned much of the enclave into rubble and claimed the lives of over 33,000 Palestinians over the past six months, according to local authorities.

Israel’s ruling Likud party has its own version of the slogan in its platform, declaring that “between the Sea and the Jordan, there will only be Israeli sovereignty,” which explicitly rejects any Palestinian statehood in the West Bank.

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