JTA — Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Democrat-Michigan, removed from her Twitter feed a retweet that said “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a phrase that has been associated with calls to wipe out Israel.
On November 29, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Tlaib retweeted a tweet from an account that featured the phrase accompanied by an image of a poster marking the day.
Tlaib, a Palestinian American who does not believe Israel should exist as a Jewish state and supports the pro-Palestinian boycott movement against the country, came under fire for the retweet from pro-Israel groups.
“Rashida Tlaib 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,” Democratic Majority for Israel said in a tweet. “That’s an immoral and reprehensible position.”
The phrase was originated by Palestinian nationalists in the 1960s, when the entire Palestinian movement sought Israel’s elimination. Mainstream Palestinian groups dropped the phrase after Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization recognized one another subsequent to the 1993 Oslo Accords, but it was then adopted by Islamists, including the Hamas terrorist group.
More recently, figures who call for Israel’s replacement through peaceful means have also adopted the phrase.
Thinking of my sity Muftieh and family in Palestine today. From Detroit to Gaza, we will always fight against oppression and inequality.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) November 30, 2020
Tlaib removed the retweet from her timeline, and replaced it with her own tweet of the poster crediting the artist and saying she marked the day by thinking of her family in the West Bank.
In January Tlaib retweeted then removed a tweet falsely blaming Israelis for killing a Palestinian child by throwing him into a well.
Tlaib retweeted a tweet by Hanan Ashrawi, a top Palestinian official, who was quote-tweeting an account, realSeifBitar, that accused Israeli settlers of kidnapping, assaulting and throwing into a well an eight-year-old child. “The heart just shatters,” Ashrawi said.
In fact the boy, Qais Abu Ramila, appears to have drowned accidentally in a reservoir of rainwater in eastern Jerusalem. Israeli first responders found him had tried to revive him.
Tlaib removed her retweet, and Ashrawi eventually apologized for “retweeting something that’s not fully verified.” Tlaib did not retweet the retraction.
On November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition British Mandate Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. The Zionist movement accepted the partition, and the date is marked in Israel in street names and educational curricula. Palestinians, who rejected the partition, mourn the date.