Spanish minister condemned after ending speech with ‘river to the sea’ call

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

A Spanish government minister has drawn allegations of antisemitism after sealing a speech about the war between Hamas and Israel by saying “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea.”

Both Israel’s embassy and the Federation of Spanish Jewish Communities condemn Labor and Economy Minister Yolanda Díaz, who also serves as second deputy prime minister in Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government, after she repeated the slogan in a filmed speech Wednesday. The Jewish group also slams fellow lawmaker Sira Rego, who wrote the slogan on X earlier this month.

“Instead of promoting the safety of Spanish Jews, they are encouraging hatred and rejection of them,” the Jewish umbrella group writes.

On X, the Israeli embassy in Madrid writes that it “completely rejects Yolanda Díaz’s statements.”

The slogan “is a clear call for the destruction of Israel, fomenting hate and violence. Antisemitic statements are incompatible with a democratic society and it is unacceptable coming from a deputy prime minister. We hope Spain will live up to its promise” to fight antisemitism, the post says.

In her speech, Diaz had accused Israel of barbarism and called for the European Union to be pressured “to end its agreements and treaties with Israel.”

Díaz and Rego are members of the far-left Sumar and United Left parties, respectively, which are coalition partners of Sanchez’s Socialist Party. Spain is one of three European countries, along with Ireland and Norway, that are preparing to recognize a Palestinian state within days, according to those governments’ announcements this week.

“From the river to the sea,” which references the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, is viewed by many Jews and others as antisemitic as it promotes a reality in which Israel does not exist as a Jewish homeland, leading some to see it as a call for ethnic cleansing or genocide against Israel’s Jews.

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