For conservatives, many things about the “Squad” are concerning: the anti-American rhetoric, the support for socialism, the radical environmentalism. However, what I find most troubling is their disdain for our greatest ally, Israel.
Take Squad member Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. On Sunday, she retweeted a message containing a phrase that has long been associated with the elimination of Israel: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
According to a responding tweet by StopAntisemitism.org, this phrase, which got CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill fired from the network in 2018, is “code for eradicating the state of Israel and millions of Jews. Reminder — this is a sitting U.S. Congresswoman.”
In fact, “From the river to sea, Palestine will be free” has long been used to call for the annihilation of Israel, according to the Jewish Journal. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), a radical anti-Israel group, has used the phrase for decades. In exploring the anti-Semitism behind the phrase, writer Micha Danzig explained in the Jewish Journal:
“The Jihadist/Islamist Supremacist Hamas Charter, published in 1988, when Lamont Hill was barely 10 years old, expressly states in its preamble that ‘Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam obliterates it, just as it obliterated others before it.’ And, in Article 6, it says that Hamas ‘strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine….’ Since then, Hamas leaders, such as Khaled Mashaal, has repeatedly echoed the genocidal and eliminationist ‘river to the sea’ sentiments expressed by Abu Iyad, such as during his speech in Gaza in 2012, when he said: ‘Palestine is ours, from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on an inch of the land.’”
Tlaib shared the related image again in honor of “International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People,” tweeting, “Thinking of my sity Muftieh and family in Palestine today. From Detroit to Gaza, we will always fight against oppression and inequality.”
This is by no means the first time Tlaib has voiced the opinion that the land of Israel rightfully belongs to Palestinians. On her first day in office, an alteration was made to the map in her office, replacing Israel with Palestine.
Tlaib voiced her anti-Semitism again last week on the news that Joe Biden would likely nominate a Jewish man, Tony Blinken, for Secretary of State, responding, “So long as he doesn’t suppress my First Amendment right to speak out against Netanyahu’s racist and inhumane policies. The Palestinian people deserve equality and justice.”
The Washington Examiner called out Tlaib earlier this year for spreading “blood libel” when she retweeted a lie saying that Israel was responsible for the death of a Palestinian child.
The Squad, minus Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., voted against a bill condemning the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., another Squad member, and Tlaib are both vocal supporters of the BDS movement.
And when discussing BDS, both have made appalling and tone-deaf comparisons between Nazi Germany and Israel.
Omar issued a resolution in support of the BDS movement that read, “Whereas Americans of conscience have a proud history of participating in boycotts to advocate for human rights abroad, including … boycotting Nazi Germany from March 1933 to October 1941 in response to the dehumanization of the Jewish people in the lead-up to the Holocaust.”
Tlaib has said, “The right to boycott is deeply rooted in the fabric of our country. Americans boycotted Nazi Germany in response to dehumanization, imprisonment, and genocide of Jewish people.”
The issue is not that they don’t know about the genocide that Nazi Germany inflicted on the Jewish people and, as such, are ignorantly comparing the Jewish state to Nazi Germany, it’s that they see the two as morally equivalent. Perhaps they only meant to say that there is a precedent for boycotting a country, but it is hard to believe anyone is that tone deaf as to miss the irony and inappropriateness of the comparison.
Omar has also been criticized for perpetuating anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories. In 2012 she tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” The concept of Israel as “hypnotizing” plotters is an ancient conspiracy theory.
StopAntisemitism.org went so far as to grant Omar the “Anti-Semite of the Year” award in 2019.
Tlaib and Omar have earned their reputations for being anti-Semitic, so this latest incident should surprise no one. Regardless of what Tlaib’s intention was behind retweeting the phrase, the result is the same — if not through actual genocide then through political action. Tlaib is displaying her support for the elimination of the Jewish state.