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Revisiting “From The River to the Sea”

The Australian senate has overwhelmingly condemned the phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” saying it “opposes Israel’s right to exist, and is frequently used by those who seek to intimidate Jewish Australians via acts of antisemitism”. Naturally, the Israel-haters are not happy about it, releasing this statement denying the genocidal connotations behind the phrase:

As usual, these groups are being disingenuous.

Firstly, the phrase is always associated with opposition to the existence of Israel. It is absolutely a call for the dismantling or destruction of the Jewish state.

What’s more, it is more often than not associated with this being done violently.

The PLO were the first to essentially popularize the slogan. While some would like us to think it is merely “an expression of what mandatory Palestine was before the creation of Israel”, a look at the PNC Charter reveals the truth.

Article 6: Jews who were living permanently in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered Palestinians. (For the Zionist invasion is considered to have begun in 19171.)

Article 9: Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine and is therefore a strategy and not a tactic. The Palestinian Arab people affirms its absolute resolution and abiding determination to pursue the armed struggle and to march forward towards the armed popular revolution, to liberate its homeland and restore its right to a natural life, and to exercise its right of self-determination and national sovereignty.

Article 10: Fedaeyeen’s (freedom fighters) action forms the nucleus of the popular Palestinian war of liberation. This requires its promotion, extension and protection, and the mobilization of all the Arab and Palestinian masses and scientific capacities of the Palestinians, their organization and involvement in the armed Palestinian revolution to ensure the continuation of the revolution, its advancement and victory.

Article 15: The liberation of Palestine from the Arab view point is a national duty to repulse the Zionist, imperialist invasion from the great Arab homeland and to purge it from the Zionist presence . This full responsibility falls upon the Arab nation, peoples and governments, with the Arab Palestinian people at their lead. For this purpose the Arab nation must mobilize all its military, human, material and spiritual capacities to participate actively with the Palestinian people in the liberation of Palestine. They must grant and offer the people of Palestine all possible help and every material and human support and afford it means and opportunities enabling it to continue assuming its vanguard role in pursuing its armed revolution until the liberation of its homeland, especially in the present stage of armed Palestinian revolution.

Let’s break this down. The PNC charter is explicitly calling for terrorism against Jews who arrived in Israel from around the 1880s onwards (while not against those who were continually present from the time of the destruction of the second Temple) – in order to remove them from the land. In other words, they are calling for violence against the vast majority of Jews in Israel. This is no vision of a peaceful process of equal rights, but rather a call for violence and genocide.

The fact that Hamas adopted the phrase in its revised 2017 charter – which also provides that “Resistance and jihad for the liberation of Palestine will remain a legitimate right, a duty and an honor for all the sons and daughters of our people” – says it all, and the events of October 7 provided a glimpse as to their vision of a “Free Palestine.”

Likewise, fellow terror groups Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda, and Hizbullah all use the phrase.

If that all wasn’t enough to suggest those who claim the phrase “encompasses the rights of all individuals to live in peace and dignity” are full of beans, the very same people who claim this tend to be people who support terrorism as “resistance”, or otherwise chant it alongside people who do.

Take APAN, one of the signatories of the above letter. As I have exposed on here time and again, their head Nasser Mashni not just refuses to condemn Hamas, but he has revealed he actually liked tweets in support of October 7. He has also been filmed at a rally expressing sadness that the Australian government condemn Hamas violence, while expressing support for resistance and then leading the very chant in question “From the River to the Sea.” There has even been speculation his charity funnels money to the PFLP.

Elsewhere in the world, we see this chant being shouted by the very same people who chant in support of an Intifada, and have held up banners with paragliders in clear support of what transpired on October 7. Heck, even Israel-hater Norman Finkelstein has implored his fellow haters to desist from the slogan because it is “ambiguous,” and he was met with mockery from his so-called allies.

So while it is possible some ignorant folk are not expressing the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state by violent means, they are in the minority – and even they are expressing support for the removal of the world’s only Jewish state, which is antisemitic.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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