Peter Beinart defends Rashida Tlaib’s anti-Semitic slogan retweet

The far-left journalist claimed ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ is actually a call for equality between Palestinians and Jews.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Jewish far-left journalist Peter Beinart defended Tuesday a post by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib that seemingly calls for Israel’s destruction.

Tlaib deleted the post after retweeting it, which included the phrase ‘”from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a popular slogan that calls for the replacement of the Jewish state with a Palestinian one.

Beinart denied that the phrase has that meaning, claiming instead that by using the slogan Tlaib expressed support for “one state where Jews and Palestinians live equally, under the same law.”

Tlaib retweeted the slogan on Monday in honor of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

This slogan is regularly chanted at anti-Israel demonstrations all over the world. It is commonly considered “code for eradicating the State of Israel and its millions of Jews,” as watchdog group StopAntiSemitism.org reminded the congresswoman in a responsive tweet.

The Democratic Majority for Israel, which bills itself as a fighter for progressive values “including a strong U.S.-Israel relationship,” also called Tlaib out.

“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. That’s an immoral and reprehensible position,” the group posted on Twitter.

Beinart played down the threat implicit in the slogan.

“I get why many Jews find slogan ‘Palestine from River to Sea’ frightening. Some have used it to disregard Jewish rights (1st Hamas charter, for instance). But Rashida Tlaib has been clear that Jews + Palestinians deserve equality. Suggesting otherwise is a smear.”

Tlaib, a fierce and frequent critic of Israel, subsequently exchanged the line for a personal statement that referenced her Palestinian grandmother: “Thinking of my sity [grandmother] Muftieh and family in Palestine today. From Detroit to Gaza, we will always fight against oppression and inequality.”

Beinart is a professor of journalism at the City University of New York, a political pundit on CNN, a New York Times contributor, and a fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. The foundation is funded in part by Alexander Soros, a billionaire and harsh detractor of Israeli right-wing policy.

In July, Beinart wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times entitled “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State,” in which he stated that Israel should instead create with the Palestinians a democratic, bi-national state. He has argued for years the Palestinian position that Israel has no right to Judea and Samaria and is an oppressive force there.