November 30, 2018


"Between the Sea and the Jordan There Will Only Be Israeli Sovereignty" (AYMANN ISMAIL, NOV 30, 2018, Slate)

Hill, obviously, did not come close to calling for Jewish genocide. His critics, to the extent their arguments are sincere, arrived at this conclusion based on that single phrase, "from the river to the sea," convinced the phrasing was a dog whistle to violent factions that seek to destroy Israel. It's true that organizations like Hamas, which fires rockets at civilian targets, uses "from the river to the sea" to describe its desire for a free Palestine. But that is also true of Israel's ruling right-wing Likud party as well. In the Likud's founding charter from 1977, 10 years before the founding of Hamas, the very first paragraph says "between the Sea and the Jordan there will only be Israeli sovereignty." In 1999, the charter was amended, but the first stanza remains, asserting "the Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel."

"From the river to the sea" has also been used by Jewish journalists to describe the area again and again. Jewish settlers who live beyond the green line in Israel Defense Forces-protected settlements live by this slogan as well. An Israeli minister used the phrase to dismiss the prospect of a two-state solution, saying, "There is no other option but the state of Israel, certainly between the Jordan [River] to the sea there will be one state." One needn't look far for more examples of the phrase being used by public officials and, neutrally, in headlines to describe the land. It may be loaded, but it is hardly a clear signal of anti-Semitism. Yet its inclusion appears to have been the main factor in prompting the manufactured "outrage" about Hill's speech. And still, seemingly on impulse, CNN caved.

Posted by at November 30, 2018 6:58 PM