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Rashida Tlaib removes tweet with ‘river to the sea’ phrase associated with Israel’s elimination

(JTA) — Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., removed from her Twitter feed a retweet that said “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a phrase that has been associated with calls to wipe out Israel.

On Nov. 29, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Tlaib retweeted a tweet from an account that featured the phrase accompanied by an image of a poster marking the day.

Tlaib, a Palestinian American who does not believe Israel should exist as a Jewish state, came under fire for the retweet from pro-Israel groups.

“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,” Democratic Majority for Israel said in a tweet. “That’s an immoral and reprehensible position.”

The phrase was originated by Palestinian nationalists in the 1960s, when the entire Palestinian movement sought Israel’s elimination. Mainstream Palestinian groups dropped the phrase after Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization recognized one another subsequent to the 1993 Oslo Accords, but it was then adopted by Islamists, including the Hamas terrorist group.

More recently, figures who call for Israel’s replacement through peaceful means have also adopted the phrase.

Tlaib removed the retweet from her timeline, and replaced it with her own tweet of the poster crediting the artist and saying she marked the day by thinking of her family in the West Bank.

On Nov. 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition British Mandate Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. The Zionist movement accepted the partition, and the date is marked in Israel in street names and educational curricula. Palestinians, who rejected the partition, mourn the date.

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