Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism.
The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Letter to the Editor: As a Jew, ‘From the River to the Sea’ Is Not Antisemitic

Standing up for equal rights is disavowing, not condoning genocide.

Re: Poleshuck-Kinel and Hirsh: Discourse on Ice; Weinstein: The Ice Sculpture Contest and the Limits of Brave Spaces

I am infuriated by the recent articles accusing Al-Nur of hate speech for using the phrase “river to sea.” As a Jewish American grandson of a Holocaust survivor, I fully reject the undertones of racism and Islamophobia within the idea that the phrase “river to sea” is antisemitic.

Palestinians do not draw their roots from just the West Bank and Gaza Strip — they are from the entirety of the historically multi-ethnic Palestine. This historic Palestine, as defined in the British Mandate, stretched from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. After the Nakba, when 750,000 Palestinians were forcefully expelled from their ancestral homes, Palestinians became refugees in the surrounding territories. Israel has denied the Palestinian people’s internationally protected rights to exist throughout historic Palestine. When we chant “from the river to the sea,” we are advocating for Palestinians to be able to return to all of the land in historic Palestine, and for them to have equal rights to Israelis when they do so. 

I argue that the narrative that “from the river to the sea” is antisemitic is created by the pro-Israeli propaganda machine to racistly equate Palestinians, Muslims and their supporters to terrorists, dehumanizing them to justify their genocidal actions. Indeed, the phrase “river to sea” is older than Hamas and most other militant groups and is foundational to Palestinian identity. Hamas uses the phrase because they know the war crimes of the Israeli government perpetuate their existence. By attempting to give legitimacy to the Israeli government’s dehumanization of Palestinians, Hamas prevents the Palestinian people from standing up to their internal oppressors and achieving peace. To stop using the phrase “from the river to the sea” just because Hamas is trying to co-opt it to prevent peace is to let both Hamas and the Israeli propaganda machine win. Palestinians, like Israelis, have a right to live in peace and security throughout their homeland, river to sea.

Jordan Narrol ’25 is a political activist in the Palestine Solidarity Coalition, Sunrise Movement and several other groups on campus. Letters to the Editor represent the views of their author(s), which are not necessarily those of The Dartmouth.