House Democrat Backs Anti-Israel Chant

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) said this week that a popular statement among anti-Israel protests is not a hateful call. The statement regarding the “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” chant drew criticism for the House Democrat, who has taken a number of anti-Israel stances in the past.

Bowman made the comment during a Democratic Party primary for his congressional seat, where he faces a stiff challenge from Westchester County Executive George Latimer (D).

He was asked whether or not the chant was hateful.

“I know some do, others don’t, I do not,” he said.

“I think it is hate speech because I think it’s clear that from the river to the sea has meant specifically the eradication of the Jewish population from the land of Israel,” Latimer replied.

The representative’s opponent said that there was a “marketing campaign” intended to “delegitimize Israel and that there be a free Palestine is a hopeful sign, but it has to accept the fact that there is an Israel there as well.”

Despite a number of votes against Israeli interests, Bowman said that he supports a two state solution, which Latimer also agreed with.

The “from the river to the sea” chant has been seen by many Republicans and some Democrats as a call for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Bowman also courted controversy last year after he pulled a fire alarm prior to a key congressional vote. The action caused an evacuation and led to him being censured by his House colleagues.

Bowman said that he did not realize what the fire alarm was, and instead claimed that he believed that it would open a nearby door. Three Democrats voted with congressional Republicans to admonish his Sept. 30 action.

“I was rushing to make a vote, I was trying to get through a door. I thought the alarm would open the door,” he said at the time.

The representative also pleaded guilty to a D.C. misdemeanor charge and was fined $1,000.