From the river to the sea: The “Day After” will be based on equality & justice, not Jewish supremacy

Rima Najjar
4 min readMay 10, 2024
Means of return: “Our weapons are the means of our return/And (they are) our constant companions until the liberation of Palestine”, Arab Liberation Front (circa 1975). Artist: Hassib al-Jassem

Israel has reached its zenith and is slowly sinking under the weight of its hubris and vicious greed and that of its enabler, the United States. We are recognizing now how vulnerable Israel is and how responsible we all are for challenging it.

Much of the world is finally realizing that Zionism and Israel are not just problems, but everybody’s problems. Israel’s talking points may still be conventional wisdom in mainstream media in the West, but they are on the decline everywhere else. Its winning argument portrays Israel as a victim that has “a right to exist.” It uses the Nazi holocaust to whitewash Zionist crimes and claims that the racist, apartheid, settler-colonial state is “Jewish and democratic,” a state besieged by the uncivilized, largely terrorist Arab world.

As Israel is raining destruction on Palestinian civilians and civilian life in Gaza in defiance of the humanitarian international world regime, its argument is gasping for air these days. But on social media platforms such as Meta, Zionists still find new ways to twist words and asphyxiate free speech.

A case in point is the appeal three Zionists have made to Meta’s Oversight Board urging Facebook to remove posts that include the statement “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” from its platform.

Public discourse and consciousness on Israel rest on the foundation its vast hasbara machine has long woven into social media forums using variations on the winning argument described above. This appeal to Meta’s Oversight Board is an extension of the hasbara that has long played counterpoint to any criticism of Israel. Afterall, what has been the centerpiece of this hasbara? What is the one thing most people think they “know” about Israel? Well, it is that Israel is a “victim” state and Palestinians are out to kill all Jews.

Never mind that a map of Israel today includes Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms, graphically demonstrating Israeli aggression. The phrase “from the river to the sea” is a Zionist phrase originally, taken from Deuteronomy 11:24. The early Zionists used it and it is written in the Likud platform: “Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.” It means total Jewish hegemony in the region.

In writing about the Holocaust industry, Norman Finklestein says, “The Holocaust has proven to be an indispensable ideological weapon. Through its deployment, one of the world’s most formidable military powers [Israel], with a horrendous human rights record, has cast itself as a ‘victim’ state, and the most successful ethnic group [Jews] in the United States has likewise acquired victim status.”

By accepting to debate the appeals to exclude the Palestinian liberation slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” from Facebook content, Meta’s Oversight Board gives credence to the central Israeli myth of victimhood and accepts the notion that basic facts of history and conquest can be “controversial.”

Crazily, it is the intention behind the phrase “From the River to the sea, Palestine will be free” that Meta’s Oversight Board wants to explore. Why do those Arabs intend to liberate their land and achieve self-determination on it? Is this hate speech or liberation speech?

Meta’s Oversight Board ought to know that, to Zionists, peace means control and conquest and that Israel has no rights to the land it occupies from the river to the sea.

The Board ought to know that to Palestinians, peace means liberation, equality and justice. Armed struggle is the Palestinians’ God-given right, US veto or not.

There is no veiled intent. The statement is, in fact, a call to the elimination of Israel as a Jewish supremacist state. Why? Because Israel is the embodiment of the destruction of Palestine by Jewish European migrants to create a Jewish state. Liberation means restoring Palestinian rights to their land. The “Day after” will be a state based on equality and justice, not Jewish supremacy.

The slogan as used by Palestinians originated in 1964 when diaspora Palestinians, led by Yasser Arafat, called for a single state encompassing historic Palestinian territories that predate the formation of the state of Israel in 1948. Palestinians rejected the 1947 United Nations partition plan of Palestine and that led to Jewish forces, mercenaries from Europe, destroying hundreds of Palestinian villages and displacing thousands of Palestinians by means of Jewish terrorism. To this day Palestinians reject the violent liquidation of Palestine and the insatiable greed of the right wing of the Jewish public, and they continue to be displaced and their towns obliterated.

To the Board I say, the statement “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea” is not a “complex and sensitive issue.” Look in the mirror and ask why Facebook has allowed Israel’s hasbara to take power from it for so long.

Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem and whose mother’s side of the family is from Ijzim, south of Haifa. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.