Steven Teplitsky

From the River to the Sea – Why Use This Quote

Why use this quote when there are much better ones to choose from?

Conventional wisdom of the liberal West has always been that one does not have to be an antisemite to disagree with the policies and geo-politics of Israel, especially referring to Israel-Palestine relations. This conventional wisdom changed several days after October 7, 2023 when the world turned from sympathy for Israel, and reared its ugly antisemitic head calling for the end of the State of Israel and death to Jews in all parts of the world.

Since biblical times, many have written diatribes against the Jewish people. So why has “from the river to the sea” become so popular today? In the following pages we will examine some of the more popular quotations about the Jews. The purpose of this exercise is to examine both antisemitic and anti-Israel quotations without editorializing, thus allowing you, the reader, to draw your own conclusions about the history of anti Jewish and anti Israel bias.

With so many quotes to choose from it may not be possible to replace “from the river to the sea.”  You decide.

A new king arose over Egypt. He said to his people, ‘Behold! The people, the Children of Israel, are more numerous and stronger than we. Come, let us outsmart it lest it become numerous’” Exodus 1: 8-10

“Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not to the king’s profit to tolerate them. If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed” Esther 8-9

The Quran is divided into 114 chapters called Suras. Jews are mentioned in 89 Suras. Those who claim that Islam is a religion of peace forget that it is a religion of peace only for its followers, or believers. A non-believer, or Infidel is subject to the following quotes from the Quran…

[2.88] And they say: Our hearts are covered. Nay, Allah has cursed them on account of their unbelief; so little it is that they believe.

[2.98] Whoever is the enemy of Allah and His angels and His apostles, so surely Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers.

[2.121] Those to whom We have given the Book read it as it ought to be read. These believe in it; and whoever disbelieves in it, these it is that are the losers.

[4.46] Of those who are Jews…Allah has cursed them on account of their unbelief

[4.160] Wherefore for the iniquity of those who are Jews did We disallow to them the good things which had been made lawful for them and for their hindering many (people) from Allah’s way.

[5.13] But on account of their breaking their covenant We cursed them…and you shall always discover treachery in them excepting a few of them

[5.33] The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.

[5.51] O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends.

[62.6] Say: O you who are Jews, if you think that you are the favorites of Allah to the exclusion of other people, then invoke death.

Most modern historians of antisemitism believe that antisemitism is a product of 19th century nationalism with its roots in medieval Christian antisemitism. The thinking is that antisemitism was a Christian phenomenon while the Jews under Muslim rule did not face any antisemitism. The Muslim ruling of DHIMMA is, by modern day standards, anti-Semitic and racist.

“The subjects of the dhimma or “protection” are the dhimmis, whose lives and religions are tolerated, though the dhimmis themselves are subject to numerous personal restrictions that reduce them to the state of 2nd class citizens, while their religion is neutered of any possible threat it could pose to Islam. The scholars are quite clear, in agreement with the Qur’an, that the dhimmis must feel themselves humiliated and subdued, never equals to Muslims. According to the scholars, it ought to apply to all non-Muslims living under Muslim rule at all times and should be the only choice given to all infidel people in the world besides conversion to Islam or death.”  From WikiIslam

For the purposes of this discussion we will deal mostly with Islamic anti-Israel and anti-Semitic quotes. Islamic views of the Jewish people and Israel are more relevant to current events. To delve into Christian antisemitism would take volumes. As such we will move from the roots of Islamic anti-Semitism to the history of Palestine and Israel over the last 100 years through written or oral quotations.

After Jews began to resettle the land, Muslim clerics and leaders used quotes from the Quran to vilify the Jews. The most vociferous was Haj Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and a friend of Adolph Hitler.

“In his speech, al-Husayni lashed out at the Jews, stating that the Koran judged the Jews “to be the most irreconcilable enemies of the Muslims.” He predicted that the Jews would “always be a subversive element on the earth [and] are inclined to craft intrigues, provoke wars, and play the nations off against one another”

In several respects, the Mufti was an active participant in the Nazi war against the Jews:  As a promoter of the idea of extermination, including – among many statements and speeches to this effect – his message to Mussolini in the summer of 1940, in which he claimed the “right” of the Arabs at large to solve the Jewish problem in their own lands in line with Axis practices in Europe. This was later translated into his active role in Iraq – where he was involved not only in the Kailani coup but also in inciting for the “Farhud” (pogrom) of June 1941.

His most famous quote is as follows:

“Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor. God is with you.

From the time of the Arab uprising (1936-1939) until today a slew of quotations by leaders, clerics, politicians, diplomats, queens and kings have become available allowing any student of history a clear picture of the mindset of the Muslim leadership towards Israel and the Jewish people in particular.

We know that the Jews have manipulated the Sept. 11 incidents and turned American public opinion against Arabs and Muslims….We still ask ourselves: Who has benefited from Sept. 11 attacks? I think they (the Jews) were the protagonists of such attacks.” Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef in Assyasah (Kuwait) translation from Saudi magazine ’Ain-Al-Yaqin, November 29, 2002

“The Zionist attempts to transmit dangerous diseases like AIDS through exports to Arab countries.”Al-Manar (Hezbollah TV) November 23, 2004

“The Jews are the cancer spreading all over the world…the Jews are a virus like AIDS hitting humankind…Jews are responsible for all wars and conflicts….”— Sermon by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris                 Palestine  Authority  TV  May 13, 2005

“If we searched the entire world for a person, more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli.”Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah  Quoted in Amal Saad-Ghorayeb,  Hizbullah: Politics and Religion, London, 2002, p. 170.

“On their holy feasts, especially the Eid al-Kabir, crunchy bread is eaten, and the crime is that this bread is not kneaded unless it is kneaded with the blood of a non-Jew from the goys.”—Dr. Nasser Al-Yafawi , Director at the Ministry of Education in Gaza   Facebook, October 9, 2020

“There are Jews everywhere. We must attack every Jew on planet Earth! We must slaughter and kill them, with Allah’s help. We will lacerate and tear them to pieces.” Fathi Hammad, Hamas Politburo member  July 14, 2019

“We will not recognize Israel, Palestine must stretch from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, the Right of Return [must be fulfilled], the prisoners must be set free, and a fully sovereign Palestinian state must be established with Jerusalem as its capital.”  Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Prime Minister – Lusail TV (Qatar), July 26, 2020

“As far as we’re concerned, the issue of recognition of Israel has been settled once and for all. It has been settled in our political literature, in our Islamic thought and in our Jihadist culture, on which we base our moves. Recognition of Israel is out of the question.  – Al Jazeera interview, April 2, 2007

“Removing the Jews from the land they occupied in 1948 is an immutable principle because it appears in the Book of Allah.” Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas Co-Founder, March 16, 2017

“If they (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”            Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah Secretary General

“The ultimate goal is to liberate all of Palestine from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea.”                    Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Iranian Supreme Leader  – October 1, 2011

“Sons of Zion, this is an oath to the Lord of the Heavens:  Prepare all the bags you can for your body parts” – Facebook, “Fatah-The Main Page,” July 7, 2014

“I tell you with all honesty, we will not recognize Israel, we will not recognize Israel, we will not recognize Israel.”— Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh     Washington Post, October 7, 2006

Please draw your own conclusions.  Is there a better quotation that demonstrators around the world can use?

I apologize.  I forgot one.

In 2001, Daniel Bernard came to public attention when, as French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, he was quoted as saying: “All the current troubles in the world are because of that shitty little country Israel.”

About the Author
Graduated from Brandeis University in Near Eastern and Jewish Studies in 1978 before completion of PhD (ABD) in "Relationship of US to Pre 1948 Yishuv". Active in Toronto Jewish community while pursuing business career. Made Aliyah in 2020. Last person to be admitted into Israel before Covid shutdown. Favorite movie quotes are "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" and "You can't handle the truth!" and "Whaddya think, I'm dumb or something?"
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