Clifford Rieders

What Does From the River to the Sea Mean?

Throughout the United States today, we hear and see college students, and others, chanting: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”  What are they saying?  What do they mean?

The handlers of these naïve students and their supporters are attempting to create a caliphate in the Middle East, similar to that created by Mohammed in the 6th century when the population in the Middle East was given the choice of Islam or the sword.  Palestine from the river to the sea also existed during the reign of the Ottoman Turkish Muslim empire.  That corrupt, anti-democratic totalitarian regime was defeated by the British, with the help of the Americans, in World War I.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, which had been allies with Germany in World War I, the British carved up the Middle East to create its own colonies, and independent nations.  The United States never joined the League of Nations, formed after World War I to bring lasting peace, but the US did sign on to the Resolution of San Remo, in which the western world promised an independent Jewish national homeland which would have included all of Palestine.  Palestine meant modern-day Jordan, Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and north into parts of Syria and Lebanon.  The Jewish people were double-crossed when Winston Churchill gave Jordan to his friends in the Hashemite Tribe.  That small minority, the Hashemite, were to rule over the Palestinian Arabs, and they have done so ever since.  Winston Churchill did not hate Jews, but he realized that the next war, and all future wars, would be fought with oil.  Churchill was doing his best to sidle up to the Arab oil merchants in the Middle East.

Palestine, of course, was the name given to the national Jewish homeland by the Romans after they killed over a million and a quarter Jews in the year 125 of the Common Era.  This massacre of Jews did not eliminate the Jewish presence from Israel or the Middle East; however, it did result in the Roman name change from Israel to Palestine.  The inhabitants of Palestine ever since were Jews.

The appropriation of the name “Palestine” by those who seek the destruction of Israel, is a relatively new innovation.  The Arabs who did live in Israel, and the Jewish national homeland, never referred to themselves as Palestinian.  That notion is a new name, justifying nothing less than a return of a Middle Eastern caliphate.

There are some things satirically humorous about watching young idealists and college students demand a totalitarian regime in place of Israel.  Instead of Israel, which welcomes people of every kind and type, the handlers of these college students seek to do away with democracy, and instead to institute Yemen, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran in place of Israel. How insane is that?

Those who shout “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will be Free” are talking about nothing less than the destruction of Israel.  What would there be in its place?   We know the answer to that, because all we have to do is look at the Arab world to date.  Instead of Israel, the World would get another terrorist state like that created by Hamas in Gaza, Iran and Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon, Afghanistan, and. . . well, everyone gets the picture.

Anybody who has been to Israel, or even given it the slightest study, will realize that this is one of the most egalitarian, dynamic and free societies in the World.  Twenty per cent of the people within the Nation of Israel are Arabs, Muslims.  There are Christian Arabs in Israel.  The list of the variety of people who populate this country, is too numerous to mention; yet, all of those diverse groups would face death, rape, destruction and mutilation in societies run by fundamentalists, jihadists, Muslim regimes.  This, apparently is what college students seek when they shout, “From the River to the Sea.”

Why is it that our kids, and their handlers, know so little and have so little respect for democracy?

The answer to the above question lies in our failure to teach what democracy is really all about.  Many of us were raised on the precepts of Voltaire that while we might disagree with somebody else’s opinion, we would defend to the death their right to hold that opinion.  Forget that Voltaire was a rabid and disgusting anti-Semite.  He stood for, as did many of the Enlightenment writers, the concept that different opinions were welcome, and that the World would inevitably progress towards a more free, democratic society.  In the United States we created a republican form of democracy.  Our representative government at every level can be messy, complicated and overlapping, but it does represent a symbol to the World.  America’s friends and allies, like Israel and places in Western Europe, admire the success of the United States.

The enemies of the United States, chiefly in the third world, not only seek the destruction of the American system of tolerance, but also look for the annihilation of America’s friends wherever they are.

In the United States, we have failed to educate our new immigrants, our college students, and those in the position of influence to promote an environment where we will support democracies and frown upon genocidal regimes.

When the anti-Israel people accuse Israel of genocide or murder, they can only be talking about the conduct of Isis, Hamas, Hezbollah and a variety of other forces seeking to destroy Western civilization. There is no place in the World, according to jihadists, for those who think, act or look differently than the perpetrators of the lies against Israel and Judaism.

The newest twist on this distorted philosophy is that there can be a Judaism without Zionism.  Impossible!  Judaism has always been linked with love and fidelity for the land of Israel.  Even when Israel was not independent, it nevertheless existed both in reality and as a dream of the Jewish people.  Israel is not only a place, but it is an ideal.  Walk through the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or even Biryukova and compare it to anyplace in the Arab world.  The promoters of anti-Israel hatred, violence and distortion, know very well that the ultimate enemy is the tolerance of the Jews, not only as demonstrated throughout the Jewish community, but also as practiced in the Land of Israel.

Those who scream and shout for the destruction of Zionism and for a new “Palestine” from the River to the Sea, seek nothing less than the destruction of enlightenment values which have made America, the West, and Israel great institutions of tolerance and diversity.  Let us not forget the powerful lesson that demagogues always attempt to distort and twist the truth in a way which will empower the anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish, anti-democratic people.  Empowering hatred is not the American way, and we should reject it and make a strong attempt to educate our children and our population in the values which have made America great.

About the Author
Cliff Rieders is a Board Certified Trial Advocate in Williamsport, is Past President of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association and a past member of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.
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