A New Hampshire state representative has been strongly condemned after she used a Palestinian slogan calling for Israel’s annihilation, and then doubled down on it.
On Oct. 23, Democratic Rep. Maria Perez tweeted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”, according to the local NH Journal outlet.
The slogan is frequently employed by those who advocate the end of Israel as a Jewish state and the establishment of an Arab state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
Perez removed the tweet following criticism, but on Friday commented on Twitter, “I shared a slogan that Palestinian human rights activists use to convey that they desire freedom of movement and an end to settler colonization.”
“I believe in a one state solution where Jews, Muslims, Christians and others can live together with equal rights, unlike the current state of Israeli occupation and apartheid,” she added.
Robert Trestan, the New England Director of the Anti-Defamation League, denounced Perez’s comments, saying, “Calling for a one state solution denigrates and denies the existence of a Jewish State of Israel. This is no solution. We hope Representative Perez will reconsider the implications of her choice of language and check the facts.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition also weighed in, saying in a statement, “Maria Perez should be ashamed of herself. The disgusting phrase ‘from the river to the sea Palestine will be free’ is a well-known antisemitic, anti-Israel slogan used by terrorist groups like Hamas to delegitimize the State of Israel and incite violence.”
“The fact that Representative Perez’s statement comes the same week as the three-year anniversary of the tragic Tree of Life synagogue attack in Pittsburgh is even more outrageous,” the group asserted.
The New Hampshire Democratic party and House Democratic Caucus have not commented on Perez’s remarks.
Ken Litvack, Board Chair of the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire, said, “We are disappointed to hear the comments made by Rep. Perez, and do consider them to be problematic and antisemitic in nature.”
“The phrase used here — ‘from the river to the sea’ — has troubling connotations, as it indicates the destruction and erasure of the Jewish state,” he added. “Whether she intended it that way or not, this is the way the phrase is commonly used, and as a public representative, she needs to be aware of that.”
Perez’s Twitter account is now protected and her tweets can no longer be publicly accessed.