‘River to sea’ Labour councillor condemned

Obaida Ahmed blared the famous chant through a megaphone at a pro-Palestine rally in Wolverhampton last month


A Labour councillor has sparked condemnation after footage emerged of her leading a chant that calls for the annihilation of Israel.

Obaida Ahmed blared the words “from the river to the sea” into a megaphone at a pro-Palestine demonstration in Wolverhampton last month.

In response to her chant, protesters shouted, “Palestine will be free”.

“From the river to the sea" is a common refrain made by anti-Israel campaigners who advocate the dismantling of the Jewish state. It has also long been a Hamas rallying cry.

Last month Ms Ahmed, who is the Cabinet Member for Digital City at Wolverhampton Council, tweeted: “I see the #PalestineStrike is not trending on Twitter.. find that really difficult to believe! Clearly someone in Twitter HQ has had their collars pulled (sic)”.

Responding to Ms Ahmed’s actions at the rally last month, Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “The chant ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ is taken to mean the destruction of Israel in its entirety. 

“This is considered a hostile statement by the overwhelming majority of UK Jews. It also runs counter to Labour Party policy, so we call for an urgent clarification by the councillor of the remarks and by Labour that this chant will not be tolerated.”

Cllr Obaida Ahmed told the JC:“I believe in the fundamental right of Israel to exist and for its people to be able to live in peace and security. I also believe the Palestinian people have the right to live in peace and security.

“I used the slogan in the context of the need for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and as a call to end the occupation in Palestine. I understand that for some people it has another meaning and I will be mindful and respectful of this in the future.

“If we have learned only one thing from the decades of bloodshed and hurt in the Middle East it is that no one will be safe until everyone is safe.”

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