A majority of US university students do not understand the full meaning of the ‘From the river to the sea' chant, a survey has revealed.
In the survey of 250 college students across the US, some 86% supported the Palestinian chant. Some enthusiastically so (32.8%) and others to a lesser extent (53.2%).
The chant is frequently understood to be a call for the destruction of Israel.
However, less than half (47%) were able to name the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea as the boundaries that the controversial chant was talking about.
Other students polled gave answers including the Nile and the Euphrates rivers, the Dead Sea and even the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
The survey, commissioned by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), also revealed less than a quarter knew who former Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat was whilst just over 10% thought he was the first prime minister of Israel.
Asked in what decade Israelis and Palestinians had signed the Oslo Accords, more than a quarter of the chant’s supporters said no such peace agreements had ever been signed.
Ater being shown some basic facts about Israel and the chant, just over two-thirds (68%) went from supporting the chant to rejecting it.
When 80 of the students were shown on a regional map that a new Palestinian state would stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, 75% of them changed their support to "probably not."
Asked specifically about supporting the chant, a Latino engineering student from a southern US university reported “definitely” supporting “from the river to the sea” because “Palestinians and Israelis should live in two separate countries, side by side.”
Meanwhile, an art student from an arts college in New England “probably” supported the slogan because “Palestinians and Israelis should live together in one state.”
It comes as University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill resigned on Saturday in the wake of a firestorm of criticism after a congressional hearing on the rise of antisemitism on US campuses.
Antisemitism and hate crimes targeting Jewish people have risen in the USA and on university campuses since the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists.
Dani Dayan, chairman of Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre, said the "epicenter of antisemitism in the US is now the college campuses, and especially the Ivy League," likening the problem to a "cancerous" growth.