In late November, we reported on the opening of a restaurant on the Upper East Side specializing in Palestinian food. Noting the inherent problem at this point in time of opening a restaurant of that ilk in a neighborhood with a large Jewish population, we included part of an aspirational message the management had posted on Instagram that spoke of “a future where lasting peace and boundless happiness thrive … where Jewish and Arab communities coexist seamlessly.”
How unfortunate therefore that a sister restaurant in Brooklyn has chosen to group the seafood selections on its lunch menu under the heading “From the River to the Sea.”
Abdul Elenani, the owner of the eatery, called Ayat, claims he has received death threats, telling Fox Business, that the phrase “means nothing and has nothing to do with violence. It’s a simple call for an end to the occupation and freedom for Palestinians. Not to be treated like animals, yet to be treated with human dignity and fairness.”
But a longer version of the slogan — “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free” — has long been a rallying cry of terrorist groups and their sympathizers, from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to Hamas. The latter in its original governing charter in 1988 openly called for the annihilation of the state of Israel.