Miguel Cardona, the U.S. secretary of education, declined on Tuesday to say whether or not the phrase “from the river to the sea” constitutes Jew-hatred, prompting Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, to call for his resignation.
“Three months after Oct. 7 and the disgusting antisemitic demonstrations that followed, there is no excusing Secretary Cardona’s cowardly evasion of the antisemitic character of the phrase ‘from the river to the sea,’” Foxx stated. “Unfortunately, this is just the latest example in a long record of abject failure.”
The phrase that is a penchant among anti-Israel activists is antisemitic, per the American Jewish Committee “translate hate” glossary, which describes the phrase as calling “for the establishment of a state of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, erasing the State of Israel and its people.”
The Biden administration evidently sees that glossary as authoritative, as Ian Sams, a White House spokesman for oversight and investigations and special assistant to U.S. President Joe Biden, cited it on Tuesday, claiming that Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) made an antisemitic comment.
Green referred on Tuesday to Alejandro Mayorkas, the U.S. secretary of homeland security whom he wants to be impeached, as a “reptile.”
“House Republicans’ report said impeaching Mayorkas was about ‘deporting’ him. Now, the GOP chairman leading it makes another vile comment, calling Mayorkas, who is Jewish, a ‘reptile,’” wrote Sams, adding a screenshot of what he called the AJC’s “glossary of antisemitic terms.”
Under “creatures,” the AJC records, that creatures can be “a common form of coded antisemitism” that “includes illustrations and images that depict Jews as vermin, tentacled creatures, reptilian men, and other ‘subhuman’ monsters.” It notes Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s frequent references to Jews as “termites.”
Green, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, had referred to Mayorkas as a “reptile with no [courage],” because the secretary hadn’t resigned, during a closed-door meeting with Republican colleagues, Politico reported, citing two GOP House members who were in the room.
“Anyone who has watched the secretary testify before any committee knows he is skilled at evading questions and accountability,” an aide of Green’s told JNS. “Chairman Green made these comments in a comparison with President [Richard] Nixon—referring to their sly abilities to evade accountability and the truth.”
“Insinuations that these comments mean anything more are just desperate attempts to distract from the secretary’s impeachable offenses,” the aide added.
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who is Jewish, called Green “a friend, devout conservative and among very few who builds bipartisan relationships in Congress.”
“He is not antisemitic, and it’s shameful to insinuate it,” Phillips wrote.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who is Jewish, disagreed.
“This type of vile language is unacceptable. Whether intended or not, we must stand in solidarity to oppose antisemitism and all forms of hate wherever they occur,” she wrote.
‘Refused to comply with the law’
Green has sounded the alarm about rising Jew-hatred on college campuses.
Many campuses “have been overrun with antisemitism,” he wrote in November. In early January, he called Claudine Gay’s resignation as Harvard president “long overdue,” noting that Gay’s “refusal to unequivocally condemn the rabid antisemitism taking place on her campus showed extreme moral cowardice.”
“I voted to reject antisemitism. We must stand with our indispensable ally, Israel,” Green wrote last July.
Green urged two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas for “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and “breach of public trust,” in relation to the unfolding “unprecedented crisis” and “chaos” on the U.S. southern border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reported more than 8.5 million border encounters and more than 7 million apprehensions on the southern border, since Mayorkas was sworn in on Feb. 2, 2021, according to a Green’s statement on the House floor on Tuesday.
“Even more terrifying is the approximate 1.8 million known gotaways that Border Patrol agents detect but are unable to apprehend. Millions of those inadmissible aliens who are encountered are eventually released into our communities,” he said. “This has never happened before in the history of the country. And it doesn’t happen by accident.”
“Secretary Mayorkas’s willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law and his breach of public trust are responsible for this historic crisis,” Green added. “Secretary Mayorkas has explicitly refused to comply with the law. His refusal to obey the law has led to the death of his fellow citizens, and he no longer deserves to keep his job.”