Attendees at a convention in Chicago on Saturday for the Democratic Socialists of America launched into an anti-Israel chant after passing a motion to overwhelmingly endorse the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement.
In a video posted to social media following the vote, a number of people at the event began chanting “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” — a popular slogan at anti-Israel protests around the world — as one person waved a Palestinian flag.
Others remained silent as the chanting went on, but the BDS motion — passed with 90 percent approval of the 697 delegates from 49 states — was met with wild applause.
The chant is perceived as a call to eliminate the state of Israel within the 1967 lines, and establishing a state of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea instead. Some pro-Palestinian activists argue that the slogan calls for an end to Israel’s military and civilian control over Palestinians in the West Bank and other areas they claim as part of a future state.
The organization reports that it has about 25,000 dues-paying members nationwide, up from 8,000 in recent years.
The motion to endorse BDS read, in part, “Democratic Socialists of America declares itself in solidarity with Palestinian civil society’s nonviolent struggle against apartheid, colonialism, military occupation and for equality, human rights, and self-determination; Democratic Socialists of America responds to Civil Society’s call by fully supporting BDS.”
The statement from the resolution was tweeted by an attendee, the Legal Insurrection website reported.
According to its website, The Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA, “is the largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal US affiliate of the Socialist International. DSA’s members are building progressive movements for social change, while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in American communities and politics.”
The organization also says: “We are socialists because we reject an international economic order sustained by private profit, alienated labor, race and gender discrimination, environmental destruction, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.”
“We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane international social order based both on democratic planning and market mechanisms to achieve equitable distribution of resources, meaningful work, a healthy environment, sustainable growth, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships.”
While the movement is not officially associated with Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, DSA is aligned with her, according to the Jerusalem Post. DSA was an official participant in the Women’s March in January 2017, of which Sarsour was a co-organizer, the Post reported.
DSA endorsed Bernie Sanders as a favored candidate for the presidency in the 2016 presidential elections.