The Iowa Democratic Party is calling on three members of the University Democrats at Iowa to resign following their statement in support of the Palestinians.
The statement — issued by Vice President Kiana Shevling-Major, Secretary Olivia Martin, and Treasurer Matthew Charles — read “We shamelessly and fully support Palestine. The ongoing violence against millions of innocent people is egregious and the perpetuation of it by the United States of America and other western states is even more so.”
Shevling-Major claimed the phrase merely expresses her support for the Palestinians “who are currently being held hostage in their own land, from the river of Jordan to the sea of the Mediterranean.”
In a statement to the student paper, Shevling-Major (pictured) said “I refuse to apologize for supporting Palestine. I refuse to stop calling out oppression when I see it. I refuse to be silenced.”
The vice president said that as a result of social media “backlash” and complaints from state politicians, her organization amended the statement to read “May every Palestinian live long and free.”
But this “correction” was removed in “less than an hour.”
The Iowa Democratic Party condemned the University Democrats at Iowa’s statement via its social media channels and in a news release.
“The Iowa Democratic Party was recently made aware of a statement made by the University Democrats at Iowa, which included problematic anti-semitic slogans including ‘from the river to the sea Palestine will be free,’” Iowa Democrats chair Rita Hart said in a statement. “Let’s be very clear. That is a call for Jewish genocide and we wholly condemn that offensive language.”
The party said in the statement that it stands with Palestinians and Israelis and do not condone terrorism. The Iowa Democratic Party officially called for the resignation of the student representatives who signed the letter.
A follow-up story from the Daily reports the trio has no plans to resign. Shevling-Major said they had decided to make their statement “because she felt that nobody was talking about it.”
Martin said she “felt as though students were looking for them to make a statement” about the conflict.
“There are people dying that shouldn’t be dying,” she said. “I think it’s inappropriate that there are children and mothers and fathers and families that are being obliterated, and no one’s doing anything.”
Martin added she thought that “with the popularity” of the saying “from the river to the sea” people would realize their intentions were “pure.” The trio claim they “didn’t realize the impact the saying would have on members of the Jewish Community.”
IMAGES: Jaiz Anuar/Shutterstock.com; Kiana Shevling-Major/Facebook