FIRST ON FOX: A House Democrat facing what is expected to be a tough re-election battle refused to condemn a controversial phrase defined as code for the “extermination” of Israel during a clash on social media with her Republican opponent.
Last week, Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., who has previously broken with many in her party to denounce antisemitism, got into a fierce back-and-forth with Republican House hopeful George Logan, who questioned where she stood on the phrase “from the river to the sea,” a common phrase being chanted by anti-Israel protesters amid the largely Jewish nation’s war against Hamas terrorists.
Logan first referenced the phrase by noting President Biden’s education secretary, Miguel Cardona, had declined to say whether the chant was antisemitic while speaking with reporters at a briefing earlier this month.
“Theres nothing unclear about ‘from the River to the Sea.’ This is an antisemitic chant promoting the destruction of Israel. As a member of [the House Committee on Education & the Workforce], where does [Hayes] stand?” Logan wrote on X.
“STOP George,” Hayes responded. “You have no moral high ground. You’ve been completely silent about Trump and your MAGA cronies hateful antisemitic tropes. I’m not playing this game with you – people are dying. Stop using this topic as a political game. Count me out!”
Republican strategist Liz Kurantowicz responded to Hayes, blasting her for not answering the question and declaring that calls for the destruction of Israel were “not a game.”
“Same thing to you Liz- just stop! Trump called people vermin and is modeling dictators and you’ve been SILENT! And yes, I met with Muslim constituents & Jewish constituents who have been devastated by the events in Oct 7th. If George lived in the 5th- I’d meet with him too,” Hayes wrote back, throwing a jab at Logan by accusing him of not residing in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District.
Hayes told Fox News Digital, “I have never used that phrase. The fact that it invokes so much pain is enough for me. My voting record denouncing antisemitism is clear. I condemn antisemitism in any form. I will not engage with Logan or any of the [Connecticut] GOP in using Israel or this crisis as a political game.”
Nathan Sales, a former counterterrorism official, told Fox News last year that when pro-Palestinian protesters chant “Palestine from the river to the sea,” they are really calling for the “extermination of the Jewish state.”
“They think that Israel shouldn’t exist at all,” Sales told “Sunday Night in America.” “This is exterminationist rhetoric and our First Amendment means that we have to tolerate this kind of speech, but the antidote for that kind of abhorrent speech is more speech. We need to expose what these Hamas sympathizers are really all about.”
Hayes is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, while Logan, who lost to Hayes during the 2022 midterms, is hoping for a general election rematch in November. His only opponent in the GOP primary is public sector worker Michelle Botelho.
Election analysts largely view the race for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District as “leans Democratic.”
Fox News’ Maria Lencki contributed to this report.