Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick's 'incendiary chant' at pro-Palestine rally under fire

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick is under fire for using an inflammatory chant during a pro-Palestine rally at the weekend.  

The Jewish Council of New Zealand says what Swarbrick said was anti-Semitic and is calling on her to explain herself.  

"I just wanted to say clearly, strongly, vehemently, the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand stands for a free Palestine," said Swarbrick.   

Swarbrick was furious on Saturday, taking to the stage at a pro-Palestine rally after Labour MP Phil Twyford was shouted off the stage. He was escorted out by police.   

It was then that Swarbrick and the Greens took the stage, yelling this controversial phrase: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."   

Jewish Council spokesperson Juliet Moses said Swarbrick "essentially stoked the crowd with this incendiary chant".   

The rallying cry calls for a unified Palestine state, stretching from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea - return to the land that is now Israel.  

The slogan has been around for decades and appears in Palestinian folklore and revolutionary songs, but it is often labelled pro-Hamas.  

Many - like Moses - believe it's a call to destroy Israel.   

"It is offensive. It is widely understood to be a call for the annihilation of Israel and quite possibly the Jewish people," Moses said.   

The phrase is included in Hamas' manifesto and Moses wants answers from Swarbrick.  

"I think she should explain why she used it and what exactly she meant by using it and what her intentions were."  

Neither Swarbrick nor her boss Marama Davidson - who was also there on Saturday - would do any explaining on Monday.   

Instead the Greens sent a statement which did not address why Swarbrick chose to use such an inflammatory chant.  

But Newshub's learned of some disquiet about the remarks. One Green insider told Newshub she undermined her calls for peace and justice by deliberately using such a charged phrase.