Decolonization Nation // Members of some other tribes offer insight

Among the vilifiers of Israel as an illegitimate “colonial” power—and the line is long and motley—are some Native Americans. They imagine a similarity between indigenous Indian tribes and the Arab population in Eretz Yisrael.

Emphasis is on the word “some.”

Last month, among some 50,000 Canadian Jews and others who participated in a “Walk with Israel” march were Native Americans of a clearly (and clear-minded) different bent.

Members of a group called Indigenous Embassy Jerusalem arrived in Toronto from an international summit of Indigenous Leaders in Seattle.

Addressing supporters of Israel on social media, the former Grand Chief Harvey Yesno of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation of Ontario wrote that “We have made up our minds and believe that your struggle is our struggle…”

Another marcher in Toronto was New Zealander Dr. Sheree Trotter, one of the co-founders of a group called the Indigenous Coalition For Israel (ICFI), which includes native people from the Americas, Australia, Asia, and Africa. She says that while there are Māori—indigenous New Zealanders who comprise 16.5% of the country’s populace—who have jumped on the “pro-Palestinian” bandwagon, there are also many Māori, like herself, who are supporters of Israel.

Anti-colonization ideologues, she says, have perpetuated a false narrative that has become “deeply embedded in people’s understanding of Israel.” Israeli Jews, she informs them, are indigenous to the Holy Land.

Ryan Bellerose, a native Canadian of the Metis community and an indigenous rights activist, likewise decries “the false narrative concerning the Israel-Palestinian conflict [that] has easily taken hold amongst many indigenous peoples.”

He points out how clueless those bandwagon-jumpers are about the history of Jews in Eretz Yisrael. He adds that indigenous Americans are still feeling the “residual effects” of a genocide—millions of Native Americans perished from disease and slaughter during the settling of what became the US and Canada—and can learn much from the Israeli example, where Jewish society was reestablished in the Jewish ancestral land after the Holocaust.

Mr. Bellerose explains that the Jews are decolonizers of the land, which was earlier colonized by a parade of powers over the centuries.

Citing the revival of Hebrew as an example of decolonization, he hopes that other groups, like his ancestral Cree, might be able to revive their ancestral languages as well.

Mindless chanters about a river and sea that many of them can’t even identify might turn their attention to the words of such Native Americans.

They might also benefit from knowing that, over the coming weeks, Jews the world over will be fasting on two separate days, sitting low and reading wrenching elegies on the second one.

And, while there have been many Jewish tragedies during this period of the year—the First Crusade, in 1096, with its massacre of 10,000 Jews in its first month; the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290, from France in 1306 and from Spain in 1492; the start of World War I in 1914, which led to the Second and the Holocaust—the main focus of Shivah Asar B’Tamuz and Tishah B’Av is squarely on the destruction of the batei mikdash [the two Holy Temples] in Yerushalayim and the subsequent exiles of the Jewish people from the land given to them by Hashem.

Jews have lived there since Yehoshua’s time. And many who today lay claim to the label “Palestinians” are in fact descended from successive waves of people who came to the area from other places, such as Egypt, Algeria, Bosnia and what is today Jordan.

The Jewish revival of the land drew yet further Arab immigration. As the Peel Report noted in 1937: “The Arab population shows a remarkable increase…partly due to the import of Jewish capital into Palestine and other factors associated with the growth of the [Jewish] National Home …”

Klal Yisrael’s connection to Eretz Yisrael is what Jews have focused on every Shivah Asar B’Tamuz and Tishah B’Av—for that matter, in every daily tefillah and Birkas Hamazon—for literal millennia.

And yet, clueless protesters and flagrant liars deny the Jewish connection to the Holy Land, characterizing Jews in Eretz Yisrael as interlopers and “occupiers” of a land that “belongs” to others. Their ignorance of history is chasmic.

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