Palestine Without Smears: Why Israel and Natives Aren't Natural Allies

Robert Warrior

Ryan Bellerose’s unfortunate recent op-ed essay in Indian Country Today Media Network, “Don’t Mix Indigenous Fight with Palestinian Rights," would be laughable and easy to dismiss given how heavy on bluster and light on accuracy it is. The essay, however, employs ugly characterizations and simplistic historical analysis in discussing deadly important and serious issues regarding American Indians, Israel and Palestine. Seeing what connects the Native world to the Middle East is challenging to many ICTMN readers, but a clear dividing line is emerging between American Indian defenders of Israel and the growing number of us who support the Palestinian boycott divestment, and sanctions movement.

The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, for instance, made news in December for being one of three academic groups based in North America to endorse the Palestinian campaign for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel. In his essay, Bellerose derisively attacks some of the incredibly fine people who have been involved in the boycott campaign. They deserve better, especially in this forum.

Bellerose uses his unfair attacks and a flawed version of Middle East history as a smokescreen behind which he focuses on personalities and red herrings in defending Israel and scratching his head over how any right-thinking Native person could stand up for Palestinians, all the while ignoring the indisputable facts at hand. Among those are the ongoing brutality and death that Israel’s occupation has brought to Palestine. Israel not only regularly and illegally confiscates Palestinian lands, it literally blows up Palestinian homes, house by house.

While this brutality goes on unabated, Israel continues to build settlements on Palestinian lands, and those lands are typically the most resource-rich in Palestine. Those settlements are opposed by nearly every country in the United Nations. What makes all this possible is the protection of the United States, with its veto power in the UN Security Council. What pays for the occupation and the settlements is the more than three billion taxpayer dollars the US sends to the state of Israel every year. That’s more money than the US sends to any other foreign country (not to mention more than it spends on the BIA). The issues of illegal land confiscation and violence-driven occupation resonate with me as an Osage, but I am also concerned as a taxpayer about what the US is doing with my taxes and in my name.

In his essay, Bellerose takes issue with a panel earlier this month at an academic conference in Beirut, Lebanon reported beforehand by ICTMN in late December. The panel was critical of the increasing number of elected tribal leaders like Navajo President Ben Shelly who have made publicly prominent visits to Israel, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials. Bellerose complains that the panel and conference didn’t include “actual Indians who have the knowledge and background to discuss these issues.” He also writes, “We wouldn’t be welcome in the conference because we are able to speak for ourselves.” Bellerose premises his essay on the assertion that “Its important for us to examine who these people are who are claiming to speak on behalf of Native Americans, because they hide their bigotry underneath our banner.”

The accusation of bigotry is important, and I’ll discuss it more, but first let me clear up Bellerose’s wrong-headed basic assertions. Several “actual Indians,” in fact, participated in the planning and execution of the conference at the American University in Beirut, including me. As Bellerose admits among his contributions to the comments thread of the online version of his essay, I wrote one of the panel’s papers, and even though I was not able to attend because of weather-related travel issues, the paper was read for me in my absence. My contribution focused on the way both the United States and Israel have used biblical accounts of the conquest of Canaan to justify the military conquest of the lands they occupy.

My interest in these complex issues began nearly three decades ago, when I spent two summers as a volunteer archeologist for the Israeli government’s Department of Antiquities and Museums and traveled extensively in Israel and Palestine. Later in the 1980s, I continued to learn about the ancient and modern history of the region as a graduate student at Yale University and Union Theological Seminary in New York City. While in New York, I became a student of Columbia University professor Edward Said, a Palestinian American scholar and one of the most influential thinkers of the past half-century. I have never claimed to be a Middle East specialist as a scholar, but my knowledge has seemed to me sufficient.

I was not the only American Indian scholar who participated in the panel and the conference. Joanne Barker (Delaware), Melanie Yazzie (Navajo), Nick Estes (Lakota), and Kent Lebsock (Lakota) made presentations in other sessions. Jacki Rand (Choctaw) had to cancel in the months leading up to the conference, but participated in formulating our panel. Let me add that the conference was not only about Native issues, but rather focused on a broad range of topics that connect North America to the Middle East. Yazzie, who has recently traveled to Palestine, graciously read my paper. Bellerose may disagree with all of us, but he’s flat out wrong in saying no qualified American Indians took part.

Bellerose is even more wrong in his characterizations of the other panelists, most egregiously J. Kēhaulani Kauanui. He misquotes her as saying she is “part Indigenous Hawaiian,” a phrase she would not use to describe herself. Kauanui, who has written about Native Hawaiian issues and Palestinian issues for ICTMN, describes herself as Kanaka Maoli, which is what Native Hawaiians call themselves, as many ICT readers already know. Bellerose, however, seems to want to nudge us into thinking of Kauanui as less than sufficiently Indigenous.

He’s picked the wrong target. Kauanui can trace with remarkable detail the generations of her Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian lineages, and she speaks with tremendous first-hand experience and knowledge of Hawaiian traditions, protocol, history, and contemporary politics. As a scholar, she has an impeccable record of excellence and leadership. Her political work often intersects with the issues she writes about in her scholarship. She is fierce political partisan, and I’ll add that she is just as fiercely loyal as a friend. Her book Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity is a great starting point for those (including Bellerose) with limited knowledge of Kanaka issues.

Kauanui also hosts a weekly radio show, Indigenous Politics from Native New England and Beyond. Though currently on hiatus, the hour-long show has been on the air and available as a podcast for over five years. It has featured guests from Indigenous communities around the world, including the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand, and many others. “I am getting tired of reading this woman’s claims,” Bellerose writes. If he wants to keep up with Kauanui and her razor sharp skills as a thinker, activist, and organizer, he’s going to need to rest up. She’s already running circles around him.

Indeed. In other recent writings, Bellerose has criticized the endorsement by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association of the Palestinian call to academic and cultural boycott of Israel. As with the Beirut conference, Bellerose claims that NAISA is an organization of non-Native, non-Indigenous people. However, Kauanui and I were among the organizers of the drive to gain NAISA’s boycott endorsement, and the two of us were among the six founders of the association. All six founders and many hundreds of the association’s members are Indigenous, with American Indian, First Nations, and Metis people making up the bulk of that number.

In his rant against the Beirut panel, Bellerose says that he would “also like to know who this ‘Ashtan’ person is and what enables him to speak to this so-called ‘solidarity’ with Idle No More.” Bellerose is referring not to someone named Ashtan, but to Sa’ed Atshan, a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University and a graduate of Harvard. Atshan, who grew up in the West Bank, has written for ICTMN before on Palestinian issues and has focused some of his work on connections that Palestinian activists have made with the Idle No More movement in Canada. (Bellerose identifies himself as one of the organizers of Idle No More, though he has been quoted as saying “pretty much anyone can step up and say, ‘Hey, I’m a spokesperson for’” Idle No More).

Atshan is a serious and brave scholar who is fighting not just for justice in Palestine, but also for LGBTQ people everywhere. His work on solidarity between Palestinians and people involved in Idle No More is based on abundant evidence from interactions that occurred when INM was at its high point. Whether Bellerose agrees or not, those examples were often profound, and regular readers of ICTMN might recall several stories here that reported on those actions of Palestinian solidarity. A poster project became perhaps the most intriguing. To see what Atshan based his presentation on, search the Internet for Idle No More Palestine. (If you search for Idle No More Israel, by the way, you’ll find that same set of Palestinian-related links and several pro-Israel blog posts, virtually all of them by Ryan Bellerose).

Even as Bellerose misidentifies and unfairly dismisses Atshan, he leaves out the other Palestinian from the panel, Steven Salaita, even though he is perhaps the best equipped to speak to all sides of the issues involved. Salaita, a Palestinian American who teaches at Virginia Tech, earned a PhD in English from the University of Oklahoma, where he took advantage of that university’s many American Indian-related resources and faculty while writing a dissertation (later published as a book) that is the first full-length comparative study of contemporary Palestine and Native America. Along with that book, Salaita has written five others.

These are wonderful people and excellent scholars. Bellerose baselessly and in several cases namelessly attacks them in his flimsy and simplistic effort to argue that Israelis and Indigenous peoples are obvious and natural allies. He lays out a version of Middle East history that makes Jewish people the only group indigenous to Palestine and seeks to delegitimize Palestinian claims to their own homelands. In doing so, Bellerose picks and chooses among what he claims are facts that are “easily verified.” He fails to mention, among many other examples, the list of peoples in the Bible, including the Canaanites, Philistines, Jebusites, and Hittites, that Yahweh, the god of the Israelites, commanded the “chosen people” to exterminate in their quest to lay claim to the land Yahweh promised to them.

Archeological and other evidence suggests that something other than what we read about in the Christian Old Testament/Hebrew Bible actually led to the establishment of ancient Israel. Rather than those various groups of Indigenous people of the area becoming exterminated, the record seems to indicate that incorporation, not extermination, brought them together. Nothing about this history is as simple or straightforward as Bellerose says.

Because his rather simplistic version of the contemporary and historical Middle East does not agree with those on the Beirut panel and that of the vast majority of those who have critically studied the region’s complex archeological and documented past and present, Bellerose calls Kauanui and the rest of us “partially educated.” He employs stereotypical imagery of Palestinians, presumably including Atshan and Salaita, as natural born terrorists thirsty for Jewish blood. In the comments section of the online version of his essay, Bellerose calls me “stupid” and “a useful idiot.”

We’ve all been called worse and survived, so I won’t belabor Bellerose’s lack of decency and manners (and at least he admits I am useful!). I will, though, point out the way much of what Bellerose and others in the pro-Israel camp deploy—stereotypes of opponents as violent, ignorant, and intellectually inferior—is eerily familiar to me and lots of other Indigenous scholars and artists who have endorsed the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, including Simon Ortiz (Acoma Pueblo), LeAnne Howe (Choctaw), Lee Maracle (Sto:lo), Vicente Diaz (Pohnpeian), Aileen Moreton-Robinson (Geonpul), Barker, Yazzie, and Rand.

That eery familiarity, however powerful, is not the primary basis of my 28 years of public solidarity with Palestinians. The issue of Palestine, Israel, and indigeneity has many layers and is anything but resolved. But it doesn’t have to be resolved for me to make up my mind in favor of standing in solidarity with Palestinian people. Similarly, I did not demand that marriage equality be somehow provably traditional among Navajo, Cherokee, or Osage people when I have publicly opposed legislation by these tribal nations against gay marriage. Likewise, I did not require clear guidance that Cherokee tradition demands racial justice to stand in solidarity with disenfranchised Cherokee freedmen. So, neither do I need Palestinians to qualify themselves as Indigenous before I understand their struggle to be connected to mine.

The reaction to ICTMN op-ed pieces on the Middle East over the past couple of years have revealed a disheartening lack of knowledge and compassion among American Indian and First Nations people about these issues. That seems especially true when you slog through the comments threads. Along with the usual Zionist suspects who patrol the Internet seeking to discredit any criticism of Israel and its occupation, comments from uncritical fans of Israel and from Bellerose on his own article expose those commenting as all too eager to sling mud.

The Indigenous world needs forums like this one to be places we can turn to for serious discussion and debate about the costs and benefits of participating in these complex issues. We won’t get to that sort of discussion so long as essays like Bellerose’s fill space that could and should be given over to people with something more substantial and less personal to say.

Robert Warrior is a member of the Osage Nation and Professor of American Indian Studies, English, and History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is the author or coauthor of five books, including Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee (with Paul Chaat Smith). He is the founding president of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association and first wrote for ICTMN in 1989, when it was the Lakota Times.




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ptenberg's picture
Ryan said many times that he has no monopoly on the opinions of First Nations people. It is ironic that Mr. Warrior thinks that he does. Ryan makes a lot of sense and his opinion is factual and educated. You have not presented a single reference or link other than fleeting mentioning of some vague "archaeological evidence" to substantiate any of your statements. At the end Ryan comes out more academic and logical, that someone who calls himself the "Professor". Honestly you come off as a little bloviated and superficial. That's just my observation. Maybe you need to do a little bit more research into the real archaeological evidence that is being discovered every day in Jerusalem, and other areas of Israel, including the dead sea scroll before you start writing articles about it.
Shadowstands's picture
Seems my comments just keep getting lost on here. And no, I think that Dr. Warrior has little to no expertise in Levantine History, Languages, Cultures and Political Affairs. I do think that no matter how long a place has been conquered, that it does not make the Conquerors Indigenous, it makes them Native, e.g. they were born and grew up in that place, that doesn't make them "Indigenous" as in first Peoples, nor in fact, do I think that because you were forcibly removed from your Indigenous Homelands, that that makes you no longer Indigenous to those Lands, e.g., the Tsalagi are Native to Oklahoma, they are Indigenous to Georgia, the Carolinas, et. al. Hawaiians born in California are Native, the Ohlone are Indigenous. Dr, Warrior doesn't seem to understand this, and keeps trying to draw analogies his academic fellows are gung-ho over. He needs to return to school to learn to speak Arabic, Aramaic and Hebrew. But perhaps all he really needs to do is to quit trying to drag NDN Country into a Tribal Fight not their own. His need to be a leftist seeking "solidarity" has clouded his vision about what is, or is not of value to NDN Country...and forgive me, I am indeed prejudiced against any group who would willingly see my Lakota Relative's Ceremonies and Spirituality destroyed, or advocate for genocide, ethnic cleansing, and expropriation of any People...and that is exactly what he and his fellow liberal, leftists expound doing to Jewish Folks, and have indeed been trying to do so for quite awhile now. Google up "Farhoud" if you doubt that, or go take a look at the "Arab Invasions, circa 632 A.D. My question is: Why does he want NDN Country to get involved?
Franniebannanie's picture
I agree with you, Mr. Warrior, that the indigenous world needs forums for serious discussion and debate. As a Jewish person, indigenous to the Land of Israel, I would like to discuss and debate a few things you mention in your article. You contend that Mr. Bellerose unjustly criticized your qualifications as a panelist at an academic conference you recently attended. You state that your contribution focused on ways the “United States and Israel have used biblical accounts of the conquest of Canaan to justify the military conquest of the lands they occupy,” wherein there is, again in your words, “ongoing brutality and death” being perpetrated unabated against the Palestinians, with Palestinian homes being blown up, “house by house.” Mr. Warrior, our claims to the Land of Israel as our Jewish homeland are not based on what is written in the Bible. Rather, they are based on the enormous wealth of archeological and well-documented, verifiable historical evidence of our uninterrupted presence in the land for well over 2000 years. As someone who has participated in archeological digs in Israel, I’m sure you know this, despite your admission that you are not a Middle East scholar. As you say, your knowledge has always seemed sufficient to yourself. Well, one must be one’s own best advocate. I also couldn’t help but notice the incredible detail with which you list the credentials of your colleagues. Yet you were just a tad skimpy on the details of those heinous human rights violations, the “ongoing brutality and death” you refer to being perpetrated by Israelis as we speak. Who are all these Palestinians being unjustly brutalized and killed, having their houses blown up for no reason? Where is your evidence of this? Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Warrior. I’m not saying that in the past 70 some odd years, during this horrible conflict between the Palestinian Arabs and the Israelis that innocent people haven’t been killed on both sides. They have, and it is tragic. And it must end. But to cast the blame solely on the Israelis? Now who is being unjustly critical, sir? It is you who is unjustly criticizing the people of Israel. It is you who unjustly criticizes the U.S., the State of Israel and Mr. Bellerose by claiming the latter fails to mention “the list of peoples in the Bible, including the Canaanites, Philistines, Jebusites, and Hittites, that Yahweh, the god of the Israelites, commanded the “chosen people” to exterminate in their quest to lay claim to the land Yahweh promised to them,” and then turning around and accusing us of using Biblical accounts to justify our claim to the Land! It is you who is using the Bible as an historical account, something no scholar of the Middle East or any other discipline worth his Dead Sea salt would ever do. So, Mr. Warrior, what exactly is your basis for your “28 years of public solidarity with Palestinians?” Is it your mutual respect for citing bogus historical references? Is it your ability to tap dance around an argument for which you have no valid response by diverting attention to your feelings of indignation? I’m sorry if Mr. Bellerose hurt your feelings. I’m sure you’re a very nice guy. And I have nothing whatsoever but the utmost respect for all Native American people and their histories. You see, Mr. Warrior, Native American people and Jewish people have much in common. We are both an ancient, strong, proud people who have been wrongfully maligned and displaced throughout history. And we are both indigenous to our lands. Peace to you, sir. Peace to all of us.
Ryanbellerose's picture
I have submitted a responce to this poorly written screed that addresses none of my actual argument. I also find it really humorous that several of the comments posted in here are actually a better read than Mr. Warriors article. how this person manages to convince anyone that he is an academic is beyond me. I would like to see him answer shadowstands questions, because clearly he doesn't want to actually argue any of my actual arguments. I wonder why that is?
Ryanbellerose's picture
I had submitted a responce that was more heavily edited than this, however this is suitable for the comments section of such a poorly written article.. I read Robert Warrior's "rebuttal" to my article, not expecting to encounter any valid criticism because Mr. Warrior has never demonstrated a great ability to think critically or to understand the context of history. It becomes more clear when I come across his ramblings that his rudimentary grasp of history stems not only from a lack of knowledge, but also from a desire to confirm his personal biases. The mental gymnastics he uses to justify some of his positions appear to me to be glaringly evident, but I will again answer him point by point. Mr. Warrior states that my article was heavy on bluster, but I note that he was unable to refute a single fact with verifiable evidence. His suggestion that Naisa is one of 3 groups that supported this racist and bigotted boycott is the only factual thing in a paragraph designed to play on a lesser-informed reader's heartstrings. Mr. Warrior then states, "Bellerose uses unfair attacks and a flawed version of middle eastern history." If, by "unfair attacks," he means to suggest that I called out people who are not Native for pretending to speak on behalf of Natives, then I suppose he might be correct; however, it is also a fact that I believe we don't need "Palestinians" and Native Hawaiians to speak for us. Perhaps it is Mr. Warrior's view that it is unfair to suggest that actual Native Americans can speak for ourselves. I would like for Mr Warrior to explain exactly which part of my history lesson was flawed. Does he take issue with the fact that the Arabs conquered the entire Middle East in the seventh century? That the Palestinians have not only accepted the conqueror's mantle, but have also embraced it? He continues to use sentimental, emotionally manipulative language to persuade the reader of the correctness of his argument, surely knowing that he is failing on factual presentation and continues to use the catchphrase "Palestinian lands," even though the history, the archaeology and the anthropology all refute his assertion, unsurprising, given his own investment in the subject. if he admits he has been wrong all this time, several papers he has written are invalidated. Mr Warrior goes on to quote the United Nations, despite the fact that its international credibility has suffered tremendously in light of its appointment of known human rights abusers to UN organisations whose very aim is to identify nothing less than... human rights abuse. Mr. Warrior ignores the United Nations' increasingly strident and increasingly anti-Israel positions, sticking its head in the sand, even in light of UNESCO's recent cancellation of an exhibition called "The 3,500-Year-Old Relationship of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel." It was cancelled, as has been well-reported to pressure from outspoken representatives of the Arab community - people, in fact, who are invested heavily in the idea that an indigenous people do not have an inherent right to self determination on their ancestral lands. It is a FACT, not supposition on my part, that the UN once censured Israel 13 times in one year, while condemning the actual genocide in Rwanda ONCE. It is a FACT that objective voices recognised the need to create a watchdog organisation called www.unwatch.org, just to show the world that people ARE paying attention. Unlike Robert Warrior, I actually pay attention to facts. Warrior then goes on to criticise my assertion that the Panel doesn't consist of actual Indians: I stand by that assertion in a group calling itself NAISA, NATIVE AMERICAN STUDIES AND INDIGENOUS STUDIES. I not only expect to see actual indigenous people, but actual Native Americans, in more than a token capacity. I read your "paper," with its poor writing, and incredibly poor research, hand in hand with its conflation of Israel with the United States, which is a flawed comparison from the start and only gets worse the more you belabour your incorrect comparisons. I would love to debate this with you, and your assertion of several decades of research does not constitute debate. Warrior's self-congratulatory attempt at an appeal to authority argument by stating all his "qualifications" could be effective only if his stated position were not so incredibly flawed. The entire basis of his argument is that the Palestinians are indigenous but any thinking person can see that an assertion that conquerors can become indigenous through conquering and subsuming indigenous people is not only wrong, but catastrophically wrong and dangerous to our own indigenous rights. Mr. Warrior doesn't claim to be a Middle Eastern specialist, nor does he offer serious credentials to support his argument. Mr. Warrior goes on at great length to defend his friend J. Kēhaulani Kauanui and talks about her ability to track her Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian heritage, while studiously avoiding the fact that she refuses to speak about how much "kanaka maoli" blood she in fact carries, or where she grew up, and what traditions she followed growing up. A Hawaiian acquaintance listened to her "radio show" and laughed at her mispronunciations of Hawaiian words, not a great testament to the cultural validity of someone who Warrior claims speaks "with tremendous first-hand experience and knowledge of Hawaiian traditions, protocol, history, and contemporary politics." He then says that she has a radio show and infers that it will be a great effort for me to match her razor sharp skills, though I've encountered nothing that Kauanui writes to support that assertion. I've still seen no answer to the questions that were asked; and as I said in my article, Native Hawaiians, while they have a history of similiar character, do NOT share OUR history, not even remotely. Mr. Warrior's claim that Naisa is made up of native people is vague in the extreme: if he wishes to refute my claim, I expect him to provide COLD HARD NUMBERS, and not the unsubstantiated misinformation he has provided so far. It seems that he does not even know the actual composition of his own membership, though perhaps he didn't anticipate that anyone would challenge him with an inconvenient request for factual substantiation of his argument. In regards to "Atshan" ( as spelled in your friend's article), I stand by what I said, I think it's humourous that Mr. Warrior attempts to call my own involvement with INM into question. I have organised several events in Calgary, been the security liason for several more, and participated in several other events; however, I have repeatedly stated that this is a grassroots movement and that we are ALL leaders. Writing articles talking about "Palestinian solidarity with INM" doesn't mean they are actually in solidarity with us at all. The lack of respect shown to our people, such as the pressuring of respected indigenous artists, demonstrates that they are not in solidarity with us - but of course, Mr. Warrior was part of that particular bullying campaign against indigenous artists, if memory serves correctly. Your attempt to conflate writing books with somehow being more knowledgable or moral is also sign that your own scholarship is suspect; in fact, some of the greatest scholars in history haven't written excessive numbers of screeds filled with vitriol - some of us work for a living. I find it almost sad that Mr. Warrior attacks my historical based claims with "verification" from the Bible, because at no point did I base any of my arguments on Biblical sources. Perhaps it would benefit him to reread what I wrote, because as scholars well know, and as many people who don't call themselves scholars also know, while the Bible may be a very good read, it is not a perfect historical account (unless, of course you believe the world is six thousand years old, and that dragons were flying around). About the only truthful thing Mr. Warrior stated was that it's complex and that several peoples were incorporated, but he fails utterly when he tries to claim that a people who self-identify as Arabs are somehow connected to those events and people. I did enjoy that Mr Warrior attempted to drop the racist card on me, suggesting that I believe all his friends to be terrorists, but feel that this argument would be more forceful if he could provide some specific example of such an assertion on my part. I was also impressed that he wrote almost a page without using the word Zionist incorrectly, though I note that in the end, he reverted to form. Kudos on the attempt, however! I stated very clearly that Indigenous status stems from several things, but primarily the genesis of culture and language in conjunction with longstanding presence and maternal ties to the ancestral lands. Mr Warrior has given no argument to that, despite its being the crux of this entire debate. Rather, he chose to make this personal, attempting to insinuate that he is an educated native person with more qualifications and therefore greater credibility than some average, everyday Indian from Northern Alberta who - obviously - could not possibly measure up. The facts, though, are the facts, and in this case, not only are the facts on my side, but your stunning lack of a coherent argument against them not only shows the rightness of my argument, but also that Mr. Warrior is, once again, catastrophically wrong and that his intransigence in this position actually damages the struggle for Indigenous rights.
aliberaldoseofskepticism's picture
@Lgáa: "Logical". You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. (Hint: Ad hominem isn't logical. God, I wish people would stop confusing obvious fallacies with logic. You even have people who refer to their own argument as a 'slippery slope'.)
nehikat's picture
I stand in firm solidarity with the Palestinian people. My reasoning? Pure and simple: I am against colonialism, period. Zionism is a particularly rabid and violent form of colonialism and is built upon the notion of manifest destiny and terra nullius both. Any simple superficial bit of research will bear this out. Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, Ariel Sharon, Moshe Sharett all have expressed profoundly racist views, even to the point of calling for genocide and ethnic cleansings of Arabs from the Holy Land. If this were white people and American Indians, no AI would have difficulty discerning who the offender is here. As an Indigenous person who is politically aware, there is no way in good conscience I could support the state of Israel in its colonial mandates (in 1975 the UN General Assembly declared zionism a racist ideology) and mission against the Palestinian people any more than I could support the USA in its colonial mandates and missions against my own people. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, etc. If the shoe were on the other foot and it were Palestinians colonizing Jews, I would be in support of Jews.