Courtesy Guevara De La Serna

Palestinians Endorse Idle No More

Gale Courey Toensing
December 29, 2012

American Indians and Palestinians have supported each other’s struggle since at least the 1970s when the American Indian Movement hosted a delegation of leaders from the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

“What the American Indian Movement says is that the American Indians are the Palestinians of the United States, and the Palestinians are the American Indians of the Middle East,” the late great Indian leader Russell Means said many times. So it is no surprise that Palestinian activists are coming out in support of Idle No More.

In little more than two weeks since the December 10 launching of the Idle No More movement by First Nations in Canada oppose a Senate omnibus budget bill that leaves them with no power over their lands and resources, dozens of organizations and hundreds of individuals supporting Palestinian liberation and human rights have endorsed the Palestinians in Solidarity with Idle No More and Indigenous Rights statement of support of the continuing Native protest that has spread across Canada, the U.S., some European countries and into the Middle East. Palestinians in Solidarity with Idle No More and Indigenous Rights calls for justice, dignity, decolonization and protection of the land, waters and resources.

“We recognize the deep connections and similarities between the experiences of our peoples – settler colonialism, destruction and exploitation of our land and resources, denial of our identity and rights, genocide and attempted genocide,” the statement says. “As Palestinians, we stood with the national liberation movement against settler colonialism in South Africa, as we stand with all liberation movements challenging colonialism and imperialism around the world. The struggle of Indigenous and Native peoples in Canada and the United States has long been known to the Palestinian people, reflecting our common history as peoples and nations subject to ethnic cleansing at the hands of the very same forces of European colonization.”

The statement goes on to recognize that the Indigenous resistance movement in Canada “includes struggles against the ongoing theft of indigenous lands, massive resource extraction and environmental devastation (including tar sands and pipelines), the continuing movement of survivors of the genocidal residential school system, and movements to demand an end to the colonial and gendered violence against Indigenous women.”

Palestinians In Solidarity with Idle No More and Indigenous Rights was launched by Vancouver resident Khaled Barakat, a Palestinian writer and community activist whose organization Samidoun focuses on the plight of political prisoners in Israeli jails and also works with Native activists and groups.

“As a Palestinian I try to study the history of the struggle here in Canada and I also see in the present conditions among Native communities that we have a common interest, a joint struggle in so many different ways,” Barakat told Indian Country Today Media Network. “I have a personal conviction that the Palestinian struggle and the struggle of all indigenous peoples around the world are connected.”

Barakat noted that both Palestinians and Native peoples have similar challenges in terms of a lack of unified representation and leadership and that one of the most effective colonialist strategies – divide and conquer – is still alive and well and working to the detriment of unity. “The Zionists, for example, are working so hard on trying to get some of the Native leaders to go and support Israel and some of these chiefs who don’t really represent the actual population and people go to Israel and try to portray that Natives and Israelis have bonds, not Natives and Palestinians, but in the final analysis those individuals’ numbers are not significant. Our numbers and support have to do with grassroots and people in the streets so eventually we will win,” Barakat said.

The core issue for both Native peoples and Palestinians is land, Barakat said, noting that Israel has violated dozens of United Nations resolutions and international laws in illegally occupying and expropriating Palestinian lands for Israeli settlers. “Land is definitely the main issue because of the resources, but it’s also the culture, it’s the history, it’s the ownership. And the economy is a major determining factor in the conflict – whether it’s among First Nations and other Indigenous Peoples here in Canada and the U.S. or Palestine – and the land is very much connected to that,” Barakat said.

An empathy with Native peoples goes back to Barakat’s childhood. As a young boy growing up in Palestine he saw that the Israeli media always portrayed Native peoples as savage, barbaric terrorists – the same terms used to portray Palestinians in the media, he said. “So even when we were children we would fight over who would play the cowboys and who would play the Natives, because everybody always wanted to play the Natives,” he said.

Barakat said it was no coincidence that he chose to begin the call for the Palestinians in Solidarity with Idle No More statement lines from the late Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish’s great epic poem The Speech of the Red Indian. In this poem written in 1992, Darwish captures the passion and sorrow of both Palestinians and Native Americans over what has befallen their peoples – invasion, colonization, ethnic cleansing, genocide, land theft, and imprisonment on tiny postage stamp-sized areas of what had once been their vast homeland.

You who come from beyond the sea, bent on war,

don’t cut down the tree of our names,

don’t gallop your flaming horses across

the open plains….

Don’t bury your God

in books that back up your claim of

your land over our land,

don’t appoint your God to be a mere

courtier in the palace of the King.

“It’s almost an instinctive feeling to see ourselves in the indigenous struggle,” Barakat said. “It’s because of this that Palestinians in general see that what happened and is still happening to Natives in Canada and the U.S. is actually happening now in Palestine.”

 

The below video features the late Russell Means speaking about American Indians and Palestinians relationship.

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

Great article with a lot of truth. Sad but the mainstream media has not and will not share this information. Like the Indians in so many countries sanctioned by the Doctrine of Discovery.

This story deserves to be told, if only for it's informational value.

I am sad that I cannot link this to facebook as the facebook links continue to be inoperative here. But I will copy the URL address and share with others.

Good stories deserve to be told and retold. Hope Indian Country Today fixes this facebook linking problem soon.

Andre Leonard,

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am a North African, born and raised. I am outraged by this article. While alive, Russell Means allied himself with the worst terrorist groups and individuals on the face of the earth, because of his hatred of the American government and nation. Now that he is dead , you are using this worst feature about his life to make him speak posthumously about the struggle of Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, who consider themselves "white":they are not oppressed by Jews, nor do they have a history of being oppressed, but rather the reverse. As Arabs, they have been and are oppressors of all indigenous people of the Mediterranean Basin. I am a member of the International Amazigh indigenous movement which counts over 30 million Berber people living under this oppression in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and the Sahara. We see the Kurds and the Copts as our allies, but we know the origin of the present day Palestinians , displaced Arab people from Jordan and other Arabic countries, who are misrepresenting themselves as 1) indigenous and 2) original settlers of the land they occupy. Please check your facts. AIM also kissed Khadafi's murderous bloody hands to get money from him, Rusell Means included.

Chris7Roberts's picture
Submitted by Chris7Roberts on

Nothing short of seizing government buildings is needed. Nothing short of reoccupying ancient lands is needed. Nothing short of provoking an armed conflict with the army is absolutely needed. Where is your Wounded Knee Idle No More?

Chris Roberts

Submitted by Anonymous on

Most of the population now known as Palestinian descended from migrants originating from the surrounding Arab countries and from local Bedouins. Many migrated in waves from the middle of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century. Others were imported by the Ottoman Empire and by the British for infrastructure and agricultural projects, or migrated to the region following Zionist economic success, which produced a staggering population growth.[41] Palestinians are perhaps the newest of all peoples, comprising many scattered groups. In fact, in origin they are more Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Lebanese, and mainly Bedouin, than Palestinian. Palestinian Arabs, as opposed to Arabic-speaking residents, have not been in the area west of the Jordan River from the Islamic occupation, from the Ottoman Empire, or even from British rule since 1917. No Palestinian state has ever existed, and so, no Palestinian people has ever been robbed of its land. There is no language or dialect known as Palestinian; there is no Palestinian culture distinct from that of surrounding Arab ones; and there has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians at any time in history. For these reasons, Palestinians have been driven to fabricate a past by denying and expropriating that of Jews and Israel. In the United States, where many feel guilt and remorse over historic racism, the Palestinians depict Israel as a racist state, which treats them in the same way as African Americans were treated.[49] For human rights organizations, Israel is a cruel occupier that violates all human rights and freedoms of the Palestinians.[50] In world public opinion, Israel is depicted as an oppressive society that perpetuates systematic extermination and ethnic cleansing.[51] And to Palestinians and other Muslims, the prospect of a Palestinian state is represented as the creation of another proud Arab or pious Muslim state.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Most of the population now known as Palestinian descended from migrants originating from the surrounding Arab countries and from local Bedouins. Many migrated in waves from the middle of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century. Others were imported by the Ottoman Empire and by the British for infrastructure and agricultural projects, or migrated to the region following Zionist economic success, which produced a staggering population growth.[41] Palestinians are perhaps the newest of all peoples, comprising many scattered groups. In fact, in origin they are more Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Lebanese, and mainly Bedouin, than Palestinian. Palestinian Arabs, as opposed to Arabic-speaking residents, have not been in the area west of the Jordan River from the Islamic occupation, from the Ottoman Empire, or even from British rule since 1917. No Palestinian state has ever existed, and so, no Palestinian people has ever been robbed of its land. There is no language or dialect known as Palestinian; there is no Palestinian culture distinct from that of surrounding Arab ones; and there has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians at any time in history. For these reasons, Palestinians have been driven to fabricate a past by denying and expropriating that of Jews and Israel. In the United States, where many feel guilt and remorse over historic racism, the Palestinians depict Israel as a racist state, which treats them in the same way as African Americans were treated.[49] For human rights organizations, Israel is a cruel occupier that violates all human rights and freedoms of the Palestinians.[50] In world public opinion, Israel is depicted as an oppressive society that perpetuates systematic extermination and ethnic cleansing.[51] And to Palestinians and other Muslims, the prospect of a Palestinian state is represented as the creation of another proud Arab or pious Muslim state.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Much gratitude is owed to Anonymous for rebuking tiresome canards that have surrounded Palestinian claims by stating the truth, namely,

"No Palestinian state has ever existed, and so, no Palestinian people
has ever been robbed of its land. There is no language or dialect known
as Palestinian; there is no Palestinian culture distinct from that of
surrounding Arab ones; and there has never been a land known as
Palestine governed by Palestinians at any time in history. For these
reasons, Palestinians have been driven to fabricate a past by denying
and expropriating that of Jews and Israel."

Hardly a more noxious example of a skewed and false analogy could be posited than that between Palestinians and American Indians, notwithstanding the comments of my hero Russell Means. Palestinian writer, Khaled Barakat's claim of empathy is not unwelcome; however, the gist of and probable motive for Palestinian in Solidarity With Idle No More is a resumption of typical PLO propaganda ploys of the 1970s: attempting to co-opt the American Indian Movement (AIM) for self-serving purposes and elusive respectability. Borrowing from Barakat's own observation, the present Palestinian glomming onto First Nations's Idle No More, which issued no urgent call for help from such quarters, he's co-opting "one of the most effective colonialist strategies – divide and conquer" and attempting to add another canard--that of "common interests" and "joint" struggle. No such thing.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The Jewish people actually have much more in common with the North American Native peoples than to the so-called Palestinians. It was, in fact, a pro-'Palestinian' speaker who recently appeared at a large university in the U.S. West and stated that there were no Natives in America. Add that attitude to the Palestinian philosophy of destruction vs. the Native philosophy of harmony, and you begin to understand how very different the two groups really are.

Add new comment

7
Canada
Headline News
Politics
World News