The indigenous people support Israel’s claim to the land

The Indigenous Coalition For Israel just opened an office housed in a Jerusalem museum.

By Avi Kumar, The Algemeiner

During pro-Palestinian marches in the Western world, we have seen several minority groups, including “indigenous” people, who identify with the Palestinians and their claim to be the displaced natives in Israel.

But other indigenous people view things differently.

The Indigenous Coalition For Israel (ICFI) is one organization that aims to change the narrative, consisting of individuals from the Americas, Australia, Asia, and Africa. The ICFI has just launched an office that will be housed within the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem.

Native Americans

Ryan Bellerose, a native Canadian of the Metis mixed-race community, told me that “the false narrative concerning the Israel-Palestinian conflict has easily taken hold amongst many indigenous peoples.”

He feels that many have misunderstood what the term “indigeneity” means. He spoke about how the Jewish people’s ethnogenesis took place in the Levant, just like the Native Americans’ took root in the Americas. He noted that even if Jews lived in the Diaspora at times, their cultural identity “evolved” in the Middle East.

Some on the Palestinian side claim that they have Canaanite roots. Bellerose argued that the Palestinians are “not doing much” to actively preserve or upkeep this Canaanite culture despite the claim.

Bellerose feels that indigenous Americans are still feeling the “residual effects” of a genocide, and can therefore learn a lot from the Israeli example, where Jewish society was “rebuilt” after the Holocaust.

He also cited Israel’s Hebrew revival as a good example of decolonization, and hopes that other groups that have lost their native languages, such as his ancestral Cree, will be able to revive theirs as well.

New Zealand Māoris

Dr. Sheree Trotter is a New Zealand Māori. She said that while some Māori Iwi (clans), including the biggest one, Ngapuhi, issued statements supporting Israel, there is no uniform view across the group.

She noted that there are still many Māori who are pro-Palestinian, among the indigenous minority who are 16.5% of New Zealand.

Trotter said that many Māori became Christianized in recent times, and therefore connect with the story of Israelites. She blamed international forces, such as the Soviet propaganda of the 1960s, for causing many Māori to shift towards identifying with the Palestinian narrative.

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Africa

Olga Washington is a member of the Tswana ethnic group in South Africa, a country that has taken an outsized pro-Palestinian stance in recent years. However, she insists that “the majority of South Africans don’t have such beliefs, even if the ‘loudest voices’ are anti-Israel.”

Washington noted how Israel supported the apartheid regime in South Africa (1948-94), but that continuing to blame Israel for abetting this exhibits “a double standard” since “many other countries” also supported apartheid South Africa, including the US, UK, and Japan.

She insisted that allegations of Israeli apartheid are “not true” — having witnessed apartheid firsthand in South Africa, where the term originated.

She said that during the Cold War era, the Soviets, Cuba, and other forces allied with the now-ruling African National Congress (ANC) party were anti-Zionist, and this legacy has remained. The ANC has been in power since 1994.

She noted how South Africa chose not to support their Miss Universe candidate when the competition was held in Israel in 2021.

“But we still do have diplomatic relations with Israel,” she noted.

“Jews are indigenous to the land and the Palestinian claim is a very self-harming approach as it rejects Jewish indigeneity,” she said. And indigenous people around the world who know the true history of Israel likely agree with her.

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