In 1968, Palestinian terrorists hijacked an El-Al plane, and got away with it. They used the tactic repeatedly after that, with varying degrees of success. The most infamous incident was the forcing of Air France plane to Entebbe, Uganda, and Israel’s successful rescue of the hostages.
More such rescue operations are required these days, but not of aircraft. The Palestinians and their Islamist allies have taken to hijacking peoples and
causes. For example, in nineteen seventy five Betty Friedan, a feminist trailblazer, led the American delegation to an International Woman’s Year World Conference. She was stunned by the conference’s anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. A 1980 Women’s Conference in Copenhagen had a huge portrait of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, a man at the forefront of the oppression of women, decorating the conference chamber.
Although Israel is the only place in the Middle East where homosexuals are legally protected from persecution, Toronto’s annual gay pride parade has frequently featured the participation of “Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.” That homosexuals would promote a movement that brutally oppresses them points to the effectiveness of Palestinian hijacking techniques.
Hijacking Aboriginal Americans- a special publication from the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
The collection of articles in this publication examines the relation between Aboriginal American and Jewish issues, focusing on the perceived attempt to hijack the Native American struggle for rights and recognition into the framework of Palestinian suffering. Native Americans are viewed as the quintessential victims, having suffered genocide, theft of lands and consequent marginalization. This fits into the casting of the Palestinians as victims of colonialism and oppression.
The hijacking doesn’t just take place through protest marches and conferences. A Wisconsin Ojibwa Indian told me of her fear of the inroads Muslims have made in the local native communities, marrying Indian women and then using their new status to gain influence in native affairs and policies. An expert in Southwest Indian art claims that Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian Arabs have been buying Aboriginal American art businesses in Arizona and New Mexico, then selling “Navajo” art made in the Philippines. When I asked him to write about this for our publication he refused, not even wanting his name mentioned. “People have been killed,” he explained.
The left has long revered the oppression of native peoples, and tried to make the most of it. Pretend aboriginal Americans such as Ward Churchill and Elizabeth Warren used ostensible native identity to advance their careers. Steven Salaita, a minor academic who has written peans glorifying Palestinian suffering was supposed to join the American Indian studies program at the University of Illinois; his overt anti-Semitism got in the way.
Also getting in the way is that many Aboriginal Americans aren’t interested in perpetually playing the victim. It doesn’t fit their traditions or values. And while they may have been downtrodden in the past, they don’t want that to define their future. They want to make their own lives.
The Navajo, for example want to improve the efficiency of their agriculture. We provide a link below on how the Navajo nation is working with Israel to improve its expertise on efficient irrigation in an arid climate.
Other aboriginal Americans are businessmen, professionals. Many, both men and women, have served in the military, and cannot accept the reflexive anti-Americanism of the Palestinian agenda. Many are devout Christians, and cannot accept the Muslim agenda. But more than that, they are themselves. Native Americans are not anybody else’s stooge or weapon. The attention from the left may be enjoyable for a time, but ultimately it is another form of cooption, another form of exploitation. The Palestinians may claim that they are “indigenous,” but as our contributors deftly show, there is no moral or historical equivalency with aboriginal Americans.
Most popular opinion agrees that mankind has a common place of origin, whether in the Garden of Eden in some unknown location between the Tigris and Euphrates, or somewhere in Africa. If you go back far enough, everybody on earth has common indigenous roots.
It’s when we start going only part way back that things get more complicated. Populations have never been stable. The Bible (cf. eg. 2 Kings 17) tells us how the Assyrians displaced whole nations, replacing them with populations from elsewhere. If we prefer non-Biblical sources, speakers of the Turkic language group (Ottoman Empire) can be found far from their Turkish homeland, in China and Siberia, where they are now indigenous peoples.
Examples can be found in North America as well, such as the disappearance of the Tunnit (Dorset)peoples of the north, displaced by Inuit and Indians. The Cheyenne were pushed out of the Great Lakes area, in turn coming into conflict with other Native Americans and of course the U.S. Army. The Inuit battled the Ojibwa, Cree and Athabaskan Indians for territory. Warfare and population transfer happened both before and after the onset European colonization. Are Native Americans indigenous to the specific places they now inhabit? A bigger question is “does this matter?”
If we adopt a synchronic criterion of indigenous status, that is, a definition at a specific point of time, then everyone and no one is indigenous. Whether we shout “1967,” “1948,” “1867” (Canada’s independence from Britain), “1763” or “1492,” we run into problems when indigenous status reflects a particular slice of time. This simplistic approach may be useful for sloganeering, but our contributors take a more sophisticated approach.
Ryan Bellerose and David Yeagley, each coming from opposing sides of the political spectrum, observe how Native American rights are an attractive issue used to legitimate other causes. Many movements have tried to appropriate or incorporate oppression of Native Americans into their own causes. As Margaret Atwood pointed out in Survival, her guide to Canadian literature, the Indians have become the quintessential victims, doomed to forever remain so.
Jay Corwin uses a literary approach to negate the victim/ perpetrator narrative as it constrains both Native Americans and Jews, relegating them to a mythological realm. As characters in such a realm, both Jews and Native Americans are condemned, unable to act to bring about their freedom. Perhaps the real sin of Israel in the eyes of the world’s media is its refusal to abide by the rules of fantasy. According to this paradigm, Israel has no right to return fire when it’s attacked. Fantasy characters don’t carry real guns. Bellerose, Yeagley and Corwin argue that refusing to be a victim doesn’t make one into an oppressor. The attempted appropriation of Aboriginal American issues is form of exploitation.
In his “conversation with an Indian friend,” Bellerose lays out the misconceptions that facilitate lumping Israel and the Jews with the oppressors of Native Americans. Once that grouping is made, it’s easier to build Native solidarity with other people who claim to be victims of the same oppressors.
Robinson discusses the ultimate expression of those misconceptions in his account of the Ahenakew affair. David Ahenakew was an important Native American leader, earning the Order of Canada for his achievements on their behalf. He was also a rabid anti-Semite, schooled in hatred in both Germany and Gaza. He was ultimately stripped of the Order of Canada, and his racism denounced by other native leaders.
Ambassador Baker, in his article The Indigenous Rights of the Jewish People, explains the significance of a people being indigenous, in terms of history, politics and law. He uses this to examine concepts of legality and illegality of the presence of Jews in various parts of Israel, rejecting nomenclature that delegitimizes that presence.
Mara Cohen has indigenous status in two worlds: as Lakota Indian and a Jew. Describing the potential of dual status as a source of conflict, she explains how it rather provides the ability to see reality through a number of perspectives, and to move with ease between cultures.
Uqittuk Mark’s connection to Israel is Biblical, rather than political. A devout Christian, he went on an organized Israel pilgrimage to see the land of the Bible. His attachment to the land transcends the politics, while his experience as an Inuk (Eskimo) gives him a clearer perspective to understand the struggles over it.
Finally, while Palestinians and their supporters work hard to appropriate Aboriginal American identity and victimhood, Howard I. Schwartz explains why the early European colonists were convinced that the native people they found in North America actually were Jews: descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes. Schwartz explains the ideology which led the colonists to interpret native culture as primitive Judaism, and then ultimately reject that interpretation when its implications became clear.
What Cause Do Aboriginal Americans Belong To?
The injustices imposed on Aboriginal Americans are dramatic. Their past suffering, their current travails stir many hearts. Their impeccable credentials as victims make them a useful prop for many issues.
But to appropriate Native American issues to support other causes is another form of imperialism: taking from them what is exclusively theirs. Although it’s tempting to equate so-called Palestinian indigenous rights with Native American indigenous rights, the essays in this publication demonstrate that this is a false analogy. It is more: another attempt to hijack, to steal what belongs to the Indigenous peoples of North America.