We’ve received many followers these past few days, and we here at Eretz Yisrael want to thank everyone for being with us. We love you all, and we do this for you all! :)
קיבלנו כל כך הרבה מעריצים בשבוע הזה, ואנחנו, ארץ ישראל, רוצים להודות לכולם. אנחנו אוהבים אתכם, ואנחנו כותבים מפני התמיכה שלכם. תודה רבה. :)
Each of us comes to this earth for the express purpose of fulfilling a mission. Some people enjoy a long life and others pass away at a young age.
Our souls come to this earth for certain Tikkunim (soul rectifications) and others have to fulfill special tasks. The reason why some people live longer and others don’t is beyond our understanding."
Rabbi Shalom Arush - The Garden of Emunah
by Ryan Bellerose (Ryan Bellerose is a Metis from Alberta. He founded Canadians for Accountability, a Native rights advocacy group, and is an Idle No More movement organizer. He is also a founding member in the Calgary United with Israel (CUWI) organization)
Justice for Palestinians is attempting to organize with the Council of Canadians a conference titled “Indigenous Perspectives on Water: Canada and Palestine.”
The objective is to conflate Palestinian and Native rights issues. Indeed, Justice for Palestinians is seeking a speaker from Idle No More, a Native rights movement in which I have been active. I take strong issue with Palestinians’ appropriation of the Native cause.
To begin, though Palestinian propagandists love to characterize Zionism (that is, Jewish nationalism) and the re-establishment of Israel in 1948 as colonial enterprises, it is the Jews who are aboriginal to the Holy Land. Alone among other nations, Jews’ language, history, culture and folklore were born and forged in the Holy Land. There is no statute of limitations on being indigenous. Accordingly, to claim the Jews are colonizers in the Holy Land delegitimizes all indigenous peoples because such attempts trivialize the unbreakable, maternal ties to the land that make us, like the Jews, indigenous.
In stark contrast, Arabs arrived to the Holy Land only in the seventh century, when Arabian armies colonized the Middle East. Longstanding presence may generate rights, but it is not synonymous with being indigenous. For example, Europeans have been on American soil for centuries but that does not render them indigenous in the political sense. Like Arabic culture in the Holy Land, white North American culture was imported via empire.
Tellingly, Palestinians are silent with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples still dominated by Arab states from Morocco to Iraq.
Second, there can be no comparison of the Palestinians’ experience to that of Native Canadians. North American indigenous peoples suffered unprecedented genocide. Our people were obliterated through massacres, disease, starvation and forced assimilation in an attempt to remove us from the pages of history. (This, ironically, was the declared aim of the Arab armies that attacked Israel in 1947.) Sixty-five million people were reduced to less than three. The Palestinians, on the other hand, have grown from a population of approximately one million in 1948 to more than six million today. The average Palestinian under Israeli rule lives in conditions that our people could only have dreamed of and that are often better than those on reservations. Moreover, the Palestinians have received approximately $30 billion in international aid since 1993. This, despite the fact that Palestinian nationalism’s preferred method of expression has been terrorism.
Third, I am offended that my people’s cause appears to serve merely as a prop for Palestinian propaganda. For example, I have seen materials juxtaposing Native-American symbols — the feather, a symbol of peace — to AK-47 assault rifles, a symbol of Arab militantism. And yet, unlike most Palestinian nationalist groups across the board, Native rights movements seek to be peaceful and inclusive. Palestinian groups who are otherwise all too eager to wrap themselves in the indigenous mantle systematically ignore this crucial difference.
Zionist activists, on the other hand, seem genuinely motivated to help and have shared innovative agricultural techniques with Native groups. They have highly relevant water technology to share as well. They are democratic and don’t exaggerate the tragedies they have suffered. And they listen. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
For too long, we Natives have let an uncompromising and reactionary Palestinian narrative substitute for facts. But today the stakes are too high for that. The Canadian government is currently fighting to remove protections from our waters. The impact of these measures could be considerable as many Indian communities still rely heavily on natural water sources. Natives cannot let themselves be used merely as ornamentation to often-damaging Palestinian propaganda.
Alas, bad news from Indonesia, which otherwise has managed its counter-radicalization program well in recent years. The last synagogue in Java—a historical building that predated Indonesian independence—has been destroyed after having been blockaded for several years by Indonesian Islamists. From the Jakarta Globe:
The last vestige of one Indonesia’s oldest and largest Jewish communities is now just a pile of rubble. Beth Shalom in Surabaya — Java’s one and only synagogue — was demolished in May after being sealed off by Islamic hard-liners in 2009. “It’s not clear when exactly it was demolished and who did it,” Freddy Istanto, the director of the Surabaya Heritage Society (SHS), told the Jakarta Globe. “In mid-May, I was informed by a member of the SHS that the synagogue was destroyed. In disbelief, I went over there and it had been flattened.”
The Jewish community in Indonesia may have withered, but the protection of such heritage sites is crucial to any semblance of tolerance in society.
Many hardline Islamists seek to not only rid their present society of religious and sectarian diversity, but also retroactively cleanse their past so that the presence and contribution of minorities are forgotten. Indonesia now has only one synagogue left.
Let us hope that the Indonesian government will not once again turn a blind eye. To do so will be to convince radicals that they have carte blanche to act outside the law, and will convince the outside world that Indonesia’s reputation for moderation and tolerance is ill-deserved.