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“Co-opting today’s native struggle to the Palestinian propaganda war is a fallacy”

“Co-opting today’s native struggle to the Palestinian propaganda war is a fallacy”

I witnessed first hand in law school in the early 1980s the concerted and planned effort by “Palestinians” to co-opt indigenous rights movements to the anti-Israeli cause.

The push was led by people like George Bisharat, now a law professor at UC-Hastings Law School and self-identified Palestinian-American who frequently writes anti-Israeli guest columns in The NY Times, WaPo, and elsewhere.. In reality, there is nothing indigenous about Bisharat’s family’s connection to what now is Israel.  As I demonstrated by quoting a family history Bisharat himself wrote for a Palestinian journal, Bisharat’s ancestors immigrated to Jerusalem in the late 1920s, only actually lived there for a few years, then left for greener pastures abroad before Israel was created. They were neither native nor displaced.

Yet Bisharat has weaved a public persona of a displaced nationality including dramatic accounts of how he returned with his family and cried as he visited his supposed ancestral home:

Instantly my little son embraced my leg, then my daughter hugged my waist, and finally my wife my upper body, and briefly, we stood there huddled together, tears streaking all our faces….

If Bisharat is an indigenous Palestinian, then Elizabeth Warren is an indigenous Cherokee.

So it was satisfying to see a real indigenous person speak out against the Palestinian political abuse of native North Americans, A Native and a Zionist (h/t CAMERA), by Ryan Bellarose:

I am a Métis from Northern Alberta. My father, Mervin Bellerose, co-authored the Métis Settlements Act of 1989, which was passed by the Alberta legislature in 1990 and cemented our land rights. I founded Canadians For Accountability, a native rights advocacy group, and I am an organizer and participant in the Idle No More movement in Calgary. And I am a Zionist….

Many claim that we Natives have more in common with the Palestinians, that their struggle is our struggle.  Beyond superficial similarities, nothing could be farther from the truth.  Beyond the facile co-opting of our cause, the comparison with the Palestinians is absolutely untenable.  It trivializes our suffering.

Co-opting today’s native struggle to the Palestinian propaganda war is a fallacy. Though the Palestinians have undeniable ties to the land, first hand accounts by Mark Twain and countless other travelers to the Holy Land through the ages suggest that a large percentage of the Palestinian people immigrated to Palestine in recent decades.  And for 65 years, the Palestinians have convinced the world that they are worse off than many other stateless nations, despite all evidence to the contrary.  The Palestinians claim to have been colonized but it was their own leaders who refused to negotiate and who lost the land that they want by waging a needless war on Israel.  They claim to have faced genocide but they suffered no such thing: their population has exploded from a few hundred thousand in 1948 to over 4 million today.  They claim deprivation but their elites live in luxury while their people live in ramshackle poverty….

The Palestinians are not like us.  Their fight is not our fight.  We natives believe in bringing about change peacefully, and we refuse to be affiliated with anyone who engages in violence targeting civilians.  I cannot remain silent and allow the Palestinians to gain credibility at our expense by claiming commonality with us. I cannot stand by while they trivialize our plight by tying it to theirs, which is largely self-inflicted.  Our population of over 65 million was violently reduced to a mere 10 million, a slaughter unprecedented in human history.  To compare that in whatever way to the Palestinians’ story is deeply offensive to me. The Palestinians did lose the land they claim is theirs, but they were repeatedly given the opportunity to build their state on it and to partner with the Jews — and they persistently refused peace overtures and chose war.   We were never given that chance.  We never made that choice.

I don’t kid myself that this is some sort of awakening which effect change.  The Palestinian propaganda machine at the United Nations, various other international organizations, and in academia, is too entrenched, too powerful, and too dishonest.

All we can do is keep speaking truth to power.


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Insufficiently Sensitive | February 3, 2013 at 10:18 am

Many thanks to Professor Jacobson for putting this cogent criticism where others can see it – a feat of speaking truth to power that the corrosively partisan NYT would never do.

    Bisharat is a displaced Palestinian the same way Elizabeth Warren is a Cherokee, which is to say not at all except for advancing the liberal narrative under false pretenses.

    Thank goodness for Prof. Jacobson and Legal Insurrection

Hmmmmm….. I’m starting to like this, “self-identified” stuff!

Today, I’m declaring myself a genius and in fact a distant descendent of Albert Einstein, Issac Newton, Ronald Reagan and a host of others. My great grandaddy tol’ me so!

Now that I’m famous, I demand y’awl to give me great respect and not question one word of what I utter.

It’s all true I tell ya…

Professor Bullshit er Bisharat is back.

I hate the term “truth to power”. Why co-opt an ignorant left-tard slogan. Has as much meaning as social-justice. You’re speaking the truth or you aren’t. Creating a “catchy” phrase does not make you special just another huckster trying to sell bullshit.

Our friend Mr. Bellerose is correct about the “Palestinian” propaganda.
The use of this revisionist blather is something that has been a standard “go to” theme that comes from the institutional left. It is used widely by the career activists and the common goup of serial protestors who show up at every “occupy” event or “antiwar” event or “antiglobalization” event …. you get the picture.

Now first of all Mr. Bellerose who claims Metis status could do himself and his friends in the actual Indian movement a big favour be actually severing their ties with those career socialists, Marxists and generally useless bandwagon jumpers. As to why he is involved with the IdleNoMore movement I suppose that is up to him. But, I doubt that it has anything to do with the wishes of the Metis.

The Metis as a people signed a deal with the Crown was simply an agreement to end hostilities. There was no land grant involved and the Metis were recognized as freemen not tribal indians.

Since that time there are some in the Metis communities who have been seeking treaty rights with priveleges like those granted under the Indian Act vut without any of the constraints. This is basically a matter of whatever can be extorted out of governments through revisionist historical claims and guilt.

The reality of the Metis in the 20th and 21st centuries is that they remain free people in our free Canadian society.

Unlike the Indian treaty people who voluntarily placed themselves in welfare dependent reserves and are now the victims of their own entrenched leadership and clan culture.

“So it was satisfying to see …”

Professor J., master of understatement?

Mr. Bellarose’s piece should be carried by every major daily newspaper in the U.S.

Henry Hawkins | February 3, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Mr. Bellarose has revealed the Palestinian Authority’s dirth of standing, a fact kept quiet behind their facade of propaganda. Short and sweet, he lays out the hard, plain truth and reveals the violent deceitful soul of the PA.

Ouch. That’s bound to get spread around, if even ‘go viral,’ given the brevity and razor accuracy. Left wing media trashing of Bellarose begins in 5.. 4.. 3..

BannedbytheGuardian | February 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Yeah , when I read that passage about the family meltdown because of a house someone had owned for a few years & left 70 years ago – I think I stopped reading . Bwah Bwahbwah.