Blog Post

When is Media Going to Treat Israelis as Indigenous?

By Lee Bender

June 6, 2016




Unbeknownst to most, Jews are a People, Judaism is their religion, and the Land of Israel is their ancestral homeland—an unbroken history of 3,500 years– and a modern nation since 1948. Indigenous people have the right to assert their native rights. And Israel has them in abundance, the deepest roots of any people in the land, whether the mainstream media, UN, EU, NGOs, Arabs, Muslims, Anti-Zionists or Anti-Semites want to believe it or not.

So, where do Jews get their title deed to the Land of Israel? From the Bible, archeological proof, and even the Qu’ran itself.  And from modern international law via San Remo Conference in 1920, and subsequently the United Nations in 1947.  Many Arab nations were also created at this time to give expression to their indigenous rights.

Interestingly, the Supreme Muslim Council – led by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husayni–  Hitler’s ally and one of the Arab world’s most vicious anti-Semites — published yearly guide books from 1924-1950 stating that the Temple Mount’s (al-Haram al-Sharif, “the Noble Sanctuary”) “identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to the universal belief, on which David built there an altar unto the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.”

Despite being persecuted, tormented, conquered and dispersed from their nation-state numerous times throughout history by many including Greeks, Romans and OttomanTurks, the Jews never left the land of Israel, which was never ruled even one day by an Arab state.

In January 2012, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed the Levy Commission to study the legal status of Israeli building in Judea and Samaria (i.e “the West Bank). In sum, it found: “Our basic conclusion is that from the point of view of international law, the classical laws of “occupation” as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to the unique and sui generis historic and legal circumstances of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria spanning over decades.”

However, this Commission’s work has been marginalized by the Israeli government, in an appeasement to the sensitivities of the “international community” who do not recognize the sovereignty of Israel over the Land. This, of course, includes the areas to which Jews are told they have no rightful claim and yet are in the cradle of Jewish history: the Old City of Jerusalem, The Temple Mount and Kotel; Hebron, where the Tomb of the Patriarchs is located; Shilo, where the Tabernacle stood, Joseph’s Tomb and Rachel’s Tomb among many other sites.

Who are the “Palestinian Arabs?” The vast majority are not native to the land, and in fact cannot even trace their lineage back more than four or five generations. Most came from foreign regions only when the Jews started to rebuild and reclaim the land and make it flourish as an economic powerhouse starting at the turn of the 20th century. Until the formation of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) in 1964, those Arabs who lived in Israel, Gaza and Judea and Samaria (i.e. the “West Bank” which was illegally annexed by Jordan in 1950) referred to themselves not as “Palestinians” but as Syrians or merely Arabs. These Arabs are little different in culture, religion and language than those from neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. The term “Palestinian” to them and the world, before the re-establishment of the State of Israel, meant “Jews.” In fact, the Arabs of the Palestine Mandate already have a state: Jordan, comprising 78% of the Palestine Mandate, which was designated by the international community to be the nation-state of the Jewish People, has a population which is 2/3 Palestinian Arab. Moreover, the Arabs have rejected a state of their own, with a capital in eastern Jerusalem, the “West Bank” and Gaza six times since 1937.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to see things which should be evident to us. According to Ryan Bellerose, a Metis from Northern Alberta and co-founder of Calgary United with Israel: “Everything that makes Jews Jewish — their spirituality, their traditions, their culture, their language, everything — it stems from Israel.” He elaborated further (“Unassailable” in Israellycool, Feb 14, 2016):

The reason Jewish identity is so integral to this struggle is simple – the other side is claiming that Israelis are not indigenous, that they are “white colonizers” who stole “Arab ancestral lands.” Now this claim is patently ridiculous to anyone with a 3rd grade education and a commensurate reading level, but sadly often the Jewish people’s own actions and reactions suggest that they themselves are not quite decolonized enough to claim their birthright and heritage. Many of them still see their identity through a white European lens, rather than a Middle Eastern lens, and this leads not only to massive confusion but lost opportunities such as the Temple Mount and now in Judea and Samaria.

I have documented Jewish indigenous status beyond any reasonable doubt. I have given you the language and hopefully the knowledge to defend the position, but YOU must internalize your identity. YOU must decide to decolonize and then YOU must decide what that means to YOU and your people.

It’s really simple – you are Jews, your culture is ancient, your traditions date back three thousand years and your spirituality is intertwined with both. Only you can decide what you should be keeping and what you need to lose, but ask yourself, what would my ancestors say? Would they say “You needed those things in diaspora, but now you are home again and it’s time to evolve and become who you are meant to be” or would they say “Stay as the diaspora made you out of necessity”? I believe you are meant to be a Light unto the Nations, to show us the way that indigenous people are supposed to evolve while maintaining the core of your identity. You have fought so hard to stay Jewish – literally hundreds of generations have lived and died to bring you to this point. Your ancestors fought, bled and died for you to remain Jews and even more recently for you to be able to go home as Jews to your ancestral lands. They didn’t do that so that you could be the end of it. They did it so that you could be the beginning, the beginning of a brave new world, one that is unassailable.

Now be invulnerable in your identity, then be invincible.

THAT is your birthright.


As Ryan has noted, this is about our very identity, not merely about religion and spirituality. And it is a powerful story and example to all indigenous people. We should be proud and act proud of the nation state of the Jewish People, and all its accomplishments as it shares with the world its humanitarianism and high-tech know-how in medicine, biotechnology, agriculture, and water reclamation. Israel is our ancestral homeland. We do ourselves no favors if we don’t treat ourselves with respect and instead act wishy-washy and laissez-faire with regard to our rights. If we forfeit the language, we forfeit our heritage and our history—and deserve to.

Note: Ryan Bellerose will be speaking in Philadelphia on June 20. For details and tickets, call 610-660-9466.