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Meet the Indigenous People Who Support Israel

Illustrative: Protestors demonstrating in support of Jewish cricketer David Teeger outside the headquarters of Cricket South Africa. Photo: Ilan Ossendryver

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 there are other indigenous people who 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.


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.

Avi Kumar is a Holocaust historian/journalist from Sri Lanka. He has lived in many countries and speaks 11 languages. He has written about a variety of topics in publications worldwide. 

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Rising Antisemitism on Campus Demands a Strong Legal Offense

Princeton University in New Jersey. Photo: Yakinodi / Flickr

The surge in anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiment in response to Hamas’ October 7 massacre is cause for serious alarm. This is particularly the case on college campuses, where Jewish, Israeli, and Zionist students across the nation face incidents of ostracism, harassment, discrimination, threats, and violence in unprecedented numbers.

Of course, antisemitism and its glorification are not new phenomena. In 1939, for example, the freshman class at Princeton University voted Adolf Hitler the “greatest living person.” The following year’s freshman class repeated the vote with the same results, as did students at Georgetown University.

But we have two key advantages over our 1930s and 1940s counterparts. First, we know what happened the last time we hoped and waited for the antisemitic rhetoric at universities to subside. Instead of being eradicated, it merely laid low for a few decades, before exploding beyond any level we’ve previously experienced. It has consequently become our duty to ensure that university administrators are on clear notice about their legal obligation to protect their Jewish and Israeli students from the pervasively hostile environment that such antisemitism has created on many campuses. And if they deliberately ignore our warnings and efforts to assist them in this regard, it is our duty to hold them accountable.

This is where our second advantage comes into play. We now have a powerful legal tool in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI). A cornerstone of American anti-discrimination law, Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs receiving Federal financial assistance. Recipients who fail to comply with their responsibilities under Title VI risk the loss of their Federal funding. While there is no confusion that the “national origin” category of Title VI covers Israeli students, the US Department of Education has repeatedly affirmed that its protections also extend to groups based on real or perceived shared ethnicity or ancestry, including Jewish students.

This means that administrators must acknowledge what is, for most Jews, a very real connection between Jewish identity and the Jewish ancestral homeland of Israel, and take concrete steps to ensure that Jewish students are not subjected to a hostile campus climate based on this component of their identity.

In accordance with the lessons of history, the rampant antisemitism threatening to overtake many campuses since October 7 — and our commitment to supporting students in the face of anti-Jewish bias and bigotry — the StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism and the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department are heavily focused on ensuring that administrators across the nation are aware of and complying with their legal duties to Jewish and Israeli students. Toward that end, we have identified specific actions they should take to align their institutions with the requirements of Title VI and other civil rights laws. In addition to the low-hanging fruit of even-handedly enforcing existing campus policies (e.g., imposing appropriate sanctions against those who threaten Jews, individually or collectively), such actions include the following:

 (1) While students generally have the right to express their views on campus, administrators must prevent academic departments, student government bodies, and registered student groups, from misusing university resources — such as official school social media accounts and access to email listservs — to propagate hatred or incite violence. Such actions run afoul of professional standards, violate university policies, and create a hostile environment for Jewish and Israeli students.

(2) Universities have the responsibility to ensure that hateful speech does not escalate to harassment, discrimination, or criminal conduct on campus. If and when it does, it is not protected by academic freedom or freedom of speech, and the university administration is obligated to take the necessary steps — including punitive measures — to remedy the harm caused and deter such conduct from recurring.

(3) It should be self-evident that Hamas’ massacre, dismemberment, rape, beheadings, and kidnapping against anyone, let alone children, babies, the disabled, and the elderly, can never be justified. Yet moral clarity on these matters appears to be lacking within higher education institutions. University administrators should set the tone on their universities by using their voices to unequivocally condemn such acts of terror — which in no way undermines their ability to offer legitimate criticism of other conduct.

(4) University administrators must ensure that faculty are unable to misuse their class time (including cancelling classes) for political indoctrination, especially when it may serve to marginalize Jewish students and support or promote terrorism or other forms of violence.

(5) While the right to protest is generally protected under the First Amendment, allowing outside community members who may harbor antisemitic intentions to participate in student protests on university grounds is not always warranted or advisable. Administrators should do everything in their power to limit non-student access to student events, check for valid student identification, and address unlawful behavior — including by having the police make arrests where appropriate — to help protect the safety of all students.

(6) To the extent permissible under applicable law, universities should prohibit the wearing of masks during demonstrations. They should also ensure robust enforcement of laws prohibiting the wearing of a mask to conceal one’s identity during the commission of a crime. These actions can help prevent violence and harassment on campus, and protect all members of the campus community.

Universities today once again find themselves torn between asserting their inclusive values and acting on them. This time, we have the benefit of hindsight and the legal tools to protect students facing mounting antisemitism. It is the obligation of college and university administrators to apply both. And it is our mission — at StandWithUs and across the nation — to ensure that they do.

Carly Gammill is the director of the StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism.  StandWithUs is an international nonpartisan education organization that supports Israel and fights antisemitism.

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Macron Denounces ‘Rampant, Uninhibited Antisemitism’ at Paris Ceremony for French Victims of Hamas Pogrom

French President Emmanuel Macron at a ceremony in Paris to commemorate French victims of the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in Israel. Photo: Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

French President Emmanuel Macron denounced the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in Israel as “the worst antisemitic massacre of our century” at a special ceremony in Paris on Wednesday morning to commemorate the 42 French citizens murdered during the onslaught by Hamas terrorists.

The centerpiece of the ceremony, staged exactly four months after the Hamas assault, was comprised of the portraits of the 42 murdered French passport holders held by uniformed members of the country’s Republican Guard police unit. Three empty chairs were also prominently on display, symbolizing the three French hostages who are still in Hamas captivity in Gaza.

The ceremony in the courtyard of Hotel Les Invalides in Paris opened to the mournful strains of “Kaddish,” a piece for piano and violin by the noted French composer Maurice Ravel. Wearing a solemn expression, Macron then took to the podium, where he forthrightly condemned the killings and emphasized that France was “fighting every day” to secure the release of the three French hostages among the 132 who continue to be held by Hamas.

Addressing the explosion of antisemitism in the wake of the pogrom, Macron declared that “nothing should be allowed to give in to rampant, uninhibited antisemitism, here and there, because nothing justifies it.”

“Those who kill out of hatred will always be confronted by those who are ready to die out of love,” the French president stated. “The lives we honor today are victims of a terrorism that we fight in all its forms, and that struck us in the heart.”

Macron briefly referred to the loss of Palestinian lives incurred during Israel’s ongoing military operation to end the rule of Hamas in Gaza. “In this tornado of suffering that is war, all lives are priceless in the eyes of France,” he said. The French authorities have said they intend to organize a separate ceremony to commemorate their citizens killed in Gaza, but no date has yet been set, while is is unclear how many French passport holders have actually been killed since the government announced the deaths of two Palestinian children who were French citizens on Oct. 31.

Wednesday’s ceremony was not spared from the political controversies that have dogged attempts around the world to honor the Israeli victims. A festering row over the presence of parliamentarians from the far left party La France Insoumise (LFI — “France Rising”), which has furiously condemned Israel’s military response amid accusations that its supporters have trafficked in antisemitism, resulted in angry exchanges with pro-Israel demonstrators at the edges of the ceremony. As the four LFI MPs — Mathilde Panot, Manuel Bompard, Eric Coquerel and Caroline Fiat — arrived, they were greeted with shouts of, “LFI, Hamas thanks you.”

Joel Mergui, head of the Consistoire Central, France’s main Jewish religious organization, said earlier on Wednesday that the presence of the LFI deputies was an “insult to Jews and Israel.” In an interview with broadcaster Public Senat, Mergui also expressed disappointment that most Muslim leaders in France “did not condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization. This is important for our national cohesion.”

Support for the LFI deputies came from the party’s leader, Jean-Luc Melenchon, who praised their “great dignity” in the face of “rudeness and provocations” in a post on Twitter/X.







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Combating the Lie of Israeli ‘Genocide’ and ‘Ethnic Cleansing’

Ione Belarra, a far left minister in the Spanish government, has accused Israel of committing “genocide” against Palestinians in Gaza. Photo: Reuters/David Canales

No single element of “pro-Palestine” propaganda has gained as much traction as the charge that Israel is carrying out a genocide against Palestinians. The accusation predates October 7, but it has become a staple at anti-Israel demonstrations everywhere; protesters are also pronouncing the Biden administration complicit in genocide for supporting Israel. In November, a group of Palestinians even sued the Biden administration for genocide.

Not content with fabricating and perpetuating the charge that Israel is an apartheid state, South Africa’s ANC Party ramped up its hostilities against the Jewish state on December 29, 2023, when it filed charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). On January 26, 2024, the ICJ refused to throw out the case.

Considering Germany’s history, its objection that “This accusation has no basis whatsoever” should hold special significance to the ICJ.

Berlin’s statement that it “firmly and expressly rejects the accusation of genocide that has now been made against Israel,” also acknowledged South Africa’s “political instrumentalization” of the term.

There is no shortage of academics who bolster these claims. A professor of genocide studies named Raz Segal argues that Israel’s actions in Gaza constitute “a textbook case of genocide.” A “historian of genocide” named Omer Bartov warns that while the Netanyahu government hasn’t yet committed genocide, it has shown “genocidal intent, which can easily tip into genocidal action.”

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, argued recently that Israelis “see Palestine as the Promised Land, which belongs to them, but this does not mean that they can destroy the Palestinian people.” She also claims that “in the name of self-defense Israel is seeking to justify what would amount to ethnic cleansing.”

The problem for South Africa, the UN, and many academics is that neither the genocide accusation, nor its brother, the ethnic cleansing accusation, stand up to scrutiny.

The word “genocide” was coined by Rafael Lemkin in 1944, when he combined the Greek word geno (race or tribe) with the Latin suffix -cide (from caedere, kill), to denote Nazi Germany’s systematic attempt to kill all Jews and thereby destroy an entire people.

In 1948, the UN approved the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, defining Lemkin’s neologism as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” In addition to mass murder, other indicators of genocide and ethnic cleansing are “measures intended to prevent births” such as forced sterilization, and “transferring children.”

Accusing Israel of genocide is part of a strategy called Holocaust inversion, whereby Israeli counter-terrorism measures directed against Palestinian terrorist organizations are compared to the crimes committed by Nazi Germany.

Thankfully, most people see through the hyperbole and distortion. Biden’s National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, called South Africa’s case against Israel “meritless, counterproductive, and without any basis in fact whatsoever.”

The ICJ case even united 210 members of the US Congress to “vigorously denounce South Africa’s deeply hostile stance towards Israel and thoroughly reject its charge of genocide.”

No data supports the charge of “ethnic cleansing” or “genocide” against Israel. On the contrary, the Palestinian population has grown steadily since 1948, sometimes remarkably so. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) itself acknowledges that the “Palestinian population has increased 8-fold since the [1948] Nakba.”

This is not what a genocide looks like.

In 2016, the United Nations warned that “rapid growth in the Palestinian population” that it had documented would soon create a “crisis in unemployment” and “a strained infrastructure.”

In 2022, the Arab News reported that “the high growth rate among Palestinians” will “cause concern for Israel.”

This is not how ethnic cleansing works.

Non-Jewish citizens of Israel are treated exactly the same as Jewish citizens by the government, and no one is trying to prevent them from having babies. Arab Muslim citizens of Israel work the same jobs as Jewish citizens. Many volunteer to serve in the IDF, though they are not required to do so. There are Arab Muslim members of the Knesset and the Supreme Court.

The irony of the absurd claim is that Hamas (along with most of the Palestinian “resistance”) harbors verifiably genocidal intent towards Jews.

The Hamas charter states clearly that “Israel will exist and continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently noted that Israel’s enemies “continue to openly call for the annihilation of Israel and the mass murder of Jews.”

Israel’s enemies have long openly called for the annihilation of the Jewish state and the mass murder of Jews.

The so-called “founder of the Palestinian national movement,” Haj Amin al-Hussaini, invited Hitler to expand his “final solution” to the Middle East. As the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in 1937, he commanded all his “Muslim brothers” in a Proclamation to the Islamic World: “Do not rest until your land is free of the Jews.”

On October 11, 1947, less than six weeks before the UN Partition vote on Israel, the first-ever Secretary General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, threatened “a war of extermination and momentous massacre” should there be a Jewish state established “in Palestine.”

Pasha, whose real name was Abdul Rahman Azzam, also gave a hint of the long strategy to come: “The Arab is superior to the Jew in that he accepts defeat with a smile: Should the Jews defeat us in the first battle, we will defeat them in the second or the third battle … or the final one… whereas one defeat will shatter the Jew’s morale!”

When given the opportunity, the enemies of Israel have followed through with their threats. Amos Oz, who lived through the 1948 War of Independence, wrote in his memoir, A Tale of Love and Darkness (2003), that during the war, “Arabs implemented a more complete ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the territories they conquered than the Jews did … The settlements were obliterated, and the synagogues and cemeteries were razed to the ground.”

Even the Palestinian leadership doesn’t believe its own propaganda. Consider the case of Saeb Erekat, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and senior PLO negotiator, who himself charged Israel with genocide. When Erekat was gravely ill in October 2020, he chose to be treated in an Israeli hospital. Would he have done so if he truly believed Israel was guilty of genocide against his people? I doubt it.

Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) Senior Fellow A.J. Caschetta is a principal lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a fellow at Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum where he is also a Ginsberg-Milstein fellow. A version of this article was originally published by IPT.

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