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On The Theatrics Of Inversion: How Indigenous People Became ‘Settlers’

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Two days ago, activist JB Brager of the deceptively-named ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ published an illustrated analysis of Zionism as an indigenous rights cause in Jewish Currents.

Their picture book (a fitting medium, I suppose) is not so much an analysis as it is a puerile, recalcitrant temper tantrum. If nothing else, it is as stark an example of Jewish self-hatred as anything I could imagine from a purported Jewish outlet.

For the sake of digestibility, I’ll address everything in a piecemeal fashion.

On the meaning of indigenous – From the very first panel, we see the authors attempting to spin Jewish discourse on indigeneity into a blood and soil argument — a calculated bid at misrepresenting Zionism as the Jewish version of German Volkisch nationalism. Attempting to place us on par with our worst abusers, the Nazis, appears to be a common theme for antisemites.

To wit, the authors deliberately pervert the meaning of indigeneity, arguing that (at least in our case) it is about nothing more than blood.

While common ancestry with the land’s original inhabitants is certainly part of the criteria, it is only one part. Indigeneity is first and foremost about ethnogenesis, or ‘where a people became a people’.

Jews do not, and never have, claimed indigeneity to Israel solely on the basis of blood. We claim it because we originated as an ethnic group on that land. Virtually everything about us, from our language and alphabet to our holidays and laws and core culture, is specific to the land of Israel/Palestine.

It is true that ethnic Jews — who comprise roughly 99% of global Jewry — trace the bulk of their genetic ancestry to the Levant (specifically to Bronze Age Canaanites, from whom the Jews and Samaritans emerged as subsets), but this alone does not qualify a population for indigenous status. Ethnogenesis, core culture, national language, collective spiritual ties, etc are equally important, if not more so. Indigenous status is a package deal.

And as the authors themselves limply admit, Jews do meet all of the established criteria for indigenous status in Israel. Advertisement

On the meaning of colonization – Mendaciously, the authors circumscribe the concept of colonialism to a specific time period and context, in particular the European capitalist exploration/exploitation of the “New World”, Asia, and Africa. From here, they posit that any example of colonization which predates Columbus (e.g. the Roman and Arab conquests of Israel) does not qualify as colonialism in any meaningful sense and that therefore Zionism – by dint of the diaspora location it was born in, and a few choice quotes taken out of context – is a quintessential example thereof. “No no, that doesn’t count! That’s not colonialism! That’s CLASSICAL imperialism – something more refined and elegant! I’m sure the Romans had a good reason for putting the Jews down!” Source: Pinterest

The authors, in their zeal to pound a Zionist square peg through a settler-colonial round hole, frantically twist the meaning of colonialism and impose an arbitrary........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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