I’m a Jew. I didn’t choose to be one. I was born this way. I’m a Jew because my mother is one and her mother was one, and it goes back for as many generations as we can count. Being Jewish isn’t just about practicing a religion, observing 613 commandments of the Torah, or merely being a member of a religion, Judaism. Being Jewish is far more than a religion; it’s also a nation, a people, and an ethnicity.
Let’s get rid of a modern myth that plagues the Jewish People. Jews are not white. Jews come in all colors and every shade from dark to pale and being Jewish has absolutely nothing to do with skin color. We are not Anglo or The White Colonizer. We didn’t colonize Europe or the United States. The Jew isn’t the White Man who discovered or conquered America and we certainly didn’t commit genocide in Africa or lead the slave trade either. Jews didn’t discover America or colonize any region.
In fact, it is the Jewish People who refused to bow down to the colonizers over thousands of years which may be the root of anti-Semitism and a general distrust and hatred of the Jewish People to this very day.
When a people have no understanding of who they are, they’re unable to define themselves. In today’s world, most people don’t read books and certainly take less interest in actual history. With Internet, social media, and YouTube every people is in danger of becoming what other people want them to be. Propaganda, misinformation, truth or lies may be spread with the click of a button.
In the case of the conflict in the region of Israel, bloody Arab babies grab attention more effectively than the common hasbara tactic of flouting Israeli technologies. This type of defense, explanation, or fight against BDS is disastrous to the Jewish People. Let’s face it, we are losing the PR war regarding our right to live in our homeland, Israel.
I believe the key to solving this problem is a simple concept: just as Native Americans (mistakenly named, Indians), are indigenous to America and the Black African is indigenous to Africa, the Jewish People are indigenous to the Land of Israel.
This brings us to the definition of indigenous and why the modern conflict that plagues the region of Israel and the so-called, Palestinian people is incorrect and what’s worse, an absolute injustice to the indigenous people of those lands known as Israel, the occupied territories, and Palestine.
It’s as simple as knowing history.
As Benjamin Franklin so eloquently stated, “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” Just take a few minutes to learn the history and it all becomes clear.
Where do Jews come from and what is a Jew? According to any dictionary, a Jew is defined as:
1.One of a scattered group of people that traces its descent from the Biblical Hebrews or from post exilic adherents of Judaism; Israelite.
2. A person whose religion is Judaism.
3. A subject of the ancient kingdom of Judah.
The original name for the people we now call Jews was Hebrews, a name included in the first book ever written, known to most of the world as, the Old Testament, AKA The Torah. In Genesis, the word, Hebrew/Ivri is first used to describe Abraham. Jews are also known as, Israelites, because Jews are descendants of Jacob, who was given a second name, Israel. In Hebrew, Yehudi, comes from, Judah, the name of one of Jacob’s twelve sons. Judah was the ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel, which was named after him. Very simply, Judaism literally means Judah-ism; the religion of Judah. Jews or Yehudim also means: People of G-d because the first three letters of Yehudah are the same as the first three letters of G-d’s four-letter name.
There are Jews of every color and origin; dark, pale, Asian, blond, red-head, and converts who come from every race. From atheist and secular, Reform, Conservative and Orthodox to Modern, Hasidic, Chabad, etc. If your mother was/is Jewish, you’re a Jew and all Jews are equally Jewish. We are a People, a Nation, and we all have equal indigenous rights to the Land of Israel.
We know from ancient history that the Jewish People are not only a religion, but a tribal people. Judah was only one of the 12 tribes of Israel. After the death of King Solomon, the Hebrew Nation was divided into two kingdoms: Judah and Israel. Yehudi described anyone from Judah’s kingdom including the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi, as well as scattered peoples from other tribes.
The most obvious biblical example is in Megilat Esther where Mordechai is referred to as both a Yehudi and a member of the Benjamin tribe. In the 6th century B.C.E., Israel was conquered by Assyria, sending the ten tribes into exile. Judah’s kingdom was the only one to remain to carry on Abraham’s heritage. Judah’s People were known globally as Yehudim or Jews, the name that is used to this day.
When the Tribe of Judah returned from captivity, they were known as Jews, belonging to the land, Judea – the Greek and Roman equivalent of Judah.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, Judea was part of the Hill Country containing four other regions, the coastal plain, the Shephelah AKA Shfelat Yehuda, the Judean foothills, the Negev in the south, and the Wilderness. The Hill Country was a rough stony land including a tall open plateau: Jerusalem. The Wilderness was a barren region where the Judean mountains on the east side sloped down to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth.
In New Testament times the population of Judea was exclusively Jewish. The plateau of Jerusalem also included the incomplete Temple of Herod on Mount Zion.
The palace of Herod stood on the west side of the Jewish Temple Mount. The fortress of Antonia and Roman auxiliary troops occupied the area north of the Temple Mount.
The claim by modern day Arabs to the denomination Palestinian is false. The term is believed to come from the Egyptian and Hebrew word peleshet, which loosely translates as, migratory, and was used to describe the inhabitants northeast of Egypt, known as the Philistines. Philistines were closely related to the Greeks and lack ethnic, historic, or linguistic relationship to the Arabs who conquered what is now known as Israel and Gaza back in the 12th Century BCE.
The term peleshet is mentioned in the Torah at least 250 times. The word Palestine or Filastin does not appear in the Koran even once.
Most Arabs only came to live in the land of Israel within the last 150 years as migrant workers brought over by the Ottoman Empire and by the British Mandate for infrastructure projects between 1845 to 1947. Arab laborers were also attracted by the economic upswing stimulated by Jewish immigration. Egyptians fled to Israel following Muhammed Ali’s invasion between 1831 and 1840 and Algerian Arabs arrived in Israel to escape the French invasion of their land in 1830. Though they claim to be an ancient people, these “Palestinians” are not.
In the 5th Century BCE, the historian Herodotus invented the term Palestine when he called the area Palaistina. During the revolt of Shimon Bar Kochba in 132 CE, the Romans obliterated the Jewish presence, captured Jerusalem and Judea, and Judea was renamed Palaestina. The Roman emperor sought to erase the name of Israel and Judah’s Tribe, so that there would be no memory of the country that belonged to the Jewish People who refused to bow down and be colonized by the Romans. Philistines were ancient enemies of the Israelites, so using a Latin spelling, the emperor invented the name: Palaestina.
After World War I, the name, Palestine, was given to the territory placed under British Mandate, including not only present-day Israel but also present-day Jordan. The international media were responsible for labeling Jews, not Arabs, living under British Mandate as Palestinians. It was only after the Six Day War in 1967 that Arabs living in Israel adopted the identity. Arabs cannot even correctly pronounce the word Palestine in their native Arabic, referring to area as Filastin. The term Palestinian for an Arab group is a modern political creation without any historic or ethnic grounds.
It should be noted that the definition of the name the modern Palestinian’s adopted also means “invader from the sea” – not a coincidence.
An Arab writer and journalist declared:
“There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians, Syrians, Iraqis, or Egyptians.”
The fact remains that Arabs control 99.9 percent of Middle East land. Israel represents one-tenth of one percent of the landmass. Ultimately this is what the fighting in Israel is about; 1/10 of 1%. As the world slowly awakens to the horrors of Islamic terrorism worldwide, recognition of the ultimate goal has become apparent. They want it all and won’t stop killing us, fighting, and roadblocking peace-talks until the last Jew is gone from the Middle East.
According to the Israeli historian Benny Morris:
“In ancient times, the core of the Jewish state was the hill country of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Areas in mainland Israel such as Caesarea, Jaffa, and Ashkelon were centers of paganism in the Hellenistic and Roman periods and did not make up the heart of biblical Israel. Yet despite these historical facts, too many people support relinquishing Israeli control over Judea and Samaria, even though the area is richer in Jewish history than Arab history.”
So what does it mean to be indigenous to a land? According to my friend, Ryan Bellerose, a Native Metis of Canada, it’s a debate of morals. Indigenous is often misused and is not defined by who was there to begin with. It’s not about physical origin but cultural conception on an ancestral land with association to pre invasion conquerors. Indigenous is congruous with where a people becomes a nation; a group with its own language, traditions, and culture. Blood is sacred as is ancestry but indigenous status goes beyond blood. The must also be retention of heritage.
This is the very root of why our skin color has nothing to do with our heritage and status as a Jewish People. Maintaining Indigenous status comes with responsibility and one may not exist as both oppressor of the Indigenous Native and BE the Indigenous Native. In the case of Israel, the People of Judah, the Hebrews, the Israelites, are the Indigenous People.
In the case of the people who have reinvented themselves in modern day history as “Palestinians”; they don’t get to be occupied, oppressed, and indigenous while they attack, maim, and murder Jews daily, thus embodying the very definition of oppressor and colonizer. It is true that the Jewish People lived in Exile for 2000 years, however this was done in order to displace us so that the Greeks, Romans, British, and Arabs could settle the land for themselves.
This is called colonization. The tactics of colonization have been used since the beginning of time along with genocide. It’s been used on Native Americans, the Kurds, the Circassians, Armenians, Aborigines, and on several native tribes in South and Central America and let us not forget Africa, and modern day Syria.
Indigenous status is permanent. It makes no difference what is reported or not reported in the media. Neither anti-Semitism nor Palestinian propaganda will prevail at driving the Jewish People from our rightful indigenous homeland. The bottom line is Jews are being murdered and attacked daily in our ancestral land. No good person ever woke up one morning and said, “I think I’ll go kill some Jews”. People who do that are evil.
Jewish People must recognize and take ownership of the fact that Jews are the good guys. The Arab terrorists are bad. Terrorism and murder are undeniably, absolutely evil. Terrorism and murder are currently being justified as legitimate reaction to “oppression” and “occupation” by the big bad Israelis. This lie is agreed upon and perpetuated by the UN, liberal groups, the media, and even Jewish organizations. We need to stop worrying about the lack of hashtags and media coverage of our tragedies and start standing up for our indigenous rights.
Consistent factual truth: Jews are the indigenous natives of Israel and we don’t need the permission of the UN or the media to exist and live without persecution and constant threat of maiming and murder by a group of people who think they can strong arm and conquer the Jewish People in our own land.
Our rights to be here, in Israel, have nothing to do with modern genocide such as the Holocaust, UN resolutions, or green lines drawn by the British or whoever. Our right to exist here were written in the most important book ever written, the Bible. We have been kicked out of our land many times but now we’re back. Arabs have an ancestral land too and it’s NOT Israel. It’s time to stop living like colonized natives and stand up for what is rightfully and morally correct.
I’m no longer concerned whether or not the media reports or doesn’t report about daily oppression, threats, and attacks by Arab colonizers who are here to steal OUR land. We don’t need NYT, CNN or BBC to justify our mourning or the UN to give us permission to exist. Israel is the ancestral land of the Jews. Israel belongs to the Jewish People. Arabs who wish to live as law abiding and upstanding human beings and in peace must be welcome in our land. Arabs in Israel have legal rights and Long Standing Presence. The Arabs who are unable to recognize and accept their responsibilities must be forced out and take their green crayons to go scribble some borders in Arabia, their ancestral land.
Israeli military occupation is a mistake that has not only cost many lives but had delegitimized Jewish Indigenous rights to our ancestral land. The occupation must end now with Israel’s official annexation of our native land. Sadly, the Indigenous Native People of North America fought for their rights and they lost. Crimes against humanity, genocide, and colonization ensued.
The Jewish People wandered the desert and lived in exile for thousands of years, but in 1948 we won the war!
Israel is back in our hands. For the sake of our survival and security Israel must do away with the unlawful green lines and uphold our rights to sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. We must embrace the rights of the Palestinian Arabs to live on our land with honorable options of permanent residency status or emigration with compensation.
Legally and morally the Jewish People must acknowledge the rights of Arabs with Long Standing Presence and provide viable options. Arabs who choose to stay here will live without oppression of the Palestinian Authority who have forced refugee status on their people for almost 70 years! Anyone who wishes to leave should be compensated for their property and provided with moving expenses in order to relocate to their ancestral land or wherever they choose to go.
Violent murderous terrorists who refuse to abide by our laws must be punished and deported. We do not need the permission of the United Nations or any nation to do what is right for both the Jewish and the Arab populations. Regardless of Israel’s upstanding, humane treatment of an enemy regime, we face constant world condemnation.
We must make a change and it needs to be soon for the sake of our tiny one tenth of a percent of the Middle East.The Islamic terrorists who endeavor to drive the Jewish People from our native Israel cannot take away our indigenous status, not through murder, Pallywood propaganda, displacing us, or denying our existence. Our Indigenous status can only be given away by our own people. We must #RISE and secure our rights today. We’ve tried to attain adoration and respect of our allies and our enemies and have failed miserably.
For thousands of years, we have been exiled and forced out of our land. When we had no alternative or options, lacked the power and organization to enforce the rule of law we had no choice but to live as strangers in Exile. Now we have a country, laws, an army, and independence. We must use the rule of law to regain what is ours, our lands, our cultures, our basic human rights.
It’s our job to know our origin That job is not a burden; its a holy and precious gift. Even in 2016, the light of the Maccabees should lead the way, reminding us of the miracle of Chanukah – year round! We should be strong and be ourselves. By nurturing the spark of the light inside each of us, we can succeed at illuminating longer and brighter than we ever thought possible and maybe, just maybe illuminate the entire world and realize our destiny to be A Light Unto The Nations.