Friday, March 9, 2018

Acknowledging Ryan Bellerose

Michael Lumish

{Also published at Jews Down Under and Elder of Ziyon.}


Ryan Bellerose is a friend of the pro-Jewish / pro-Israel community who, like many of us, has grown increasingly skeptical of the two-state solution.

I met the guy online when he arrived at Israel Thrives a couple of years ago for the purpose of kicking the holy crap out of one of my regulars.

Bellerose is a Métis from the Paddle Prairie settlement of northern Alberta - I want to stress northern Alberta - and a fighter for the rights and well-being of indigenous peoples, including the Jewish people.

This makes him highly unusual among indigenous rights activists because he is with the very few who recognize Jewish indigenous rights. Jewish people, for progressive-left internal political reasons, have been left out of the Indigenous Rights Club.

Instead, we are considered white, imperialist, racist, militaristic, colonialist, inhumane, apartheid-lovers.

In a recent article for Tablet, Bellerose writes:
Now, to understand indigeneity, one must also understand indigenous people, how we see ourselves, and how we see the world. At its simplest, indigenous status stems from the genesis of a culture, language, and traditions in conjunction with its connections to an ancestral land, most commonly derived from ties to pre-colonial peoples. Once a people have such a cultural, linguistic, and spiritual genesis as well as a coalescence as a people, they are generally acknowledged as an indigenous people.
Bellerose's discussion of indigeneity is grounded in a 1981 report to the United Nations Economic and Social Council written by anthropologist José Martínez Cobo.

Bellerose, it should also be understood, stands up on the street as well as in the pages of Tablet. 

I very much wish that he had been around during the vigils for Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner.

Reem Assil, of Reem's antisemitic restaurant, for reasons that defy the moral imagination, venerates the genocidal Jew murderer, Rasmea Odeh. Furthermore, she is now actually being rewarded for that hatred.

The New York Times recently published a piece concerning Assil's joint by Rebecca Flint Marx entitled, An Arab Bakery in Oakland full of California Love.

Full of California Love.

One of the hysterical things about this article is that Marx made a correction in the body of the text shortly after it was published reading:
In 1970, Ms. Odeh was convicted by Israeli courts for her role in the murder of two students.
So, the Times acknowledges that Odeh is a convicted murderer, yet the headline still reads, An Arab Bakery in Oakland full of California Love.

The only conclusion that I can come to is that the New York Times thinks that you're a bunch of idiots.

Furthermore, Justin Phillips of the San Francisco Chronicle tells us that Reem Assil continues meteoric rise with new fine-dining restaurant at Jack London Square.

Oh, joy.

{But I digress.}

The reason that Bellerose matters is because he encourages a widening of our understanding of the conflict.

By rightfully insisting upon the indigeneity of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel he forces an expansion of the conversation both geographically and historically.

This is not a fight merely between Israelis and Arabs residing within the Jewish home. This is a fight between the indigenous Jewish population and their former Arab and Muslim conquerors who have yet to give up on reinstating theo-political domination. This makes it a struggle between the tiny Jewish minority in the Middle East and the far larger Arab and Muslim populations that surround them.

That is the obvious implication of insisting upon Jewish indigeneity because the very idea of Jewish indigeneity to the Land of Israel contradicts Arab and Muslim imperial ambitions within the Jewish home.

It is inescapable.

Another obvious implication is that this is not merely a modern conflict. History did not begin in 1948, nor 1967.

Anyone with even a glancing understanding of the history of the region acknowledges that between the time of Muhammad until the failure of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, Jewish people - and other such dhimmi-sorts - lived as second and third-class non-citizens.

The late professor Martin Gilbert described dhimmi status under Muslim rule as follows:
There could be no building of new synagogues or churches.  Dhimmis could not ride horses, but only donkeys; they could not use saddles, but only ride sidesaddle.  Further, they could not employ a Muslim. Jews and Christians alike had to wear special hats, cloaks and shoes to mark them out from Muslims.  They were even obliged to carry signs on their clothing or to wear types and colors of clothing that would indicate they were not Muslims, while at the same time avoid clothing that had any association with Mohammed and Islam. Most notably, green clothing was forbidden...

Other aspects of dhimmi existence were that Jews - and also Christians - were not to be given Muslim names, were not to prevent anyone from converting to Islam, and were not to be allowed tombs that were higher than those of Muslims.  Men could enter public bathhouses only when they wore a special sign around their neck distinguishing them from Muslims, while women could not bathe with Muslim women and had to use separate bathhouses instead.  Sexual relations with a Muslim woman were forbidden, as was cursing the Prophet in public - an offense punishable by death.

Under dhimmi rules as they evolved, neither Jews nor Christians could carry guns, build new places of worship or repair old ones without permission,or build any place of worship that was higher than a mosque.  A non-Muslim could not inherit anything from a Muslim.  A non-Muslim man could not marry a Muslim woman, although a Muslim man could marry a Christian or a Jewish woman.
Martin Gilbert, In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2010) 32 - 33.
The conflict is greater in scope both geographically and historically then most people realize and that is particularly true of progressive-left enemies to the Jewish people who see the conflict as a result of twentieth-century "Zionist" aggression.

By insisting upon the indigeneity of the Jewish people to Israel, Bellerose forces us to rethink dominant formulations around the conflict in two fundamental ways.

1) The Jews are the colonized indigenous population who managed to free themselves from thirteen centuries under the boot of Arab and Muslim imperialism.

2) This is not a conflict between "Zionists" or Israelis versus Palestinian-Arabs. What we are seeing, rather, is the current moment in the long Arab and Muslim war against Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East grounded in Koranic malice.

The concept of indigeneity is key and while Bellerose knows it, most Jews do not.


  1. Mike,
    When I try the first link you provided I get an error message.
    Who did Bellerose kick the crap out of at Israel Thrives? Was I around then? I don't seem to remember it.

    1. Ah, thanks for letting me know. That first link was just a link back to Israel Thrives home page for publication at the other places.

      As for Ryan, he dropped in here to make some arguments with something that was going on the conversation. He actually confronted both Trudy and myself.

      I think I said something like, "Well, ultimately we are all indigenous to Africa" and he took that as an idea often used as a swipe at the concept of indigeneity as it applies to other groups, such as his own.

      He was right.

  2. At the end of Bellerose's piece in Tablet he says that respect for those who came before you is built into Western culture. But that's not what the intersectional left is all about - quite the opposite. For them there is complete disrespect and contempt for everything that came before them. They share this with radical elements in Islam such as ISIS, to name but one glaring example. And then there is the "Palestinian cause" which ought to be a glaring example. People like Reem Assil would be lying low in a knowledgeable and just world, and the NYT would not calling her crap "California love."
    Does the NYT think you're stupid, or are they just staffed with writers who have gotten stupid?

    1. They know that the vast majority are not going to look into the question further and thus will come away with warm and cozy feelings for the racist Assil.

  3. Now we have an answer to the question we'll be asking a few years from now: how did Obamas get to be billionaires. Obama will be producing a show on Netflix. It doesn't really matter if anyone watches it, just like his "book deals" will make more money than Stephen King did in a life long career. If he cold sent 150 billion to Iran, what's a couple of billions as a handler's fee? I wonder if Reem's is really that successful as a food business, or the real popular part it is Jew baiting.
    Someone is watering her with money. Progressive politics have gotten very lucrative in the last 8 years.

    1. Yeah, those of us who have been involved in the vigils feel reasonably certain that Assil is being politically funded. The woman is at least as much a racist political activist as she is a cook.

    2. I suggested before that she probably launders money for Hamas or Hezb or some other terrorist entity like all her ilk. Course I CAN be a bit of a conspiracy nut sometimes when I'm not helping the Elders kill Jesus and Kennedy and doing 911 and faking the moon landing. Gotta go now and burn some olive trees.

    3. Linda Sarsour has not worked a singe day at an honest (non political)
      job in her entire life. She's already a multi millionaire. Her net worth is not disclosed, but we know she received 10 million dollars from the City of New York. WTF?
      Progressives like to obsess with the CEO pay. Getting filthy rich as a public servant or an "activst" is just fine.

  4. Harvard Law Professor Alan M. Dershowitz said:

    “Why is Israel singled out for super-scrutiny and double-standard criticism, expected to maintain a level of moral behavior not demanded of anyone else?”

    SOURCE: Chutzpah by Alan M. Dershowitz (introduction chapter, page 4) published in year 1991 by Little Brown & Co ISBN: 9780316181372 ISBN: 0316181374

    Harvard Law Professor Alan M. Dershowitz said:

    “When Jews complain about anti-Semitism or anti-Zionism,
    they are often made to feel that they are oversensitive.”

    SOURCE: Chutzpah by Alan M. Dershowitz (chapter 3, page 83) published in year 1991 by Little Brown & Co ISBN: 9780316181372 ISBN: 0316181374

    Harvard Law Professor Alan M. Dershowitz said:

    “I refuse to bend over backward to single out Israel – or other things Jewish – for super-scrutiny. I refuse to gloat, as so many in academia and the media seem to, over Israel’s shortcomings.”

    SOURCE: Chutzpah by Alan M. Dershowitz (chapter 7, page 211) published in year 1991 by Little Brown & Co ISBN: 9780316181372 ISBN: 0316181374

    Why Israel’s 1967 Borders are Undefendable:

    Did Captain Kirk believe in negotiating with terrorists?
    Find the answer by reading this very short blog article:

    How to Convict the New York Times
    of Unfair Bias Against Israel:

    Evil Logic Explained
    (why many people like the "Two State Solution"):

  5. Harvard Law Professor Alan M. Dershowitz said:

    “We need a new term to describe this phenomenon, this double-standard, this super-scrutiny of things Jewish, this singling out of Israel.”

    SOURCE: Chutzpah by Alan M. Dershowitz (chapter 4, page 121) published in year 1991 by Little Brown & Co ISBN: 9780316181372 ISBN: 0316181374

    Harvard Law Professor Alan M. Dershowitz said:

    “But more always seems to be demanded of the Jewish nation and of the Jewish people than of others. Jews, unlike other groups, are expected to be in the forefront of defending the rights of their sworn enemies.”

    SOURCE: Chutzpah by Alan M. Dershowitz (chapter 5, page 170) published in year 1991 by Little Brown & Co ISBN: 9780316181372 ISBN: 0316181374

    Harvard Law Professor Alan M. Dershowitz said:

    “Critics of Israel who generally take no interest in human rights or civil liberties…have some explaining to do as to why they single out Israel for special condemnation.
    The same, of course, is true of nations with abominable records on human rights, who lecture and hector Israel on its lack of perfection in those areas.”

    SOURCE: Chutzpah by Alan M. Dershowitz (chapter 7, page 212) published in year 1991 by Little Brown & Co ISBN: 9780316181372 ISBN: 0316181374

    How intermarriage harms Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel:

    Why Pray for Tzahal-IDF:

    How to Pray for Tzahal-IDF:

    Hypocrisy of the Anti-Israel BDS Movement:

    How Torah Can Defeat Terrorism:

  6. Harvard Law Professor Alan M. Dershowitz said:

    “It is virtually impossible to get the United Nations to condemn any Arab terrorist group or state for any attack on Israel or Jewish institutions. Yet there is an eagerness to condemn Israel, whether Israel is right or wrong.”

    SOURCE: Chutzpah by Alan M. Dershowitz (chapter 7, page 225) published in year 1991 by Little Brown & Co ISBN: 9780316181372 ISBN: 0316181374

    Harvard Law Professor Alan M. Dershowitz said:

    “The world may have to deal with terrorists in order to save lives. But the moral scandal is that in addition to simply dealing with these terrorists, much of the world has HONORED them. The standing ovation accorded to Yassir Arafat – the architect of international terrorism – by many UN representatives in Geneva in 1988 will live in infamy. The willingness of world statesmen – including the pope and other moral leaders – to treat Arafat as a person deserving of tribute is beyond moral comprehension.”

    SOURCE: Chutzpah by Alan M. Dershowitz (chapter 7, page 220) published in year 1991 by Little Brown & Co ISBN: 9780316181372 ISBN: 0316181374

    Harvard Law Professor Alan M. Dershowitz said:

    “Jewish failure is welcomed, even gloated over, by those who resent our success.”

    SOURCE: Chutzpah by Alan M. Dershowitz (chapter 4, page 100) published in year 1991 by Little Brown & Co ISBN: 9780316181372 ISBN: 0316181374

    Why Muslims Hate Jews:

  7. Jews may be indigenous to the land, but are not an indigenous people. Under the Ottomans, Jews could have been considered an indigenous people, but not when they are dominant in society. This is a distinction Bellerose fails to make, even as he is a powerful advocate for human rights.

    Overall, there seems so much conceptualizing and analysis that resolve little besides a new rendition of the issues.

    Showing the hypocrisy over Odeh or Farrakhan by people who lecture us about oppression seems more productive at a gut level in spreading light. The women's march, Sarsour, Ellison, Obama. That's some pic that was hidden. Progressives, especially Jews, that look the other way ought be feeling shame. Where did they lose sight?

    Returning to the competing claims for land, Jews are indigenous or the rightful heirs, based on evidence, particularly against the claims of others. They should make that point, among others. However, the idea of indigenous rights is about something else, the protection of non-dominant native cultures within a state.

    As Israel makes inroads with Africa and East Asia and in Latin America, it will assume its rightful status as a world leader. Hopefully, much of the industry talking about the conflict will erode. Even Arabs may come to realize the Israel can bring them a better life, and it is the non-indigenous "Palestinian" people who are the ones that prevent this.

    1. oldschool,

      Bellerose does address your point in the Tablet article in the paragraphs immediately following the checklist of what constitutes an indigenous people, and gives his take.

    2. On that point he misses the point. To assume that the non-dominant aspect was to deny Jews is nonsense. The concepts regarding indigenous rights are in relation to the state and in expanding internal self-determination/autonomy as against the state, not external self-determination as against other states. So long as one can analogize, then the thrust of the argument prevails, that Jews are indigenous/aboriginal to the land, but they are not an indigenous people within the state.

    3. I thought it was a point well taken.
      The Jews are indigenous to the land, but not an indigenous people? On the face of it, that sounds ridiculous. It just strikes me as a bit arbitrary and maybe pedantic.

    4. "If you mean his point that that the reason for "non-dominant" was to discriminate against Jews in Israel, it's not well taken at all. "
      No. That's not what I meant. I was referring to his point of indigenous peoples wanting independence and as a result after attaining it no longer being considered indigenous peoples.
      What you are referring to is a hifalutin legal idea with which I am unfamiliar.
      I was merely talking from a language standpoint, i.e., indigenous meaning native to. I do think though that it is a flawed definition.

    5. It's in the legal realm that indigenous rights were developed and then recognized by states.

      When the Ottomans ruled, Jews were an indigenous people.

      Skim through the "Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169)." You'll get an idea why Israeli Jews cannot be a recipient of indigenous rights and protections because it is the "government" that grants them.

      Many of these rights and protections are human rights that were ignored when it came to the indigenous. These rights were therefore developed within the same legal environment that created things like the Palestine Mandate, which laid the ground for Israeli Jews to finally become independent, dominant and indigenous no more.

    6. Bellerose addresses that elsewhere. That provision was specifically included at the behest of the Arabs in order to exclude Israeli Jews. It's the same reason the Rome Statute defines civilian settlement of occupied territory as a grave breach of humanitarian law.

    7. Would like to see evidence for "That provision was specifically included at the behest of the Arabs in order to exclude Israeli Jews."

    8. The Cobo-Martinez list of criteria for indigeneity have no exclusion for peoples who become the dominant people in the country. The one major modification the drafters of the ITP Convention made was that exclusion, against the objection of indigenous peoples around the globe. Care to offer another explanation for why that exclusion was added?

  8. Regarding the Farrahkan/women's march scandal, it's a good way to find out just how stupid Kossacks are. The general feeling among most black commenters and their "woke," friends is along these lines: "The NOI does needed work in black communities...I don’t honor Farrakhan, can’t stand the man, but I respect the work that he and the NOI does...with limitations."

    You dont have to be a rocket scientist to know how very wrong such a stance is and has been throughout history.

    It's also the reason the left is the center of antisemitism these days. Democrats are increasingly becoming more and more antisemitic, shored by Kapo Jews.

  9. School and Trudy,

    do I understand you guys to be skeptical of the indigeneity argument?


    interesting ideas

  11. Having seen it first hand at UC Irvine for 18 years, I must concede that the pro-Palestinian lobby, though grounded ona lying narrative, is very well organized. Led by phony human rights activists like Omar Barghouti, they effectively bring their message to college campuses across N America. The pro-Israel forces need to improve their ground game to counter the lies being spread about Israel and Jews as well. We can start by educating college kids about how Jew hatred is behind this propaganda campaign. It's not about land. It is about religion.

  12. And now for something not all that completely different:

  13. Indigeneity is not about being first. It is about having a culture that developed in the place. If two groups' cultures developed in the same place, then both groups are indigenous to that place.

    However, if one group's culture originated there and another group imported its culture from elsewhere, the group who's culture originated there is indigenous and the other is not. Order of arrival is irrelevant.

  14. Correct. Indigeneity is not about who arrived first. In the case of the Jewish people, however, our ancestral language and culture and religion and all the things that make a people "a people" were forged in that part of the world.

    The Jewish people are, in fact, the only extant people with a claim of indigeneity to the Land of Israel.

  15. No I don't put much stock in it. It's wonderful that Israel is WHERE it is, and that's important but that's not a justification for WHAT it is. If every Jew on the planet was the descendant of converts they'd still be Jews. Even if all the converts came from Finland or the South Pole.