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When I first spoke of indigenous status and its application in the Middle EastI never thought it would turn into such a gong show. My claims were backed up by science, history, genetics, archeology – heck, even the Bible was completely on my side (sorry rabbi). The Torah is clear about the importance of the land for the Jewish people. I really don’t use a religious argument because: I don’t need it and b. this is not my religion. Science alone is enough for me.
Martinez Cobo made some pretty compelling arguments for why his definition was pretty much the benchmark, but because it was so dry, academic, and overly verbose, I decided to interpret it for the average person. I also decided to create my own “hand theory”, which makes the status of the indigenous population easy enough for even children to understand.
Raise your left hand. Now imagine that each finger represents an aspect of your root identity. All fingers work together with the thumb to form a functioning hand, and all aspects work together to create a functional identity. The hand can function when a finger is missing, even two or three, and when the thumb is missing, it still works, but very badly. Your root identity is very similar in that for every aspect you miss, your identity becomes much more difficult to reliably manifest. The more the “fingers” function, the easier it becomes.
Each finger represents the identity of the indigenous population. I usually use this order:
Language, Earth, Culture, Blood, Spirituality (spirituality is the thumb).
Each indigenous people expresses their identity through these five dimensions. The status of the indigenous population depends on the locality, which means that we come from a specific country. We speak a specific language that comes from the country we are associated with. We carry special pre-colonial bloodlines from this country, and although the blood quantum is a creation of white people, designed to allow them to “breed us”, it is useful when it comes to tracking bloodlines. Our culture is specific to the land where we come from, and most of its aspects are directly related to the land. This is not an all-encompassing thing; in fact, it is almost always very different from our neighbors. Our way and method of interacting with the Creator is also specific to our land, culture and people, with our stories and sacred sites originating in our ancestral lands.
This does not mean that you are not an indigenous people, if you were adopted or stolen, or forcibly converted to the religion of the colonizer, or forced to speak his language, but the sad truth is that the status of the indigenous population cannot be taken away from you, it can only be given away … If you assimilate and assume the mantle of a conqueror, you will no longer be one of us, you will be treated like a colonizer. You may return home one day, but we consider you lost.
Unlike a hand, you can grow your “identity fingers” (although I have no doubt that these cunning Israelis will find a way to grow them out pretty soon). This is evidenced by how the Jewish people reclaimed Hebrew, regained control of their ancestral lands after the exile, and individual Jews became what is known as Baal Teshuva… This is a literal blueprint for other indigenous peoples facing the same struggle against assimilation. We also need to be reborn in the cultural and linguistic spheres, as well as in self-determination in the lands of our ancestors.
All indigenous peoples are ethno-religious, which means that our ethnicity, as well as our way and method of interacting with the Creator, are integral to who we are. If you ask a traditional black-footed Indian what religion he is, he will answer, “I am black-footed.” If you ask a traditional Cree what religion she is, she will answer, “I am a Cree.” In part, the Europeans tried to understand us, because we are ethnoreligious. This is also the reason that they never understood Jews (this is also the reason that colonized Jews do not always understand Jews). This is not just a religion, it is an ethno-religious tribal identity.
That is why I am writing this. I have already wrote several articles explaining how Jews fit the criteria I just mentioned, but I did not mention Arabs in my articles because the fact that they are not indigenous was, at least to me, self-evident.
You will not become an indigenous people by conquering an indigenous people… You become indigenous only as a result of ethnogenesis on a particular land. You must have pre-colonial ties, blood ties, and a truly coherent culture that is characteristic of your people. Conquest, rape, violent treatment and subjugation of indigenous people do not make you indigenous, even if you have vague blood ties.
There are three groups of people who have the legal right to be considered indigenous to Israel and meet all the criteria, and Palestinian Arabs are not among them. Samaritans, Arameans and Jews.
As for the Arabs, there are several things that show that they are not indigenous.
- In fact, they are foreign colonizers. They come from the Hejaz or the Arabian Peninsula. Yes, it’s near, no, it’s not the same place.
- Their religion, language and culture are foreign to the land of Israel; they are literally the indigenous people of the Hejaz.
- No “Palestinians” are Philistines (who were foreigners anyway), they are not Edomites or Nabataeans (who were part of Arab ethnogenesis).
- They are not the Canaanites, who were largely swallowed up by the Jews. When one of them asserts this, I always ask, “What Canaanite cultural constructs do you display? They can never answer.
It is true that many Arabs carry Jewish blood; this could be due to the fact that there were many Jewish communities in the Middle East before the Muslim expansion and Arab conquest, one of the largest was the city of Medina in the Hijaz, one of the first cities conquered by Muhammad. All the men were killed, and the surviving women were forced into marriage and slavery, which apparently brought Jewish genetics into Arab ancestry. A factor in this, as well as forced marriage and rape during the 7th century AD Arab conquest, and you can understand why so many Arabs are of Jewish blood. Blood alone does not give you indigenous status, otherwise all the colonialists would have to do is force one generation to marry and rape, and then they will meet the requirements.
To be clear, conquest does not exclude indigenous status, it simply does not grant it.
So no, Arabs are not indigenous. They have a right to a long stay to be respected, but they are not and do not qualify as indigenous people. even by the lightest of standards.
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