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Palestinians in Solidarity with Idle No More and Indigenous Rights

24 December 2012 5544 Views

(Please note that you can sign by emailing PalestiniansIdleNoMore@gmail.com or using the form: http://bit.ly/PalIdleNoMore. Endorsements are welcome from Palestinian and Palestine support organizations; Palestinians and Arabs; and solidarity signatures in support.)
See related article in Haaretz. Palestinians and Canadian natives join hands to protest colonization. Or read it at the end of this post

“You who come from beyond the sea, bent on war,
don’t cut down the tree of our names,
don’t gallop your flaming horses across
the open plains….
Don’t bury your God
in books that back up your claim of
your land over our land,
don’t appoint your God to be a mere
courtier in the palace of the King”
– Mahmoud Darwish,
The Penultimate Speech of the “Red Indian” to the White Man

Palestinians in Solidarity with Idle No More

SIGN ON: Email PalestiniansIdleNoMore@gmail.com or USE THE FORM: http://bit.ly/PalIdleNoMore

Indigenous people have risen up across Canada in the Idle No More movement, a mass call for Indigenous sovereignty, self-determination and rights, against colonization, racism, injustice, and oppression. As Palestinians, who struggle against settler colonialism, occupation and apartheid in our homeland and for the right of Palestinian refugees – the majority of our people – to return to our homeland, we stand in solidarity with the Idle No More movement of Indigenous peoples and its call for justice, dignity, decolonization and protection of the land, waters and resources.

We recognize the deep connections and similarities between the experiences of our peoples – settler colonialism, destruction and exploitation of our land and resources, denial of our identity and rights, genocide and attempted genocide. As Palestinians, we stood with the national liberation movement against settler colonialism in South Africa, as we stand with all liberation movements challenging colonialism and imperialism around the world. The struggle of Indigenous and Native peoples in Canada, the United States, have long been known to the Palestinian people, reflecting our common history as peoples and nations subject to ethnic cleansing at the hands of the very same forces of European colonization.

The Indigenous resistance across Canada includes struggles against the ongoing theft of indigenous lands, massive resource extraction and environmental devastation (including tar sands and pipelines), the continuing movement of survivors of the genocidal residential school system, and movements to demand an end to the colonial and gendered violence against Indigenous women.

The Canadian government, reflecting its own settler colonial nature, was one of the earliest and strongest supporters of the establishment of Israel as a settler colony on Palestinian land and has since that time been a steadfast backer of Israeli wars, occupation, colonization, and oppression against our people. Canada has done so alongside the United States, which shares the same settler colonial nature, legacy of genocide, and massive support for Israeli occupation, colonization and apartheid.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has pronounced itself “Israel’s best friend,” supporting its assaults on Lebanon and Gaza and consistently attacking Palestinian rights both on the international stage and within Canadian borders. At the same time, it has embarked on a program of refugee and migrant exclusion, cuts to refugee health care, attacks on workers’ rights, support for massive resource extraction and environmental devastation – and attacks on Indigenous rights and sovereignty on treaty and unceded land. Harper and his government’s expansive praise for Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid is simply the other side of the same coin that attacks Indigenous self determination and plans massive resource extraction on Indigenous land.

We salute the Idle No More movement and the unity of indigenous people around its calls for justice, as well as the courageous hunger strike of Chief Theresa Spence. We note that this movement belongs to all Indigenous people and was launched by youth and women. Our struggle as Palestinians is the same – rooted in all of our people and finding its greatest strength in youth and women’s leadership.

Now is the time – from Canada/Turtle Island to Palestine, we must all be “Idle No More” , and take a stand: against colonialism, against occupation, and for self-determination, sovereignty, rights and justice for Indigenous peoples.

SIGN ON: Email PalestiniansIdleNoMore@gmail.com or USE THE FORM: http://bit.ly/PalIdleNoMore


Al-Awda NY, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign – Vancouver
Cafe Intifada
Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver
Canadian Palestinian Federation of Quebec
Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA)
COMMIT Community Leadership Institute
Free Ahmad Sa’adat Campaign – Palestine
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
International Women’s Peace Service, Deir Istyia, Palestine
Labor for Palestine – US
LA Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee
Niagara Coalition for Peace
Niagara Palestinian Association
Not In Our Name (NION) Jews Opposing Zionism
One Democratic State Group
Palestine Solidarity Network – Edmonton
Palestinian Queers for BDS
Palestinian Rights Committee
Palestinian Students Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
Philly BDS
Popular Democratic Unity Party – Jordan
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Vancouver
Queer Visions at the World Social Forum: Free Palestine
Regina Solidarity Group
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) – UBC
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) – Calgary
Students Against Israeli Apartheid – York University
Students Against Israeli Apartheid – University of Toronto Missisauga
Students for Justice in Palestine – Ryerson
Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College
Students for Justice in Palestine – Florida Atlantic University
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of New Mexico
Students for Palestinian Rights – University of Waterloo
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
US Palestinian Community Network
Voice of Palestine
Voices of Palestine – Seattle
Women in Solidarity with Palestine (WSP)

Leila Khaled, Palestinian resistance icon
Abdullah Khalifeh, Vancouver, BC
Abla Abdelhadi, Ottawa, ON
Ahmed Alqarout, Gaza, Palestine
Akram Shaban, Surrey, BC
Alaa Khaled, Saida, Lebanon
Ali Yassir, Quebec
Amahl Bishara, Massachussetts
Amira Dasouqi, Memphis
Andrew Chalfoun, Owings Ridge, MD
Aref Nammari, Colorado
Ayeda Ayed, Toronto, ON
Ayman Anwar, Gaza, Palestine
Aziz Arafat, Gaza, Palestine
Bassel Araj, Palestine
Beesan Ramadan, Palestine
Bilal Jiddo, Bethlehem, Palestine
Chris Lymbertos, Oakland, CA
Dana Olwan, Syracuse, NY
Danya Mustafa, Albuquerque, NM
Dina Al-Kassim, Vancouver, BC
Eyad Kishawi, Divestment Resource Center
Faisal al-Refai, Jerusalem, Palestine
Falastine al-Saleh, Palestine
Faten Toubasi, Etobicoke
Gale Courey Toensing, Connecticut
Habib Haj Salem, Tunisia
Haidar Eid, Gaza, Palestine
Haithem Gammoudi, Tunisia
Haithem el-Zabri, Austin, TX
Hala Dillsi, Los Angeles
Hala Sayed, Toronto, ON
Hammam Farah, Toronto, ON
Hanan Abunasser, Gaza, Palestine
Haneen Maikey, Palestine
Hanna Kawas, chairperson, Canada Palestine Association
Hiyam Arrafih, Toronto, ON
Iltezam Morrar, Ramallah, Palestine
Intissar al-Masri, Rome
Ismail Zayid, Halifax, NS
Jenna Sweiss, Thorold, ON
Julian Durzi, Toronto
Khaled Barakat, Vancouver, BC
Khaled Mouammar, Richmond Hill , ON
Laith Marouf, Montreal, QC
Lara Khalidi, Jordan
Linda Tabar, Toronto, ON
Luma Abu Ayyash, Raleigh, NC
Mahasen Nasser-Eldin, Occupied Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine
Maram Salim, Hebron, Palestine
Marek Falk, Seatte
Marsilio Salem, Venezuela
Mary Rezk, Brooklyn, NY
Mezna Qato
Moataz Elkafarna, Gaza, Palestine
Mohamad Hamad, Calgary
Mohamed Elreefi, Gaza
Mohammad Battah, UK
Nada Elia, Seattle, WA
Nadia Awad, Brooklyn
Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, San Fransisco
Raed Abass Tawil, Palestine
Rafe Hasan, Winnipeg, MB
Rami Mustafa, Palestine
Rana Abdula, Winnipeg, MB
Rana Hamadeh, Ottawa, ON
Rawan Kittani, Palestine
Razan Abu-Remaileh, Vancouver, BC
Rima Hussein, Berlin
Saadeddin Ziada, Gaza, Palestine
Sa’ed Atshan, Cambridge, MA
Saher al-Sous, Beit Sahour, Bethlehem, Palestine
Sakinah Hasib, Toronto, ON
Saleem Qawasme, Ramallah, Palestine
Salma Abu Ayyash, Cambridge, MA
Sami Majadla, Vancouver, BC
Sandra Dughman-Manzur, Toronto, ON
Sarah Abdulla, Winnipeg, MB
Sarah Abu-Sharar, Mississauga, ON
Selma al-Aswad, Seattle, WA
Sophia Azeb, Los Angeles, CA
Tala al-Jabri, Dubai, UAE
Wafa Qutaina, Jordan
Waleed Yosef, Lebanon
Walid Husseini, Jerusalem, Palestine
Wesam al-Khateeb, Amman, Jordan
Yara Abbas, Ramallah, Palestine
Ziad Suidan, Atlanta, GA
Zuhair Al-Atwi, Berne, NY

Annette Howell, Chicago, IL
Azadeh N. Shahshahani, President, National Lawyers Guild
Bettejo Passalaqua, Spring Hill, FL
Bilal Ahmed, North Brunswick, NJ
Bill Shpikula, Toronto
Brenda Paterson, Kelowna, BC
Carrie Zadrazil, Canada
Cathy Bellefeuille, Ottawa, ON
Cheryl Blood Bouvier, Calgary, AB
Colleen Ross, Canada
Daniel Stover, Vancouver
Dara Bayer, Boston, MA
Deepa Naik, London
Dennis Kortheuer, Long Beach, CA
Dorice Tentchoff, BC
Edna Brass, Vancouver, BC
Ed Mast, Seattle, WA
Elise LeBlanc, Halifax, NS
Emily Smith, Belgium
Emma Rosenthal, Los Angeles
Erika Munoz, Ottawa, Canada
Esther Nelson, Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land, Portland, OR
Frances Everett, Canada
Freda Guttman, Montreal
Hal Ward, Edmonton, AB
Helene Matz, Norway
Henry Zaccak, Toronto, ON
Ian Ki’laas Caplette, Nuu-Chah-Nulth Homelands
Ivan Tentchoff, Gibsons, BC
Jack Friesen, Courtenay, BC
Jake Javanshir, Toronto, ON
Jamilah Bahay, Calgary
Jane Lee, Brisbane
Janis Favel, Regina, SK
Joanna Zilsel, Gibsons, BC
Joe Catron, Gaza, Palestine
Judith Syme, Montreal, QC
June Rugh, Seattle
K. Elayne McClanen, Sandy Spring, MD
Karen MacRae, Toronto
Keith Hirsche, Cobble Hill, BC
Larry Zweig, Fuerth, Germany
Lauren Lowe, Hamilton, ON
Rev. Linda S. Trout, Etters, PA
Marcie Riel, Oshawa, ON
Marilyn Totten, Truro, NS
Marlene Newesri, New York, NY
Matthew Graber, Philadelphia, PA
Melissa Hill, Onamia, MN
Michael Billeaux, Madison, WI
Michael Carr, Florida
Michael Letwin, Brooklyn, NY
Nanice Ahmed, Riverside, CA
Natasha Bannan, New York
Nazbah Tom, Oakland, CA
Nicole Davis, Toronto
Nicole Gevirtz, Voorhees, NJ
Pamela Joyner, Canada
Pei-Ju Wang, Ottawa, unceded Algonquin territory
Peter Gose, Ottawa
Radoslaw Smaczny, Toronto, ON
Robert Smith, Crystal Lake, IL
Roberta Davenport, Imperial Beach, CA
Roger Beck, Toronto, ON
Rev. Sandra R. Mackie, Gettysburg, PA
Sayaka Yajima, Toronto, ON
Sheila Purcell, Ottawa, ON
Spenta Kandawalla, Oakland, CA
Sumbal Naseem, London, ON
Suzanne Weiss, Toronto, ON
Tammy Murphy, Philadelphia, PA
Tanya Rodrigues, Ottawa, ON
Tar de Moutonnoir, Montreal, QC
Rev. Thomas Johnson, Claremont
Tonomi Kinukawa, Oakland, CA
Dr. Trevor Purvis, Ottawa
Valerie Hopkins
Will Thomas, Auburn, NH
Palestinians and Canadian natives join hands to protest colonization
Palestinians, both at home and abroad, have found an unlikely partner in the struggle against colonization: First Nations, the indigenous peoples of Canada.
By Hadani Ditmars | Jan.29, 2013 | 2:21 PM | 7
Native peoples from all over the world joined together on Monday as part of an international day of solidarity with Idle No More, an indigenous uprising that has supporters across the globe.
Idle No More began in Canada, but it has sparked support from peoples including North African Tuaregs and New Zealand Maoris.
And with the many messages of support that came on Monday from indigenous peoples across the globe were messages of solidarity from Palestinians – both in their historic homeland and flung throughout the diaspora.
On the homepage of the Canada Palestine Association (CPA) is a link proclaiming “Palestinians in Solidarity with Idle No More and Indigenous Rights.”
It opens with an excerpt from the Mahmoud Darwish poem, “The Last Speech of the ‘Red Indian’ to the White Man”:
“You who come from beyond the sea, bent on war,
don’t cut down the tree of our names,
don’t gallop your flaming horses across
the open plains …
Don’t bury your God
in books that back up your claim of
your land over our land …”
Signatories to the statement include groups ranging from the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network to the One Democratic State Group in Gaza to the US Palestinian Community Network, as well as dozens of individuals from Toronto to Ramallah.
They include the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network; the One Democratic State Group in Gaza; the U.S. Palestinian Community Network and dozens of individuals, from Toronto to Ramallah.
Canadian aboriginals are also known as First Nations. And while solidarity between Palestinians and First Nations has existed for decades, says Toronto-based Canadian native poet and activist Lee Maracle, Idle No More has “crystallized” the relationship.
“The links between peoples are clearer,” she says. “We’re both colonized. They’re after our resources in the North,” she says, citing the controversial tar sands bitumen extraction projects in Alberta, “and land and resources in the Middle East.”
Maracle and her family have been working side by side with Palestinian activists for years. During Operation Pillar of Defense last year, her daughter, Columpa Bobb, took documentary photos of young native activists in Winnipeg, who joined with Palestinian-Canadians and others in protest.
Maracle remembers meeting Mahmoud Darwish at a public reading in Vancouver in 1976 to welcome the Palestinian delegation attending the UN Habitat conference on human settlement. There, she read his poetry in English, and he read it in Arabic.
Hearing his work, she says she felt an intrinsic connection. “He spoke to something so old inside my body it felt like floating in a sea of forever,” Maracle says.
In 2006, when Assembly of First Nations Chief Phil Fontaine accepted a paid visit to Israel from the Canadian Jewish Congress, she wrote a letter to the AFN, saying, “This is tantamount to laying a wreath at [South African leader John] Vorster’s grave in the interest of [honoring apartheid] or traveling to the U.S. to share the values of the Custer Committee celebrating the massacre at Wounded Knee [an 1890 massacre of Indians by the U.S. cavalry in South Dakota].”
AFN’s Israel visit underscored a sort of battle of dueling narratives, with right-wing Zionist groups trying to claim kinship with First Nations on the grounds that both were “aboriginal” peoples.
Furthermore, the indigenous issue in North America has been used by former Israeli prime ministers like Ariel Sharon to justify occupation and settlements in Palestine – throwing it in the face of those who criticized Israeli treatment of Palestinians.
“We have learned a lot from you Americans, how you moved West,” Sharon once remarked to a US official. And while many have compared the likes of Gaza to a large American “Indian reservation,” it’s notable that the reserve system in Canada was what some say inspired South Africa’s Bantustans.
In fact, says Hanna Kawas, a Palestinian-Canadian journalist and longtime activist for indigenous struggles both in Canada and the Middle East, “The Zionist movement was also built on the South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Algeria and other European settler colonialist models of the same era,“ and as such, should not be supported by indigenous peoples in Canada.
Kawas, who lives near Vancouver, has attended Idle No More protests over the past several weeks but emphasizes that, “While we’re [indigenous Canadians and Palestinians] not hiding our support for each other, we’re [Palestinians] not trying to further our own agenda – but rather to advance theirs.”
Kawas’ support for indigenous rights stretches back to the 70s, when he first arrived in Canada (his family were refugees from Bethlehem). He remembers First Nations activists coming out to protest a 1975 visit to Vancouver by Moshe Dayan, and also took part in many protests to free American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier, who was extradited from Canada at the request of the FBI. Peltier is still in a U.S. prison.
He also describes a meeting that the Canada Palestine Association had with a First Nations group of female elders. That happened in Vancouver in 2006, when the groups gathered to speak about then AFN head Chief Phil Fontaine’s visit to Israel
Fontaine, Kawas says, is “a first Nations Abbas,” referring to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “He’s part of a corrupt leadership that does not represent the grassroots.”
“The elders invited us to speak about our position and agreed with us. After the meeting they gave us a special eagle feather as a present – which I consider my visa and my passport to this land,” he said.
For 34-year-old Vancouverite Mike Krebs, a student of political geography who has indigenous Blackfoot ancestry, the connection between the Palestinian and indigenous Canadian struggle is a “natural one.”
Krebs met his extended Blackfoot family, who still live on a reserve in rural Alberta, the same year that the second Palestinian intifada began. That was a coincidence, he says, that gave fuel to his activism.
He remembers attending a talk in Vancouver by Israeli human rights activist Jeff Halper in 2001.
“He showed us a slide of different maps of Palestine – one from pre-’47, one from ’48, ’67 and 2000 – and that’s when the connection clicked for me, this image of a shrinking land,” Krebs says.
In Vancouver, Krebs collaborated with Palestinian activist and academic Dana Olwan to produce an article for an Australian journal called “Settler Colonial Studies,” comparing Canada and Israel. “We were just naturally interested in each other’s struggles,” he says.
But there are important differences, he notes.
“Palestinians have far less mobility than indigenous Canadians and face daily IDF assaults and frequent attacks from settlers, but have not lost their language, as many First Nations have. And the scale of genocide is greater amongst First Nations who saw their populations decimated.”
Comparisons can also be exploited by right-wing pundits who have demonized both First Nations and Palestinian activists as “terrorists.”
But the real commonality lies in the land.
“Both peoples have a deep sense of relationship to and responsibility for the land,” says Krebs. “And when that land is taken away, it destroys the culture.”
Citing Ben-Gurion’s 1948 statement, “The old will die and the young will forget,” Krebs says the assumption from both Canadian and Israeli authorities was that both peoples would die off or assimilate.
“Well we haven’t all died, or gone away. We’re still here and getting stronger. There’s a political and cultural revitalization going on that neither Canada nor Israel might have expected or wanted,” he says.

Hadani Ditmars’ ancestors fled Lebanon a century ago for Canada, where they were adopted by a Haida Indian chief. She is the author of “Dancing in the No-Fly Zone: a Woman’s Journey Through Iraq,” and belongs to the Eagle Clan.

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