Palestinians=Native Americans

I’ll start this thread by stating that I am absolutely abhorred by the current cycle of violence perpetrated by the Israelis and Palestinians against each other. However, I am not one of those people willing to claim that Arafat or the Palestinians are at fault for this violence. I am probably going to post a few other threads concerning this situation so I hope this discussion can stay on track.

Personally, I never understood why Israel has a right to exist as a state and specifically in the Palestine. However, the sentiment in the US seems to be overwhelmingly pro-Israel. I believe that the Palestinians have been unsuccessful in changing US perception because they are far less successful than the Israelis when it comes to propaganda. Suicide bombings and a belligerent attitude help paint the Palestinians as the aggressors and not the victims.

However, I’ve been thinking lately about a historical connection the Palestinians can use to promote their beliefs (e.g., they are under occupation, humiliated, subjugated) and I think that the similarities to the plight of American Indians are worth noting:

a) Both the Palestinians and the AI were living on their land for many, many years.
b) There was a large migration of Europeans, who may or may not have been at that same site thousands of years before, who chose that land as their new habitat.
c) The Europeans had overwhelming military firepower.
d) The Palestinians and the AI were both forced out of their settlements and not allowed to return.
e) The Palestinians and the AI were both treated as second-rate citizens.
f) The Europeans took the good land. The Palestinians and the AI were both moved to less valuable land.
g) The Palestinians and the AI, till this day, live in poverty while their European occupiers are living in prosperity.

I have yet to meet an American (of European descent at least) who hasn’t felt some guilt for the treatment of the American Indians. We know that they were treated unfairly and harshly, they were robbed of their land, and they still suffer to this day. (To paraphrase Chris Rock, when was the last time you saw two Indians together?)

To me, the similarities between the Palestinians and the American Indians are remarkable and we can learn much from them. The Palestinians were subjugated in the same way as the AI. However, the Palestinians have been fighting in a more effective way against the Israelis. The AI couldn’t really do anything to the Europeans with bows and arrows. However, the Palestinians, who have the same motives as the AI would’ve had—drive the Europeans out—actually have access to certain technology and a strategy (suicide bombing) that the Europeans cannot effectively respond to.

What do you think? Is this comparison valid? If not, why? If so, how can the Palestinians spread that message and does it even matter at this point?

>> Personally, I never understood why Israel has a right to exist as a state and specifically in the Palestine.

Well, you might want to read a number of threads we have had on this topic. I have learnt a lot myself from those threads.

My gut instinct was that this is not a valid comparison. I thought about it a bit, though, and decided it isn’t bad. Some points I have issues with:

Originally posted by Mambo *
b) There was a large migration of Europeans, who may or may not have been at that same site thousands of years before, who chose that land as their new habitat.

Anyone who doubts there were ever Jews in the Middle East needs to take History 101 again. When I think of the American colonies I don’t automatically think Greenland and Leif Erickson.
c) The Europeans had overwhelming military firepower.
I’ll let this one slide as it’s true enough now, but I can’t recall any Indian nation/tribe repeatly organizing several large armies and invading established U.S. states on multiple occasions. Better to say ‘guerilla warfare employed by the oppressed.’
d) The Palestinians and the AI were both forced out of their settlements and not allowed to return.
e) The Palestinians and the AI were both treated as second-rate citizens.
f) The Europeans took the good land. The Palestinians and the AI were both moved to less valuable land.
g) The Palestinians and the AI, till this day, live in poverty while their European occupiers are living in prosperity.
The rest is fair enough, though I would point out many reservations have acculumated a fair deal of wealth from the white man through casinos in late years. Whether this is a devil’s bargain is another agrument.

I don’t think Native Americans help the Palestinian agrument. Chiefly because the U.S. is not going to give Georgia back to the Cherokee, or Arizona and New Mexico back to the Navajo, etc, etc. They no doubt have valid claims in a moral and ‘right’ fashion, but legally and practically, they’re stuck where they are. If I were a Palestinian I would probably not want to associate myself with peoples that have been resigned to their past for some time - because clearly Palestinians are not. The Supreme Court’s decision doesn’t matter, as the Cherokee nation discovered, if Andrew Jackson is president.

Oh, I certainly do not doubt that the Jews lived in that region thousands of years ago (I know there were remnants who stayed but IIRC at the turn of the 20th century there were between 20,000 and 50,000 compared to the millions of today). I am Christian and believe that all the events of the Old Testament did occur. However, I do not believe the fact that the Jews were expelled from Palestine thousands of years ago allows them to just return and start a new state; just as I believe that even though we are now learning that white men did have earlier settlements (and some claim even before the ancestors of the AI today) in N America we would not justify the European conquering of the continent.

It is true that the American Indians did not organize themselves into a solid resistance. But we must consider that these events happened centuries apart. The current Isreal-Palestine situation began, for all intents and purposes, in the 20th century. The Palestinians were able to gain access to firearms and explosives of their own that the Indians had no access to. The suicide bombings, cruel as they are, have been used to great effect by the Palestinians to instill fear into the Isrealis but it is essentially all they have. The Isrealis on the other hand have fighter planes, sophisticated bombs, nuclear weapons capabilities, etc. that the Palestinians cannot withstand in a head-to-head confrontation.

That is my point. It is definitely too late for the Native Americans. They have been thrown into lower strata of of our country’s social structure and practically forgotten about. There is, still, great resentment from Native Americans towards the United States but any form of rebellion by them would be the definition of futility.

The Palestinians fear such a future and are willing to go to extreme measures to avoid it. However, they have a good opportunity of presenting themselves as the victims (the oppressed) in a way that is understandable to America. America roots for the victim in any given situation and until now the Isrealis/Jews have been able to paint themselves as the victims in the current crisis.

Oh yes. It’s quite difficult to paint yourself as a victim when you’re successfully attacking. :wink:

By the way, various Indian tribes were not necessarily behind the USA in terms of military prowess. Firearms were increasingly available to them in the 1800’s, and there’s a reason quite a bit of military hardware has names like ‘Apache’ and whatnot. Their chief problem was that they were almost always outnumbered and outresourced.

There are nearly as many Palestinians as Israelis these days, and soon there will be more. The tech difference is more important there.

Native Americans can leave the reservations at any time. They can live and work in the rest of the country. They are citizens of the United States. If all the Native Americans chose to leave the reservations and rent or buy homes in the rest of the country no one would challenge their right to do so on the basis that they were changing the demography of the country so as to alter its essential character.

Given my extremely limited grasp of the whole castrophe in Israel/Palestine, it seems to me that Native Americans are now in a somewhat better off position compared to the Palestinians.

I don’t know if that changes anything about your analogy or any conclusions one might draw from it.

(the last time I saw two Native Americans together was about 3 hours ago when my husband and son went to bed :slight_smile: )

The Jews claim that Israel belongs to them because their ancestors lived there thousands of years ago. Their justfications draws heavily on religious mumbo jumbo! Well, based on that logic shouldn’t native Americans be able to take a US state, say Texas, for example, set up their own government, push the Texans into LA, NM, OK, etc. and declare statehood?

I wonder, how the average Texan, naturally heavily armed, would react to the newly created settlements. Would they be considered terrorists by the remaining 49 states? Or would they go quitely into the night the way the pro-Israeli camp expects the Palestinians to go?

Yes, but would they still be able to do all those things if there was a threat of them blowing themselves up in public places crowded with civilians?

I don’t think the two situations are comparable. As far as I know, the Indians were here and kept getting kicked out of where they were. The Arabs decided to attack Israel and now they’re being sore losers.

I’m sure the Indians fought back, but they weren’t the main aggressors.

Israel di not exist as a state until 1948 and Palestine was not the Jewish homeland (officially according to the Brits) until 1917. Do you think the Arabs living there packed there bags and left their homes for the Jews peacefully? Who attacked whom first varies wildly in where you were before and after those dates.

Mambo, I’ve said it before on the board, and I’ll say it again. The Dome of the Rock is built on top of the Wailing Wall, so you tell me which one was there first.

I don’t mean to high-jack this thread and I know I haven’t been keeping up with the news the way I should; but…

…could someone explain this to me? I know all about the Vikings, but what is this about Europeans predating Asians?

Thanks, Ron

Dignan: it says that whoever built the wailing wall was there before whoever built the dome of the rock.

Of course, the question of everybody else does come to mind. There could have been Palestinians living in the area previous to the time when the wailing wall was built, just as there are Israelis living there after the dome of the rock was built.

Not saying that’s necessarily the case, but I’ve heard better rhetorical techniques.

As a guy familiar with American Indian affairs, I had a big rebuttal all written out. However, I kept coming back to one thing.

The cynical atheist in me wants to point out just this one single thing. Muhammad, when he set up his entire family, and his family’s families all the way to the present day, was very specific in mentioning that he, a Saudi Arabian, was transported directly atop the Wailing Wall, in Jerusalem, by Allah. The site of that miracle is now the Dome of the Rock, one of the few physical places that Muslims consider sacred.

Just like Christianity, you have to take someone’s word for it, and you either believe it or you don’t. But from that moment forward, Islam, or perhaps Allah, chose to do battle with the people who were already there in Jerusalem: the followers of the Jewish faith. From that moment forward, they took Jerusalem away from the Jews, admittedly as had many before them. But now, today, they resent having it taken back by Muhammad’s original, most obvious target.

If you fail to start from that building block, which is in reality a first principle of conquest, then you fail to understand a critical component of why the existence of Israel as it is, where it is, offends the Arab peoples, and the Palestinians in particular. It is because Israel is a confrontation they thought they had already won, and it was taken away from them because they, the former conquerors, lost one of their most important gains to a prior claim which their entire power has yet to dislodge.

That’s the difference between American Indians and the Palestinians. American Indians have an indisputable claim to North America, archaeologically, genealogically, politically, physically. Muslims cannot say the same of Israel, except within the construct of Muhammed’s own personal pension plan.

There, I said it, and flame me all you want, but that’s how I see it.

Clearly the only solution to the Middle East crisis is to give the whole area back to the Canaanites… if anyone can find them.

But seriously, I have a lot of sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians, but no respect for their tactics. However, if they American Indians were to be given Dallas, and I was forced to move to some hell hole like Ft. Worth, I can’t say that I wouldn’t try to blow the whole place up.

I mean, the holiest place in my life, the Inwood movie theater (since the powers that shouldn’t be tore down NorthPark 1 & 2), is in the middle of Dallas. I cannot let anyone else have it!


People tend to forget that there is a sizable population of Arabs Israelis living in Israel (they are the descendants of the population that did not leave during the 1948 war of independence). They have exactly the same rights as Jewish Israelis, access to the same education and health care. There are Arab members of the Israeli Knesset (house of parliament). They are every much Israeli citizens as any Jew living in Israel.


“Religious mumbo jumbo?” Incorrect. Please check any decent history of the Roman Empire, the Mid-East, the Planet Earth, etc.

In perhaps less than a couple generations, Israeli Arabs will outnumber Israeli Jewish folk. That will be the key test of just how democratic that nation really is.

If Palestinians and Jews/Israelis claim the land should be theirs, and theirs alone, it sounds a lot like a chicken and egg question to me.

As long as each group insists on a “purity,” whether ethnical or religious, there will never be a peaceful resolution to the situation.

As far as “who was there first,” if we go back to approximately 1400-2000BC, when biblical records claim God gave the land to the Jews – the basis of many modern-day claims – remember this: Someone was already living there! To live in Jericho, Joshua had to throw out the inhabitants, for example. In fact, the Palestine area was not empty; it was well settled with others. Sure, they worshipped the wrong gods, and they had culture more advanced than the invaders, but these were not considerations at the time.

I say give the land back to the Baal-worshipers, Hedonites, Canaanites, Hittites, Assyrians, Edomites and Moabites. They are the nearest thing comparable to native American Indians.

This is incorrect, the Jewish Diaspora began in 70 AD. For all intents and purposes, the Jews were not in their holy land until nearly the 20th century. Islam was founded in the 7th century.