[News] Pro-Israel blogger attacks Canada First Nation chief, but Palestinians express solidarity with Idle No More

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jan 9 18:18:21 EST 2013

  Pro-Israel blogger attacks Canada First Nation chief, but Palestinians
  express solidarity with Idle No More

Submitted by Asa Winstanley on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 17:02

Liberal website The Huffington Post last week published an attack on an 
indigenous rights activist who is on hunger strike in Canada 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/canada>, labeling her "the hungry 
chief mugging for the cameras on an island in the Ottawa River."

Writing on the Canadian edition of the site, anti-Palestinian blogger 
Yoni Goldstein openly attacked Theresa Spence 
as a "problem" responsible for indigenous people's woes in Canada and 
said he had "no sympathy" for her.

Goldstein once wrote an article 
in right-wing Canadian paper /National Post/ lauding the work of Alan 
Dershowitz <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/alan-dershowitz>, the 
notorious anti-Palestinian lawyer and defender of Israeli war crimes, as 
"valuable and significant." He's also written for Israeli newspapers 
/Haaretz/ and /The Jerusalem Post/.

More recently, he claimed former US presidential candidate Mitt Romney 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/mitt-romney> "got the Palestinians 
in racist comments against Palestinian culture 
that Romney made during last year's election campaign.

In the disgustingly racist blog post on The Huffington Post Canada last 
year, Goldstein wrote that even should all the problems created by 
Israeli occupation be removed "the Palestinians [would] still have to 
deal with [the problem of] their own culture, the very thing Romney was 
alluding to."

In another article 
he used the racist terminology of the "Palestinian demographic problem 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/demographic-threat> [which] poses 
immediate difficulties" (i.e. the specter of too many Palestinian babies 
being born on territory controlled by Israel).

    Chief Spence and Idle No More

Chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation <http://www.attawapiskat.org> in 
northern Ontario, Theresa Spence launched a hunger strike last month in 
solidarity with Idle No More <http://idlenomore.ca>, an indigenous 
rights movement that has swept Canada since it was launched by four 
women in November.

The grassroots movement has been organizing teach-ins, flash mobs, 
demonstrations and blockades 
<http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/05-1> to draw attention to 
its demands. At the center of these is the call to revoke C-45, a new 
law activists say <http://idlenomore.ca/index.php/about-us> is "a 
legislative attack on First Nation people and the lands and waters 
across the country."

Spence is demanding a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen 
Harper <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/stephen-harper>, and has 
vowed to continue hunger striking to draw attention to C-45 and other 
items of legislation that threaten indigenous sovereignty and degrade 
environmental protection.

    Blaming the victim

While expressing a few empty words ostensibly in favor of Idle No More, 
Goldstein lays blame on Spence and other First Nations Chiefs, rather 
than the Canadian federal government: "She and other native leaders are 
the biggest reason why native reserves are mostly hellholes, filled with 
poverty, addiction, lack of education and general misery."

This hostile attitude puts him at odds with the Idle No More movement. 
While a statement on its web site 
calls for caution on the Canadian media's focus on Spence, and that the 
leader of the movement is "the grassroots people," it also emphasizes 
that activists are "very grateful for Theresa Spence's honorable and 
courageous support." Many demonstrators have have adopted Spence's 
demand for a meeting with Harper as one of their own.

One of the movement's founders warned on Tuesday that mainstream media 
outlets were trying to create divisions within the movement and 
expressed support for Spence: "We don't have a separation between the 
grassroots and chiefs... I'd like to shift the conversation back to our 
federal government," Sheelah McLean told a local Saskatchewan newspaper 

Goldstein's attempt to sow divisions within the movement would seem to 
fall within this category.

    Palestinian solidarity with Idle No More

In a short time, Idle No More seems to have inspired expressions of 
solidarity from indigenous peoples around the world 
-- including Palestinians.

Palestinian and solidarity groups have signed a statement of solidarity 
Signatories include resistance icon Leila Khaled 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/leila-khaled>, and Iltezam Morrar, 
the popular resistance leader who helped lead her village Budrus 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/budrus> against the wall being built 
on its land (as documented in the film of the same name 

The statement reads:

    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

It continues:

    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.

The Canadian establishment's pro-Zionist stance only seem to have 
increased in recent years 
especially under the Conservative Harper government.

That colonial entities should express mutual support for each other will 
come as no surprise to indigenous peoples.

Learn more about Idle No More and Theresa Spence on the website, in this 
<http://www.thenation.com/blog/172038/idle-no-mores-hunger-justice> on 
/The Nation/ and in this Free Speech Radio News report 
from Montreal.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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