Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August/September 2019, pp. 6-7

Letters to the Editor


On June 4, Canada’s government accepted the findings of a national inquiry into the fate of murdered and vanished indigenous females and acknowledged that Canada has inflicted genocide on its indigenous population. It’s worth remembering that back in 2013, Bernie Farber, former chief executive officer of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) joined Assembly of First Nations national chief Phil Fontaine to argue that Canada had committed a form of genocide against indigenous peoples.

The irony of this remembrance is that the CIJA has sponsored countless Israel junkets for Canadian politicians and indigenous leaders while Israel illegally occupies and develops indigenous Palestinian territory. Unfortunately, the Israeli state has largely succeeded in stifling the prospect of Palestinian sovereignty with generous and consistent support from the U.S. and Canadian governments. Had Canada’s indigenous people enjoyed the level of American military, economic and diplomatic support available to the State of Israel, the map of Canada would look very different today.

Canada’s indigenous people have more in common with those dispossessed Palestinians than the European Zionists who gradually supplanted these native Arabs with help from Britain and the United States. Manufacturing solidarity between an oppressed indigenous population and the citizens of a powerful and privileged state is a tactic beyond cynicism.

Morgan Duchesney, Ottawa, Canada


Any student of history knows that for decades, the indigenous populations of North America, South America, Australia and elsewhere faced persistent racist and genocidal campaigns by colonists. Accounts of “savage” and “uncivilized” natives filled the newspapers of the era and are enough to deeply rattle modern readers. Unfortunately, disturbingly similar language about “uncivilized” Palestinians can be found in the media consumed by settlers and other members of the growing Israeli far-right. Similar language, while perhaps more coded, underlies the statements of many U.S. politicians who regularly question whether Palestinians are capable of achieving peace—or if they exist as a people at all!

Sadly, modern Israel provides a window into how the racist settler projects of past centuries functioned. Lets hope Americans (and Canadians) of all stripes finally connect the very obvious dots and work to end the injustice of the 21st century’s most pernicious and ongoing settler-colonial project.

© Bell Canada, 2019. All rights reserved.