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How Most American Indians Identify With Israel


Though arguments about how to define a Jew have become au courant among Jews in the past 100 years, a full blooded Apache Indian named Santos Hawk’s Blood supports the traditional view-that the Jews are a Nation, a People connected to their homeland. Son of a WW2 Silver Star recipient, and a veteran himself, Santos is an outspoken supporter of the Jews right to live in the Jewish homeland.


Last May Santos brought a group of Native Americans from New Jersey to march at the rally for Israel in New York, carrying Israeli flags and drums and singing Indian songs. He has been featured in the Jewish press and has lectured at universities from Emerson to Cornell to Northwestern. He has spoken to African American groups, Jewish groups, and others, and has appeared in several films.


“One indigenous people should support another indigenous people”, he said. “I come from the same Apaches as Cochese and Geronimo, the Chiricahua people from Southern Arizona. Like all Apaches we were warriors. When more passive Indians were attacked by marauding groups, we fought for them. It is a part of Apache culture to stand up for oppressed people and to respect all people who cherish their ancestral land”.


Santos is quick to point out that although his is different than some important and vocal Native American groups many American Indians do support Israel strongly. Santos has spent most of his life as an activist for Native American land rights and traditional fishing rights. He  was at the forefront of the Mic Mac conflict and survived days without food at gunpoint. He is from a long line of full blooded Apaches, a rarity in the much intermarried Indian world. In these and many more ways Santos is an exemplar member of the Native American community at large. Yet lately he has been under pressure from some of his people to abandon his advocacy for the  Jews and support the Palestinian Arabs instead.  Still he stands firm in his views and continues to write and speak eloquently about his beliefs.


I got the sense that his people’s strong traditional cultural sense of personal responsibility has produced an attitude that the individual must devote himself to overcoming adversity through achievement, and never accept permanent “victimhood” status-also part of traditional Jewish ideology.


The connection Santos feels towards the Jews is more than a sense of fair play due to his detailed knowledge of the often-misrepresented history of both Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. His bond began in childhood. When Santos was in the first grade in Texas, he came home one day with a doodle of some joined triangles and showed them to his mother.


“That is the Jewish star, the Star of David” she told him.”


“I had unknowingly drawn the Magen David.” I could hear the smile in his voice.


” The Jews are people like us” his mother said, “They have been forced from their land, forced to move from place to place, They have suffered like us and have been attacked wherever they go.”


Like the ubiquitous American Indian symbol for unity and strength that graces our dollar bill, the bunch of twelve arrows, (the original symbol contained 6 arrows) the Star of David reflects a joining together of a people to form a strength greater than the sum of its parts, as well as the points of  the 6 directions. The mystical as well as his grasp of the practical intertwines to strengthen his connection to the Jewish people.


That was the first time that Santos had ever heard of Jews and his understanding of the parallels his mother drew between the American natives and the Children of Israel have only strengthened over time. His experiences. first in the Indian rights movement and second with his reading of history gave him an in depth understanding of the machinations of the political and geographical world.


“The Palestinian Arabs are a group of people entitled to have a better life, but they only came to Israel recently from Egypt and other Arab countries. They came because there was work. Before that there were really very few people in Palestine. Mark Twain wrote about the deserted lands he saw in his travels.”


(Editors note: In the 1800s when returning and native Jews in Palestine created a farming and building boom, many Arabs from places like Egypt and Lebanon migrated to Palestine to find work).


Santos continued, “But the Jews worked and built and cherished their homeland. You cannot deny they were driven out yet always maintained a strong connection to the land. And there was always a Jewish presence in Palestine, something people seem to forget.”


“When I see murdered little children, Jewish children, I identify with the Jews. When I see staged Arab funerals on television where the “corpses” jump off the stretchers and run when they see cameras, I identify with the Jews. To support the PLO murderers would be laughable. There are other Native Americans who agree with me, though it is sometimes hard to hear our voices because of others in our communities. We love Israel so much that we are planning a trip there to show our solidarity.”


Asked for a quote that best expresses his feelings about the future of Israel he said in the Chiricahua-Apache language “Bi-hod’den yusin”. Our creator will be with us. Everything will be all right.


If you would like to help sponsor the Native American Solidarity Trip to Israel please contact the Mid East Education Team at [email protected]. Jewish and non-Jewish organizations and individuals are invited to participate in this wonderful expression of hope and support.


Chaya Rivka
Ithaca, NY


American Indians Aren’t Like Palestinians
by David A. Yeagley
Originally published at on April 9, 2002


Many people see a similarity between American Indians and today’s Palestinians. I’m Comanche Indian. I see no similarity whatsoever.


Comanches were once “Lords of the South Plains,” (Wallace & Hoebel, 1952). Arabs living in Palestine have never dominated anything but goats. Comanches were independent, and certainly not supported by two billion other Indian ‘brothers,’ like the Palestinian Arabs claim they’re supported by the Arab world.


There’s no similarity in the land claim issue. Comanches, never numbering more than six or seven thousand, were simply strong enough to take over the American southwestern plains, first from other Indians, then from white people. Palestinians have accomplished nothing but suicide bombings.


Palestinian Arabs are not indigenous to Palestine. They are leftover Arabs, residual of another age. Knowing Arab history is vital to understanding the situation in the Middle East. (Joan Peters’ From Time Immemorial (1984) is a ‘must read’ on this subject.)


Arabs are from Arabia. Beginning in AD 622, under Mohammad, Arab “prophet” of Medina, the Islamic religion became a war machine and aggressively expanded from the Arabian Peninsula to all directions until AD 750 when it controlled North Africa westward to Spain and southern France, northward to Palestine and Armenia, and eastward 400 miles past the Indus River.


It was spectacular achievement, one which clearly proved Islam to be not a religion of peace, but of dominance. Arabs intermarried, enslaved, and otherwise lorded over every culture they encountered. Arabs established the African and Asian slave routes, which are still used today for slave trade out of India and Nepal, as well as Africa and the Far East.


European Christians finally fended off Islamic dominance to the east and west. By the 15th century, Muslims were ousted from Spain and from most of the Balkans by the 17th century. Mongolians broke Islamic dominance in the Orient. The last phase of Islamic political dominance, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), ended in 1840 when Constantinople submitted to terms of Western powers in its dispute with Egypt. Turkey’s government declared itself secular by 1922.


During all this time Palestine was little more than a wilderness of nomads, loosely associated groups of provincial subdivisions with frequently changing administrations. The people were a “pan-Arab” mix of gypsy-like leftovers, whom the General Syrian Congress of 1919 declared to be “the southern part of Syria.” It wasn’t considered “Palestine,” a separate Arab nationality, until the 1967 Six-Day War of Israel’s boundary expansions.


A ‘Palestinian Arab nationality’ was something Musa Alami began asserting after 1948, as a political reaction against Israel. As R. Sayigh wrote, “A strongly defined Palestinian identity did not emerge until 1968, two decades after the expulsion [of some Arabs living in parts of Palestine],” (Journal of Palestine Studies, 1977). In twenty years, Alami’s myth took effect.


But the land-by-residence claim gives Palestinian Arabs even less right. In 1950, United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) defined a Palestinian Arab as one who had lived in Palestine a minimum of two years before 1948. This is no ancient claim.


The ancient, indigenous inhabitants of Palestine are long perished from the earth. Canaanites, Phoencians, and then Philistines, all were dominated by the Israelites before 1060 BC. Most of these cultural identities dissolved completely by the neo-Babylonian age, or, the 6th century BC.


Arabs weren’t even in Palestine until the mid-7th century AD, over a thousand years later, after Palestine’s 1,300-year Jewish history. Arabs later living in Palestine never developed themselves or the land, but remained nomadic and quasi-primitive during their 1,200-year stay.


Then a stronger people ―? modern Jews who’d been expelled from their homes in Europe and in Arab countries ―? came in and conquered (without annihilating) the Palestinian Arabs.


As a Comanche Indian, I’m sensitive to this history. I believe the conqueror has a right to what he has conquered. No one owns the land. Only he who is strong enough to possess it will control it and the people living on it. That’s the law of war.


Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Let sentimentalists say what they will, the man who puts the soil to use must of right dispossess the man who does not, or the world will come to a standstill.” (W. T. Hagan, Theodore Roosevelt and Six Friends of the Indians, 1997). The land developers, the agrarians, have become stronger than the hunters.


In the case of Comanches, we lost a magnificent hunting empire, and a lot of ego with it. In the case of “Palestinian” Arabs, what is lost? Why their sense of humiliation?


Shall Israel Die For “Peace”?
by David A. Yeagley
Originally published at | February 4, 2002


Many people believe that if the state of Israel were abolished, all the problems of the world would vanish, like magic. This irrational notion was created by Muslim terrorists. How did an unholy few succeed in making the whole world hate Israel?


Muslim terrorists attack American freedom as if it symbolized Israel herself. Many Muslims believe the September 11 attacks were Allah’s punishment on America for supporting Israel.


In view of the dire consequences, sacrificing Israel might seem a small price to pay for peace.


Prime Minister Ariel Sharon understands this temptation. That is why he adjured Israel, “We can count only on ourselves.”


When the Bush Administration attempted to restrain Israel’s response to Palestinian terrorism, Sharon responded defiantly, warning that Israel was not a pawn in America’s economic game with the Arabs.


Sharon compared the Arab world with Hitler’s Third Reich, and warned America not to sacrifice Israel to the Arabs as English Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had sacrificed Czechoslovakia to Hitler in 1938. Chamberlain thought Germany would cease its aggressions if Czechoslovakia were surrendered. But of course, Chamberlain’s appeasement only emboldened Hitler to want more.


“Israel will not be Czechoslovakia,” Sharon asserted. “Israel will fight terrorism.”


When Palestinians assassinated former Israeli cabinet member Rehavam Zeevi October 17, Sharon’s office said Palestinians “crossed a red line.” He ordered re-occupation of certain Palestinian territories, vowing to apprehend the killers.


On October 22, U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker condemned Sharon’s move, and demanded immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops. Then President Bush reasserted the Palestinian state idea, while Colin Powell assured everyone this was not meant to threaten Israel.


Despite Powell’s soothing words, it was clear that Washington considered Israel the problem, not the Palestinians.


Such an outrageous view is not new. Historically, the Jews have always been viewed as the problem in times of international duress. Jews have held center stage during major world changes, from the time of ancient Egypt to the present Islamic conflict. It seems irresistible to blame them for everything.


But how can such a tiny minority be so incredibly significant, and draw such hatred?


Perhaps an answer lies in their ancient scriptures.


The Jews entered Canaan (ancient Palestine) with a rather unique assurance from their God. Deuteronomy 2:25 states, “This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee.”


That’s certainly an emotional reaction well-known to many anti-Semites. The very thought of Jews causes hysteria and fear.


But who would ever admit such fear?


People instead find fault with the Jews, and accuse them of immorality, or infidelity to God. This exonerates and justifies their hatred of them.


In fact, moral failure of the Jews, whenever it exists, is the world’s only hope of escaping their domination. After all, Moses promised the faithful Jews, “The Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail.” “And all the people of the earth … shall be afraid of thee.” Deut.28:13, 10.


The problem is, who wants second place to the Jews, or to anyone else?


My Comanche people always considered themselves superior. Most Gentile “tribes” likewise fight viciously in defense of their own preeminence. For Jews to have God-given superiority seems unfair. To be “chosen” seems like cheating.


The name of God Himself draws animosity toward those who carry it. Jews carry that Name in a way no Gentile ever can. Many Gentiles respond with fear, then envy, then hate.


Leftist Jews realized their dilemma in the ‘20s and ‘30s. They offered a social philosophy to elude their predicament. Marxists like Isaac Deutcher envisioned a social revolution abolishing all differentiation and borders, thus eliminating anti-Semitism once and for all.


Marxism waged war against Jewishness, Zionism and scripture, all in a profound attempt to deflect world hatred away from Jews. It advocated racial “equality,” undermining any special value in any race, particularly the Jews.


Yet, we Gentile tribesmen rather fancy ourselves, even if that means pitting our identity against the Jews. So God put fear of the Jews in all of us, to ensure we will never win. The Jew will always be present.


We’re supposed to make room for the Jew, and learn from him.


Yet, many Americans would betray their own Judeo-Christian foundation, would betray their own identity by betraying Israel.


They should consider the fact that sacrificing Israel might incur the “wrath of God” in ways more unexpected than September 11.


“I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse,” said God to Abraham, in Genesis 12:2.


Should America tempt history just for the superficial appeasement of Israel’s enemies – and of our own?

Update: And here is an article I found myself, on a Jewish Indian chief named Don Solomono.

Following this post from yesterday, longtime reader and supporter of Israel, Malia, had this to say:

What an insult to all decent American Indians! I would like to let Israelis know that the majority of American Indians, including myself, don’t support terrorist Arafat and the PLO Arabs.

Thanks for letting us know, Malia.

Malia also provided the links to the following articles, which illustrate this sentiment amongst American Indians. Click on more to view the entire articles.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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