Jews as an indigenous people

Found this great article (it’s written by a lawyer… like me!). It’s long but it really lays out some key ideas:

  1. The Jews are an indigenous people (just like Native Americans) and are entitled to aboriginal rights within their ancient homeland.
  2. The Palestinians as they are understood today are a relatively recent phenomenon (used to be only Jews called themselves Palestinians!)
  3. #1 and #2 does not give one the right to deny the current existence of a distinct Palestinian people along with the rights of this newborn Palestinian people to self-determination, independence, and territory.

The author believes that we need a peaceful process respecting the dignity of both peoples and the rights of the newly emerged Palestinian people along with the rights of the ancient Jewish people.

See more at

What are your thoughts?



  • jan

    I agree with the above but all this in theory sounds easy but it is extremely difficult to implement on the ground especcially when foreign powers think they understand evrything here. There ARE efforts on a local level to promote tolerance and understanding between the different ethnic groups ( may I add here that there are also problems with negative stereotyping and intolerance retween the different Jewish groups as well as Jewish- Arab relations ) and work towards a better acceptance and integration, which will never be complete and shouldn’t need to be, every ethnic group should keep and be proud of it’s culture, there are groups who work towards this but they are not enough. Jan

  • Andre De Angelis

    This is laughable. The Jewish immogrants must be the first aboriginal peope that had to be trasnported to their lnative land by boat.

    Again it’s would take too much space here to disect all of Herz’s arguments, but they have all been dismissed in any legal fora. All Herz is doing here is preaching to the converted.

    The 2004 International Court of Justice advisory opinion noted that the
    existence of the Palestinian people was no longer in issue. The Court
    noted that they had been the subjects of a sacred trust of civilization
    mentioned in Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. It
    also cited the UN Partition Plan and the exchange of letters between
    Rabin and Arafat as examples of dispositive evidence.

    The ICJ reviewed a complaint about continued Israeli
    occupation, colonialism, and apartheid in 2003. It’s findings of fact
    found that Israel was systematically violating the human rights of the
    inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, with the notable
    exception of the citizens of Israel. It applied the same test that it
    used in the Namibia case, and advised that Israel was violating its
    obligations under the UN Charter to respect the right of
    self-determination of the Palestinian people.

    A “people” cannot be defined in terms of ethnic identity alone, because
    if it were, participation in the political process would then be
    determined solely on the basis of ethnic characteristics. That’s
    contrary to Article 1(3) of the UN Charter and customary minority rights
    to equality under international law. A new state or people in the
    modern era will always include all of the indigenous groups inhabiting a
    territory. See Thomas D. Musgrave, Self-determination and National
    Minorities, Oxford Monographs in International Law, 1997, page XV.

    In its advisory
    opinion (para 118), the ICJ noted that in connection with the right of
    self determination, the existence of a Palestinian people was no longer
    in doubt because Prime Minister Rabin had exchanged letters with
    Chairman Arafat on the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.

    Like I said, I coudl go on pulling aparth Herz’s piece, bu you get the idea. Being a lawyer is no guarantee of credibility, honesty or even authority.

    • Allen Z. Hertz

      Are you always so certain about everything? Or is it that are you only so certain about matters involving Jews? Personally, my view is more modest. For example, instead of regarding international law as a scientific discipline, I have learned that international law is perhaps more akin to an ongoing discussion about rights in which every government and NGO has its lawyers and every law professor an opinion. An argument with which you disagree is not necessarily a “dishonest” argument. There are some points where I disagree with what you have written and also some points where it is clear that you have misunderstood what I have written. Just for example, I have never denied that “today” there exists a Palestinian People with claims to self-determination, territory and independence. That point alone should suffice to call into question whether you are competent to judge whether or not the article in question was “honest.” By the way, my article in “American Thinker” did contain one clear legal error, but not with regard to any of the points that you have raised.

  • edsg25

    i’ll have to run this idea that the Jews are an indigenous people with all those blue eyed, blonde haired Jews I know. 2000 years of Diaspora apparently avoided the mixing of blood through consensual sex or rape. amazing. in a quarter of that time, some 500 years, African Americans managed to be anything but an indigenous people of Africa.

    the notion of Jews as indigenous people of the middle east is the whackiest of ideas and never would have been invented if it weren’t for the only job such a crazy idea could have: to score points to support the notion of zionism. not such a bad deal though: it allows Juan in Buenos Aries with one drop of Jewish blood running through his veins or Ivan with one drop in his veins in St. Petersburg to “return” to zion and pad the numbers of Jews.

    and the real beauty of Jews being an indigenous people to the middle east? It has a corollary: Palestinians are not indigenous people (or not even a people at all) and never even lived between the Jordan and the Mediteranean because that place was “a land without people” while all those indigenous Jews were “a people without land.”

    Personally I always thought Jews were indigenous people to Long Island, Boca and vicinity, Beverly Hills, and the Catskills,but what do i know.

    I’m a proud Jew. We are amazing people. I thought the ancient Greeks were the world’s greatest myth generators but their talents couldn’t touch ours. Indigenous people returning to a land without people: Zeus has nothing on that concept.

    Personally I always thought Jews were indigenous people to Long Island, Boca and vicinity, Beverly Hills, and the Catskills, but what do I know.

    • Allen Z. Hertz

      A quarter of a century ago, your views about Jewish ancestry would have carried some weight. Since then there has been a considerable amount of groundbreaking research into Jewish genetic diseases. This genetic research also opened a new window for examining other questions about Jewish communities. For example, we now know that Sephardim are genetically closer to Ashkenazim than either to their respective contiguous non-Jewish populations. Moreover, geneticists are able to date genome change and therefore are able to tell us that today’s Jews are significantly descended from the Jews of the ancient world. Make no mistake, here there is no claim to anything like racial purity! However, now totally excluded is the possibility that the Jews have for the past two thousand years been merely practitioners of a religion, but not a People with an appreciable element of genetic descent. Do some reading. There are Oxford University Press books on this topic of Jewish genetics.

  • edsg25

    “This is laughable and is about a credible as the case for intelligent design. The Jewish immigrants must be the first aboriginal peope that had to be tranaported to their lnative land by boat.”

    there may be some inaccuracies here; from Buenos Aires, the transport is by plane (not that that should prevent El Al from blazing “Exodus” across the tail). πŸ˜‰

    • Allen Z. Hertz

      The simple problem here is your astonishing lack of knowledge of the history of the Jewish community in the “land of Israel” from ancient times until today. The historical fact is that from the 6th century BCE indigenous ethnogenesis of a self-identified “Jewish” People, there have always been some Jews living in the land of Israel. Being “the” aboriginal People or “the” native People doesn’t require being the majority of the population. In the USA, Indian tribes like the Apache and the Cherokee are today still “the” native Peoples, though they are just a fraction of the USA population. Similarly, for most of the past two thousand years, the Jews living in the “land of Israel” have had the best claim to be “the” aboriginal People there. And, you can be sure that, during most of that time, the Arabs and Muslims subjected those Jews to consistent discrimination and periodic persecution. Jewish history is a serious topic for study, not merely for nostalgia and discounting. We actually know a considerable amount about the Jews who lived in the “land of Israel” down through the centuries. Sometimes, we even know their names, because some of them were quite famous. Moreover, there were always Jews living nearby in other parts of the Middle East — as many as one million in 1900.

  • Dan

    I disagree with your calling the Arab population in Palestine/Israel a “recent phenomenon.” Islam as a religion in Palestine? perhaps, depending on your relative time-frame.

    Keep in mind that the indigenous population extends further than Judaic civilisation – there were people already living there (Canaanites); Arabic was not their spoken language then, but it is now – today these descendants span Muslim, Christian, Jewish (Palestinian-Jews) and Non-religious beliefs.

    I do appreciate your sincerity though. My thoughts are as follows:
    – One democratic state, all current habitants get 1 vote each
    – Allow displaced Palestinians who can prove their descent the right of return
    – Apply a weapons ban on all civilians (to prevent violent outbreaks or civil war)
    – Make Jerusalem humanity’s example for coexistence

    Signed: practicing arab Muslim