Opinion | World

Nick Estes: Indigenous people cannot cross picket line on Palestine

Nick Estes. Photo: Twitter

Nick Estes, a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, pens an open letter to James Anaya, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, addressing a trip the human rights leader made to Israel last month:
As you may or may not know, since 2005 Palestinian human rights organizations have called for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) as a form of non-violent advocacy to pressure the state of Israel 1) to end its occupation of all Arab-Palestinian lands, 2) to recognize the equal rights of Arab-Palestinians, and 3) to respect the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes as stipulated in U.N. Resolution 194. BDS stems from the original call from Palestinian civil society, issued in 2004 under the umbrella organization the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

For the last 70 years, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental human rights and continues to refuse to comply with international law. For this reason, countless unions, academic associations, churches, and grassroots movements from around the world have joined the BDS movement.

The U.N. was founded in 1948 partly to end colonialism. What Israel practices is a form of settler colonialism, very much aligned with what the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia practice against Indigenous Peoples. The goal of settler colonialism is to seize Native lands (often by force) and replace Native peoples with a settler population. As we can see in both Palestine and North America, this is a highly contested process. People don’t willingly give up their lands and lives. And it is a process that has a beginning and (to date) no end, unless we challenge it. Colonialism is a crime against humanity.

Read More on the Story:
An Open Letter to S. James Anaya: Honor the Palestinian Call for Academic Boycott and Human Rights (Indian Country Media Network 4/6)