Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Portrait of a Hasbara Bottom-Feeder

For several of my previous articles destroying the "indigenous rights" narishkeit, check out:

Author's Note: This is a necessary post to deal with a nasty man. Ryan Bellerose isn't merely misguided. Were that the case, I would ignore him. But his presence on the hasbara scene is toxic, as I hope to document. A man who interferes in Jewish affairs and introduces nonsensical notions to confused Jews. A man who slanders and libels people. A man who regularly betrays his friends when he exhausts their resources and then stabs them in the back. A peddler of lies and a teller of tales. A dishonest man who has a fund-raising racket that is obscene and needs to be called out. Ironically, some of the most honest assessments of him, came from those who still support him. 

You probably never heard of Ryan Mervin Bellerose, unless you fall into his fan-base of insecure, nebbish, ashkenazi (yet ashkenazi denigrating) Jews trying to feel exotic. This includes an eclectic group  of bored housewives-usually aging and unhappy, spoiled, simpletons who don't have to work for a living, and deluded misfits who gravitate to whatever is current on the clueless hasbara scene. 

Of course you haven't heard of him, unless you live for such weak-kneed Jewish advocacy as "StandWithUs" and the like. Why would you? Ryan works for the Bnai Brith

For those who don't know, Ryan is one of the more odious "hasbara" tokens on the scene today. Obnoxious and ignorant as a doorknob. A charlatan who purports to be an Indian and also self-identifies as a Metis. Which one is it? And why does he choose two identities but rejects the third. A middle aged white man who until a few years ago identified as a Roman Catholic. An unsavory man who "GoFundsMe" his narcissistic life under the pretext of a supposed upcoming treatise on "indigenous rights". And to top it off, he has the gall to lecture Jews (he isn't even Jewish) on Torah, Judaism, and identity. 

In truth, Ryan has a problem. He should never write that promised book on indigenous rights for which he raised over 21 thousand dollars on GoFundMe. He will get eviscerated, just based upon so many contradictory statements over the years between his articles and glib Facebook posts. In any event, he has no choice. He must write the book or be exposed as a fraud who took money to travel, eat, and do whatever he wants. On the other hand, the book will be a treasure trove of nonsense to be eviscerated on all sides of the spectrum.

Ryan Bellerose is the kind of man who threw his former patron and friend under the bus because she dared retain a friendship with someone he disagreed with. A man who has no principles, panders to every side, and even associates himself with missionaries like the notorious Dumisani Washington. Let me be very clear. I am not calling him a missionary. But he is certainly friends with missionaries and those Jews who enable them. Bnai Brith's online activist, Ryan Mervin Bellerose. Furthermore, and this is key, Ryan attacks good Jews who call out people like Washington and the Jewish enablers who support him. This is perhaps the most cloying aspect of this man-child's personality. He interferes and picks the wrong side. Because he wants to eat at the hasbara trough.

Oh, lest I forget. He's also self-hating bigot who hates and denigrates white people, and rails against "Jews acting white". The irony is that much of his support comes from ashkenazi, "white", politically conservative Jews who parrot his nonsense. Bored people with too much time on their hands. He also resents Jews of color, because they have something he lacks. Dark skin. Ryan is race obsessed.

My first encounter with Ryan was his childish nasty response to my first article on the Jewish perspective on “indigenous rights”. His response was a hastily written screed where he personally attacked me, because I dared question his foolish beliefs. The reader can check my original article and his subsequent response to get an inkling of how Ryan reacts to an opposing thought. Like a child with a temper tantrum, who bites you because you wouldn’t let him stuff his face with all the cookies.

I’ve decided to chop up his very first article with hasbara blog  IsreallyCool because it represents his first convoluted attempt to define indigenous rights. The problem with this article was that he stuck his foot in his mouth and has since had to redefine, de-emphasize, manipulate and lie about his statements since he was called out. Specific examples will follow, although I will not comment on every single bullet point.

Here it is, and it truly is nonsense:
Ryan Mervin Bellerose (henceforth RMB): I am a Métis from Paddle Prairie Metis settlement. My father, Mervin Bellerose, co-authored the Métis Settlements Act of 1989, which was passed by the Alberta legislature in 1990 and cemented our land rights. I founded Canadians For Accountability, a native rights advocacy group, and I am an organizer and participant in the Idle No More movement in Calgary. And I am a Zionist.
Donny Fuchs (Henceforth DF): For the record, “Idle No More” is a racist, anti-Israel, militant Native American group whose members have assaulted innocent whites in Canada. In recent years, Ryan distanced himself from the group and he is no longer involved with them. There is no evidence that Ryan had any involvement in any of these violent attacks, but it sheds light on the group. From many online comments, one gets the impression that Ryan wasn’t embraced by the group and that personal insult rather than a sudden love for Israel may have contributed to his disaffection. From online documentation, it appears he was involved from 2013-16.
Indigenous status- RMB: To begin, let us acknowledge that there is no rule that a land can have only one indigenous people; it is not a zero sum game in which one group must be considered indigenous so that therefore another is not. However, there is a very clear guideline to being an indigenous people. It is somewhat complex but can be boiled down to the checklist below, as developed by anthropologist José R. Martínez-Cobo (former special rapporteur of the Sub-commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities for the United Nations).
DF: Who the hell is José R. Martínez-Cobo, and why do his leftist beliefs and selective criteria based on the soft-boiled science of sociology have any bearing on truth? Why should any normal person even accept the concept or Cobo’s definition? And why is the UN and their scholar relevant when it comes to a definition but not relevant in the application? As if these were concrete laws of physics and not the ramblings of sociology. Finally, who the hell is Bellerose to decide how many people can be indigenous to a land or why these criteria are even legitimate? He is a nobody and Cobo is a clown. But without the foundation of this U.N. stooge, his whole multicultural farce has no legs.
RMB: This list was developed because indigenous rights are beginning to be respected across the planet. This recognition is incredibly important, so we as indigenous people cannot allow non-indigenous people to make false claims, which ultimately would harm our own rights. Israel is the world’s first modern indigenous state: the creation and declaration of the sovereign nation of Israel marks the first time in history that an indigenous people has managed to regain control of its ancestral lands and build a nation state. As such, this is incredibly important for indigenous people both to recognize and to support as a great example for our peoples to emulate.
DF: According to his own standards, why is Bellerose indigenous? He is not even Indian. The Metis were never an Indian tribe. They were a mixed people, discriminated against by both sides, who forged their own self-identity. By some accounts, Ryan is ¼ Indian. Woody Allen may have as much NA blood quantum. One of his former patrons noted the absurdity of a middle-aged white man, who until a few years ago identified as conservative and Roman-Catholic. Such a person has the gall to lecture people about identity? Let him find himself!
RMB:The actual working definition of “indigenous people,” (not the Wikipedia version, nor Merriam Webster, both more suited to plants and animals) for purposes of this essay is that developed by aforementioned anthropologist José R. Martínez-Cobo. With this as my foundation, I will detail why Jews are indigenous to Israel, and why Palestinians are not.
Martinez-Cobo’s research suggests that indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing on those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system.
This historical continuity may consist of the continuation, for an extended period reaching into the present of one or more of the following factors:
  • Occupation of ancestral lands, or at least of part of them DF: Ironic from a Native-American perspective, there was no occupation of ancestral lands, since Indians would have to claim Siberia and the surrounding regions as their true ancestral lands. Furthermore, there was no monolithic Indian people and they murdered one another from the onset of their New World experiences. Recent studies show early warfare was way bloodier than today's historical revisionists would have you believe.
  • Common ancestry with the original occupants of these lands. DF: For that matter, the Metis have equal ancestry with their supposed colonizers, as Ryan would call them. Ryan takes a love story of different cultures joining in a union, and identifies it as colonization. As if white men were forced on unwilling Indians.
  • Culture in general, or in specific manifestations (such as religion, living under a tribal system, membership of an indigenous community, dress, means of livelihood, lifestyle, etc.) 
  • Language (whether used as the only language, as mother-tongue, as the habitual means of communication at home or in the family, or as the main, preferred, habitual, general or normal language)
  • Residence in certain parts of the country, or in certain regions of the world
  • Religion that places importance on spiritual ties to the ancestral lands
  • Blood quantum – that is, the amount of blood you carry of a specific people to identify as that people. The concept was developed by colonialists in order to eventually breed out native peoples. DF: A race based theory which Ryan has to include, but often minimize, perhaps because his own "blood quantum" is minimal.
Let us now look quickly at the Jews. How do they fit this definition?
  • Their lands were occupied, first by the Romans, then by the Arabs in the seventh century. DF: Correct. But we Jews rightfully colonized the land of the "indigenous" Canaanites, as per G-d’s will.
  • They share common ancestry with previous occupants as determined by several genetic studies. DF: What studies show that we share a common ancestry with previous inhabitants? Many claim that Arabs share common ancestry, and assert this as a fact. Furthermore, would colonizing a people but retaining genetic similarity allow one to be indigenous?
  • Their culture can be traced directly to the Levant, where it developed into what is now known as “Jewish culture.” While different Jewish communities have slightly different traditions, they all share the same root culture, and it remains unchanged. They have resurrected their traditional language, and while many still speak Yiddish and Ladino, Hebrew has become the primary language again. DF: The Levant is a huge area covering territory outside of Israel. The Southern regions of the Negev were often viewed as one large desert in both directions extending from the left (Egypt) to the right (Saudi Arabia). Geologically, from flora to fauna there is a tremendous homogeneous consistency. Are Bedouins indigenous?
  • They have spiritual ties to the land, which plays a large role in their traditions as a people. DF: Are the Congregationalists of New England indigenous, because of their beliefs? What about general advocates of "Manifest Destiny"?
RMB: Despite all the arguments about “European” Jews, they in fact meet all the criteria set forth by Martínez-Cobo. Even though Israel is the first modern indigenous state, it still has lands that are occupied by foreigners in Judea and Samaria. Those are ancestral lands and, many feel that they should be returned to the indigenous peoples for self-determination. Now, for the flip side.

DF: It is our land for one reason. Because G-d gave it to US,  not you Ryan, and instructed US to exterminate the "7 Nations".
RMB: Palestinians have what are called “rights of longstanding presence;” and although these are legitimate rights, they do not trump indigenous rights. The very nature of “longstanding presence” means that although they lived somewhere a long time, they do not have the right to occupy indigenous peoples and control them.
The argument that Palestinians are indigenous is incorrect for several reasons.
  • Approximately 50% percent of Palestinian Arabs can track their ancestors back farther than their great-grandparents. Many are descended from Arabs brought to the Levant by the British to build infrastructure after World War I
  • The vast majority of Palestinians are Arabic speaking Muslims; the Arabic language is indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula, as is the Muslim religion. The Muslim religion’s holiest places are not in the Levant, but in the city of Mecca, located in the Arabian Peninsula. They have no specifically Palestinian culture that is completely Palestinian dating before the 1960s; in fact, prior to that, the majority identified as “greater Syrians.”
  • Some Palestinians share common ancestry with indigenous peoples, but they neither follow indigenous traditions nor do they self-identify as those indigenous peoples. They share neither religion nor language with them. Blood quantum alone is insufficient to transmit indigenous status.
  • The Arabs of the Middle East subsumed several indigenous populations, but no group can become indigenous through subsuming indigenous peoples. Rather, they conquered the entire region and spread their own language, customs, and religion. This is historical fact.

DF: Why do Palestinians have "rights of long standing existence"? Another made up concept that Ryan hoists upon us and demands that we accept blindly. Who says? Certainly not Torah! The Torah grants them no rights at all. This whole charade of selective application of indigeneity is an absurdity. Ironically, Ryan has bigger problems with proponents of "The Judean Hammer" platform than with Alternative Action types such as Yehuda Hakohen who grant equal indigenous rights to Arabs under the rubric of a common Semitic identity. Fools on both sides of the divide. 

RMB: Now you might ask, why is this important? It is important to indigenous people because we cannot allow the argument that conquerors can become indigenous. If we, as other indigenous people, allow that argument to be made, then we are delegitimising our own rights.
If conquerors can become indigenous, then the white Europeans who came to my indigenous lands in North America could now claim to be indigenous. The white Europeans who went to Australia and New Zealand could now claim to be indigenous. If we, even once, allow that argument to be made, indigenous rights are suddenly devalued and meaningless. This is somewhat peculiar, as those who are arguing for Palestinian “indigenous rights” are usually those who have little grasp of the history, and no understanding of the truth behind indigenous rights.
If you should encounter the argument that conquerors may themselves become indigenous to a region by virtue of conquering, direct those who assert the argument to this article, and help them understand not only is the argument wrong – it is dangerous to Indigenous people everywhere.
DF: Then by definition, WE Jews are not indigenous because we conquered, killed, and expelled the Canaanites. Ryan has struggled mightily with this one and has made poor attempts on later occasions to explain away the mistake, including the seemingly irrelevant claim that in one of my articles I cited the two above paragraphs in bold, without including the final italicized one. Now I may be slow, but I don’t see how the final paragraph changes anything. He qualifies his statements on colonization very clearly. Here he plays a foolish man's game. The first two paragraph's preclude the possibility as an ironclad Ryan rule that conquerors cannot become indigenous. The final paragraph in red, notes that those who maintain they became indigenous by virtue of conquering should refer to this article.  Having noted this mistake later on, Ryan claimed that conquering alone doesn't make one indigenous. Of course this is all nonsense since the Indians came and conquered and exterminated other peoples, and then butchered one another. 
So, what has Ryan done to deal with this narrative of Jewish displacement of Canaanites (which I fully support as a Torah Jew). On different occasions, he throws out some version of the three arguments below:
  1. We Jews are the closest thing to the Canaanites. Unfounded claims based on nothing.
  2. We Jews have more Canaanite blood than anyone else. More stupid blood-based assertions without evidence.

What studies on earth show such foolishness? Surely the existence of Jewish religion and culture and the lack of Canaanite religion/culture/identity prove otherwise. Blood based theories? What studies prove that we Jews have Gibeonite blood? Such perverted pseudo-historical foolishness.
His third defense is to inquire ‘where are the Canaanites today’? In other words, if there were some Canaanites around then they MAY have a claim. According to this logic the failure of the “white colonists” in America was that they neglected to exterminate every Indian, which would have included the theoretical possibility of being indigenous. Pretty sick stuff. So not being exterminationist was the problem, huh Ryan?
Of course, all of this is nonsense, since Indians came from Siberia and murdered and maimed other peoples and each other to conquer territory. They did it for centuries. But according to multicultural theory it is only a crime when Europeans do it. Kind of reminds me of the disturbing double standard when it comes to calling out the black community for high murder rates. But I digress.
What if Jews wore head-dresses? Or engaged in a rain dance?
Isn’t it curious that a Metis from rural Canada supposedly fighting for his own people, requires Jews to give him a forum. Why is that? Because Ryan doesn’t speak for Indians or the Metis, and they wouldn’t pay him even if he did represent them. He needs liberal Jewish organizations because they throw money at token gentiles. There is no Metis equivalent of the Bnai Brith. The hip hasbara organization won’t pay him (despite their occasional use of him), so he went with the antiquated left-wing Bnai Brith, in a move akin to the nervous fumbling of a virgin on his wedding night. Excuse the crude reference but the metaphor is most accurate. Awkward and uncomfortable, but terribly accurate. Who joins the Bnai Brith? Young liberal Jews today are attracted to JStreet, the bastard child of the federations, and despite their Facebook presence the Bnai Brith is as dead as Abe Lincoln.

*Incidentally, I recently stumbled upon this juicy tidbit from a while back and had to include it in this article. By Ryan's logic, being that he cannot cogently explain how Indians and other "native"peoples could exterminate and displace others and be indigenous, or how Jews can be indigenous if we conquered the Canaanites; I believe that there is a strong basis for arguing that the United States and Canada of today are both controlled by indigenous people. Case closed. Shut your mouth Ryan. Incidentally, I love how he says WE, this 3/4 European, formerly Roman Catholic but still very Caucasian dude:

A message to Ryan who slapped the bear:

Go away Ryan. You are a fool.  You are guilty of the same cultural appropriation you accuse others of. Whoring yourself for any cause, left, right, or other just to stay relevant. Aligning with the leftist Bnai Brith, the poorly named JDL Canada (more like ADL Canada), and the crime of befriending and supporting missionaries such as Dumisani Washington and troubling personalities like Kay Wilson.
I charge you with fraudulent fundraising, overall nastiness, ignorance, pettiness, and vindictiveness. You aren’t Jewish and you have no say in our destiny. You don’t represent Jews Judaism or Israel. You are a hasbara token, solely because Bnai Brith couldn’t get a real Indian with a head-dress. If they could, you would be out of a job. Nor do you represent Indians or Metis who want no part of you, and your awkward charade. The Bnai Brith for G-d’s sake! It’s like a bad joke!

Go away Ryan. Far away. You aren't Jewish. You aren't an honorary Jew. You know nothing of Torah and just a few years ago you expressed belief in "that man". You repeatedly have the gall to lecture learned Jews on Torah. You are an angry middle aged man too afraid to look in the mirror and see the frightened vulnerable child peering back. What you need is a therapist and a commitment to self-improvement. Your righteous indignation is a cover for unhappiness . Go deal with your problems or go smokum a peace pipe for all I give a damn. Just stay the hell out of Jewish affairs and get your own house in order.

As before I forget Ryan, we are still waiting for that book on indigenous rights you raised over 21 thousand dollars to write. I also remember that you promised me a free copy which I intend to read and eviscerate with a red pen. I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity. Send me a PM and I'll give you my mailing address. Could you autograph it for me?


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