At 6:30 a.m. on October 7, Hamas (formally called the Islamic Resistance Movement), the Iran-backed terror group controlling Gaza, launched an unprovoked and vicious surprise attack on more than 20 communities in Israel. Using rockets, paragliders, boats, motorcycles, other vehicles, and whatever other means they could, terrorists infiltrated the only Jewish state in the world and brutally murdered some 1,200 innocent people, injured more than 5,400, and seized 239 hostages, many badly injured.A quick response by many left-wing radicals and their feckless political enablers, beguiled by a mind-numbingly simplistic interpretation of “critical theory,” a Marxist-based framework postulating a binary division between oppressor and oppressed in all human interaction, was to excuse or equivocate about these brutalities because they were committed by or for the alleged external persecution of the Palestinians. This paradigm was clearly on display at an October 24 Security Council meeting on the Israel-Hamas conflict, where UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calling for a ceasefire said, “… the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing.”Similar sentiments inform the Hamas 1988 charter, a jihad-embracing document rejecting any attempts at a negotiated peace with Israel because “The Holy land is regarded, like all lands conquered forcibly by Islam, as unalienable property belonging to the Muslim public.”This charter contains not a word about restraint, ceasefire, non-violent conflict resolution or recognition that the Jews are the indigenous people of the Holy Land, a tiny part of whose traditional territory was restored to them by the United Nations in 1948. Instead, it calls for wiping the Jews off the face of the earth.In an October 24 interview with Lebanese TV channel LBC, Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, said “Israel is a country that has no place on our land. We must remove it because it constitutes a security, military and political catastrophe to the Arab and Islamic nation. We are not ashamed to say this.”In the interview, Hamad said that Israel’s existence is “illogical” and that it must be wiped off all “Palestinian lands,” a term the terror group uses to mean the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel.When asked whether this meant the complete annihilation of Israel, Hamad replied: “Yes, of course. We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do it twice and three times. The Al-Aqsa Deluge [the name Hamas gave its October 7 onslaught] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth,” Hamad continued. “Will we have to pay a price? Yes, and we are ready to pay it. We are called a nation of martyrs, and we are proud to sacrifice martyrs.”“We are the victims of the occupation. Period. Therefore, nobody should blame us for the things we do. On October 7, October 10, October one-millionth, everything we do is justified,” Hamad said.In reply, US presidential candidate Nikki Haley said: “Believe terrorists when they tell you who they are. This is why there should be no ceasefire until Hamas is destroyed.”Likewise, Israeli envoy to the UN Gilad Erdan calls UN Secretary-General Guterres’s remarks “shocking,” “horrible,” and “totally detached from the reality of our region.”“His comments… constitute a justification for terrorism and murder,” Erdan says. “It’s sad that a person with such views is the head of an organization that arose after the Holocaust.”Though understandable, Erdan’s remarks need elaboration because of the “did not happen in a vacuum” features carefully omitted by Guterres. The violent language in the 1998 Hamas charter has been backed by ten wars of extermination and hundreds of heinous terrorist attacks against innocent men, women, and children both in Israel and abroad since the moral and legal re-establishment of the sovereign State of Israel in 1948, a near unique process in a world most of whose states were born out violent conquest, as in most of Europe, or passive colonialism, as in Canada. Also lost to Guterras and other critics of Israel’s attempt to defeat its arch enemy is that Hamas has now become Israel’s worst post-independence foe because its heinous October breach of a 2021 truce was unprecedented in tactics and scale: Israel has not faced its enemies in street battles on its own territory since the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and it has also never faced a terror attack of this size that has taken the lives of so many civilians. While Hamas has repeatedly kidnapped Israelis in the past, it has never brutally dismembered so many innocent civilians and kidnapped so many hostages, including women, children, and the elderly. Mimicking Guterres, a November 14 statement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau argued, "On TV, on social media, we're hearing the testimonies of doctors, family members, survivors, kids who've lost their parents. The world is witnessing this. The killing of women and children, of babies. This has to stop," a claim that can easily be interpreted as an attempt to blame Israel for the war.Trudeau also urged that Israel exercise “maximum restraint” in preventing the loss of civilian life.Translation: fight Hamas with one hand tied behind your back.Not surprisingly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately fired back on X (formerly known as Twitter) writing:“@JustinTrudeau: It is not Israel that is deliberately targeting civilians but Hamas that beheaded, burned and massacred civilians in the worst horrors perpetrated on Jews since the Holocaust.”“While Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm’s way, Hamas is doing everything to keep them in harm’s way. Israel provides civilians in Gaza humanitarian corridors and safe zones, Hamas prevents them from leaving at gunpoint.”“It is Hamas, not Israel, that should be held accountable for committing a double war crime — targeting civilians while hiding behind civilians.”Exacerbating the decontextualized discussion of the current conflict, Israel’s enemies have also tried to vilify the only democracy and freest country in the Middle East by falsely comparing its Palestinian citizens and their peers in Gaza and the so-called West Bank (historically part of the ancient Israeli kingdoms of Judea and Samaria, lands fought over for millennia, and so hardly “unalienable property belonging [only] to the Muslim public”,) to the plight of black people in America and South Africa.These analogies are false. The struggle for black freedom either in the New World or South Africa has nothing to do with Israel.The simplistic assertion held by many Western activists is that because Israelis are white people and Palestinians are black people, the current conflict is just like American Jim Crow and South African apartheid: Israelis are racist victimizers; Palestinians are oppressed victims.There are several grounds for contesting this comparison.Unlike Europeans who have no historic claim to America or Africa, Jews are indigenous to the land of Israel because they have lived there, albeit in small numbers since being exiled by the Romans, continuously for more than 2,000 years. This means Zionism — the Jewish nationalist movement to recreate and support a state in the Promised Land — is not an expression of “settler colonialism” because Israel has never been a colony of any country, nor was it established as one. The Jews of Israel have age-old ancestral ties to the land: it’s where they originated, and the land from which they were exiled. Colonization does not exist when exiles return to their homeland.As Coleman Hughes has just argued:“European colonialists sought to expand empires and extract wealth on behalf of their home countries. Early Zionists, by contrast, were poor migrants fleeing pogroms, legally migrating to their ancestral homeland, and purchasing small tracts of land from willing Arab sellers. Once the British Mandate began, more Jews (many fleeing the Nazis) migrated and purchased land, such that by 1947, hundreds of thousands of Jews had migrated into the region. And in the years after 1948, the overwhelming majority of Jews living in Arab countries — fleeing persecution in places like Iraq, Morocco, and Egypt — migrated to Israel.”As for apartheid, there is none remotely resembling the former South African example. Jews and Palestinians share the same DNA given their origin in the same Middle Eastern area. Some 45% percent of Israel's Jewish population are categorized as Mizrahi (“Oriental” Jews defined as having grandparents born in the Middle East, North Africa, or Asia). When Muslims are included, 70% of Israelis are “people of colour.” Israeli Arabs serve in the military and are members of the elected Knesset [legislature]. The Supreme Court also has an Arab justice, Khaled Kabub.Nor is the term applicable to the West Bank or the self-governing Gaza Strip. Israeli policies in both enclaves — checkpoints and movement restrictions — are the product of legitimate security concerns, not racism. Security means preventing what happened on October 7, a horrific assault Hamas has promised to do over and over until no Jews are left.Those who wish to defend or excuse Hamas, are free to do so. But they should stop making nonsensical comparisons between the Palestinian cause — whether for statehood or the genocidal elimination of the Jews — and the black liberation struggle or between colonialism and Zionism. Hymie Rubenstein is editor of REAL Indigenous Report and a retired professor of anthropology, the University of Manitoba.