The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India from 14 to 19 January 2018 completes 25 years since the two countries established full diplomatic relations in 1992, following the victory of the United States (US) over the Soviet Union in the protracted Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel from 4 to 6 July 2017 came in a year that marked the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration by the British occupying government in 1917, asserting the objective of establishing a Jewish “National Home” in Palestine, a promise British imperialism had made to the Zionists.


This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Zionist leadership’s proclamation of the State of Israel on 14 May 1948. Collective memory of colonialism was then quite strong. In those Nehruvian times, India did acknowledge the gross violations of the rights of the Palestinians who were brutally dispossessed and expelled to make way for the creation of Israel.


Zionism must be recognised for what it was and is—a colonialist and racist ideology that justifies the dispossession and the expulsion of the indigenous population of Arabs and denies their human rights. Anti-Zionism is not anti-Jewishness; it is also not anti-Semitism. In claiming that its brutal actions against the Palestinians are being carried out in the name of the world’s Jews, Israel poses a threat to the humanity of all Jews. Under Zionist leadership, Israel is an occupying force in Palestinian lands. The State of Israel refuses to treat the Palestinians as equals. The Palestinian liberation struggle against Israeli sub-imperialism is part of a wider struggle against imperialism and the reactionary regimes of the Arab world allied with imperialism. With the support of Washington, and in the course of three wars—in 1948, 1967, and 1973—Israel has gained over time de facto possession of the entire area west of the River Jordan. Furthermore, it has been controlling and limiting access of the Palestinians to their lands, besides subjugating and containing them in a most brutal manner.


India’s post-Nehruvian political brokers, if one were to take all their political posturing with a pinch of salt, really revealed their true colours on the Palestinian question when in 1991, New Delhi voted for the repudiation of the United Nations resolution that had equated Zionism with racism, a resolution India had supported in the mid-1970s. The real links with Israel over the last 25 years have been military ones, involving Israeli weapon sales and even Israeli consultancy services on homeland security, including so-called counterterrorism operations and intelligence. India is now Israel’s largest market for armaments/weapons. According to past issues of Jane’s Terrorism and Security Monitor, Indian battalion and intelligence agency personnel have been trained in the adoption (against Kashmiri militants) of the same counter-insurgency tactics that the Israeli Defence Force and Mossad have been employing against Palestinian resistance fighters.


While no new defence programmes or contracts were announced in the course of Netanyahu’s visit, New Delhi did try to attract Israeli foreign direct investment and transfer of technology in the manufacture of defence equipment under its “flagship … Make in India initiative” (“India–Israel Joint Statement,” 15 January 2018). And given that the Indian Army has been bent upon importing the Israeli Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ “Spike” anti-tank guided weapons rather than waiting for the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s “indigenous” version of these weapons, an intergovernmental agreement to this effect may not be far behind. Joint development of medium-range, surface-to-air missiles for the Indian Army, participation of the Indian Air Force in an air combat exercise hosted by the Israeli Air Force last year, and now, “comprehensive cooperation in counterterrorism,” Indo–Israeli military-strategic ties have certainly taken off like never before with Hindutvavadi leadership at the helm of the executive of the Indian state.


Hindutvavadis have always stood in awe of the militaristic nationalism of the Zionists. But now, with “comprehensive cooperation in counterterrorism,” will those in power emulate even more, in their conduct and policy towards the Kashmiri people, the Zionists’ treatment of the Palestinian people? Just as one must distinguish Judaism (and Jewishness) from Zionism, so also one must distinguish Hinduism from Hindutva. Whereas Hinduism is a grouping of religious beliefs and faiths whose aim is spiritual salvation, Hindutva is a fascist ideology—it is the Indian variant of Nazism. Just as Zionism is the anti-thesis of Judaism (Jewishness), so Hindutva is the anti-thesis of Hinduism. Just as Jews need to assert that the Zionists do not represent them, so also, it is time Hindus declare that the Hindutvavadis do not represent them. In this fight, Hindu, Jew or Muslim, all need to stand by humanity and Palestine, humanity and Kashmir, and bring an end to anti-Semitism (prejudice and hatred against Jews and other Semites, including the Palestinians) and anti-Islamism (prejudice and hatred against Muslims).

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