Thousands Rally in Support of Israel In Kolkata

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Thousands marched on Kolkata’s streets on Wednesday in support of Israel. Demonstrators holding pro-Israel banners marched through the streets of Kolkata, demanding the government to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Community leaders from delivered speeches pledging solidarity with the Jewish State. The rally was organized to mark the tenth anniversary of the founding of Hindu Samhati, an organization dedicated toward the unity among Hindus in Eastern India.

Demonstrators carrying pro-Israel banners called Prime Minister Narendra Modi to recognize the city of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and relocate the Indian Embassy to the holy city. Participants carried banners reading; ‘India Israel friendship forever,’ ‘Jerusalem eternal capital of Israel,’ India-Israel ancient cultures, modern miracle,’ among others. Organisers placed the number of participants around 50,000 to 70,000.

The speakers raised concerns over the recent wave of aggression of carried out by Iran and its proxies against Israel, which they saw in the wider context of rising tide of Islamist terrorism aimed at Indians as well.

“Moving our Embassy to Jerusalem will honor Israel’s long-standing commitment to peace, and strengthen the bond between our two ancient peoples,” said said Mr. Tapan Ghosh, the founder of Hindu Samhati. He therefore urged the Indian government to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State. A resolution to this effect was passed by a voice vote.

Mr. Devdutta Maji, the Vice-President of Hindu Samhati, mentioned the first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion at the occasion, citing the founding father of the modern Jewish State as a role model for today’s Hindu leadership along with Mr. Tapan Ghosh. He also spoke in favor of relocating the Indian Embassy to Jerusalem.

“Zionism, the national liberalisation struggling of the Jewish people, serves as a great inspiration to us Hindus.” said Vijeta Uniyal, founder of Indians For Israel, an Indian Diaspora initiative aimed at combating antisemitism and promoting stronger Israel-India ties. “It is a great inspiration to us as we eliminate caste discrimination, reviving our ancient civilization, and innovative for a better future,” he said addressing the gathering.

Hindu Samhati, a non-partisan organisation, war created in 2007 as a response to decade-long pogroms and Islamist terrorism aimed at Hindus in Indian state of West Bengal and the neighbouring Muslim-majority Bangladesh. Today, thousands of Hindu Samhati activists and community organisers are working in Hindu communities across the eastern India.

The rally was held just days ahead of the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to India. Iranian leader will address a gathering of Muslims at a historic mosque in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.

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Author is an Indian journalist based in Germany. In 2012 he founded "Indian For Israel", an Indian Diaspora initiative to combat antisemitism in Europe and foster stronger Israel-India ties. He graduated from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and has worked for over 15 years in government and private sector. He is Senior Distinguished Fellow at New York-based Gatestone Institute.

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