Using Gandhi To Sanctify Hamas

gandhiIn October 2015, President Mahmoud Abbas “assured” the President of India that he and his band of cronies and oligarchs ruling the Palestinian Authority were in reality “seekers of peace” merely “following in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi.”

President of Palestinian Authority told the visiting Indian delegation that “non-violence is the only way for Palestine to realize its dream of an independent Palestinian State.”

It was not known if the visiting Indian delegation was indignant at the disingenuous comparison or amused at their host’s sad excuse for a stand-up gig. The current wave of Arab terror that started in October last year — just as the Indian President began his state visit to Israel — has taken the lives of 31 Israelis and wounding more than 400. In the same period Arab terrorists carried out more than 200 stabbings, 83 shootings, and 42 car ramming attacks targeting Jews and Israelis.

It is not the first time Palestinian leadership and its advocates in the West are using historic metaphors rooted India’s struggle for independence to sanctify their violent and malicious campaign targeting the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

Anti-Israel activists in the West pepper their banners, speeches and press statements with the terms like “nonviolent struggle” and “civil-disobedience.” And describe themselves as “anti-Colonialists.” Back in the days when India was struggling for independence from the British Rule these words had a historical meaning and context.

For “Palestinian” activists, these are mere smoke screens to camouflage their primitive Jew-hatred.

It is high time we Indians called this “Palestinian” grand theft of our political heritage by its name. For far too long activists in the West have been “misappropriating” (ironically one of their favorite words) and plagiarizing my ancestral and historical traditions.

But what would the “Palestinian Cause” be without these and other empty words fished out from the alphabet soup of history to carry on with an age-old Jew-hating agenda? Co-opting other people’s historic triumphs and encroaching on their present misery – if it helps them smear and malign Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.

Lacking any depth of its own, this ideology of hate has resorted to stealing other peoples’ historical traditions and struggles.

The conman-ship is displayed over and over again; be with the historic struggle of the black South Africans against the Apartheid Pretoria Regime, African-American Civil Rights movement, or the ongoing struggles of the Native Indians in North America.

It is time to dismantle this retro-fitted façade cropped up to disguise the age-old Jew hatred.

Growing and flourishing Israel-India ties have not escaped the praying eyes of these unsavory thugs. The BDS Movement is trying hard to make inroads into India. On March 8, 2016, the group issued an action plan calling for the “need to take [anti-Israel boycott] campaign to small cities and town” and “use of cultural forms” as platform for their propaganda.

Despite sending heavyweights like the “Grand Mufti of Palestine” Mohammed Hussein, government and public opinion in India has ignored their calls. In June 2014, The Grand Mufti toured Mosques across the country urging practicing Muslims to pressure their government to cut ties with Israel.

Professional activists like Omar Barghouti, Gideon Levy and other Palestinian agitators have visited university campuses, academic conferences and book fairs in search of sympathetic audience on the Indian Far-Left.

Leading Indian newspapers offer a welcome platform to many of these professional activists such as Uri AvneryAli Abunimah, Amira Hass and others to carry out their misinformation campaign without facing rebuttal or fact checking. The most interesting case was of Indian Professor Shail Mayaram. Writing for a leading Indian newspaper in September 2014, Professor Mayaram called for a Boycott of Israel.

Having herself worked in Israel as Visiting Chair at Tel Aviv University, Mayaram asked to “press for stronger action in favour of Palestinian statehood including the economic boycott of Israel if required.”

Mayaram maliciously compares Jews with Nazi, saying, “The state of Israel seems to have learnt more from its persecutors than its benefactors in the calculated precision of its targeting and killing.”

Needless to say, Professor Mayaram certainly looks forward to another stint at an Israeli university paid by “evil Zionist” taxpayers.

It is easy to dismiss the disingenuous arguments and the dubious characters pedaling the “Palestinian” agenda. There is, however, a genuine need to combat the well-orchestrated efforts by anti-Israel BDS movement to set foot in India. A matter of concern not to Jews or State of Israel, but a matter of concern — first and foremost — to Indians who care about the kind of society we remain, the values we project, and the alliances we forge.

The fact that historically Indians and Hindus have not been infected with antisemitism does not guarantee that we would be perpetually immune to it — unless we Indians are prepared to nip this creeping campaign in the bud.

Grassroots movements like “Indians For Israel” and others will have to redouble their efforts to prevent anti-Israel boycott movement from misusing public event and platforms to peddle their Jew hatred.

As the epidemic of antisemitism runs rampant in Arabia and raises its head in the West again, it would do us in India good to remember the history. The Jews have survived the near cyclical outbreaks of antisemitism throughout the recorded history — though at an unspeakably high cost, but the hosts who carried that scourge have been utterly been destroyed. If antisemitism is injurious to the Jews, it is deadly to the host harboring it.

It is beyond our means as Indians to “save the West” or cure the pathologies of the Arab world, but we cannot back away from the fight against this menace when it appears on our soil.


Vijeta Uniyal

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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