Special Reports

Similarities between Hindutva, Zionism discussed

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By Our Own Correspondent

New Delhi: Amjad Alqasis, an international human rights law expert and Rev. Dr Jamal Khader, Palestinian Biblical scholar, spoke at conferences in both Chennai and Delhi on similarities between Zionism and Hindutva. They participated in a national consultation in Delhi during 17-18 July on the struggle of the Palestinian people for statehood and found similarities between the ideologies of Hindutva and Zionism which they said were promoting division and suspicion of ‘the other’. “Hindutva and Zionism are two ideologies that are strikingly similar in content and orientation. They have grown into forms of nationalism that are intolerant of pluralism and seek exclusivist identities for their followers,” concluded the participants of the conference in New Delhi. The event saw participants from the Church, Parliament, rights groups and civil society.

In his inaugural address, Mani Shankar Aiyer, Member of Parliament and former Union minister, presented delegates with multiple challenges that Indians must respond to. In his keynote address, Aiyer said that establishing diplomatic relations with Israel was a mistake at par with the destruction of the Babri Masjid and both were committed by the same prime minister. He said relations have progressed so much that Israel today is the largest supplier of non-essential goods [read arms] to India. Describing Oslo accords as the beginning of a panchayati raj for Gaza and West Bank, he said that there is no room for a two-state solution because Israel will never allow a Palestinian state.  

The conference was organised by “Indian Solidarity Ecumenical Network - Palestine” (ISEN) which is a new group of several Christian organisations in India. An ISEN delegation visited Palestine last year. A member of the delegation, Samuel Jayakumar who moderated one of the sessions, said that life in Palestine is like a prison. Life there is more pathetic than the caste system in India, he said.

The conference had two participants from Palestine, human rights activist Amjad Al-Qasis and Father Jamal Khader, both Christians.

Al-Qasis explained in detail the racist Israeli society which has two sets of laws, one for the Jews and the other for the Palestinian Arabs who include both Muslims and Christians. The legal and constitutional framework has been meticulously laid down with a view to favour Jews and discriminate against Arabs. Palestinians under Israeli occupation have been divided into five categories: Palestinians living in Israel, living in Jerusalem, living in West Bank,  living in Gaza and those living in diaspora (refugees). All the five have different rules. If a Palestinian of one category falls in love with a Palestinian of another category, he/she cannot live with him/her in Israel. The Israeli society is so racist that Israel’s interior minister said two months ago that Israel is the country of whites only. Israel’s Law of Return allows any Jew from anywhere in the world to “return” to Israel as of right while Palestinians made refugees by Israel cannot dream to return to their homes and lands. Israeli Nationality Law desprives non-Jews of equality in Israel while Political Parties Law allows only pro-Israel parties to get registered and function. Jewish National Fund actively discriminates against Arabs and works for all Jews, even those who do not live in Israel. Al-Qasis said that a strong Jewish community flourished in the Arab world for close to two thousand years but Zionists have extinguished this. He said that in Israel, both Left and Right are zionist. Even the Israeli Communist Party is zionist. Non-zionist Jews are less than one percent of the Jewish population of Israel, he said.

Father Jamal Khader explained in detail the Christian Zionism, a movement which started long before the emergence of Jewish Zionism. Its aim is to help collect all Jews inside Palestine as a precondition for the second coming of Jesus who will convert Jews to Christianity. In essece, Christian Zionism is anti-Jewish but it suits both at present andthey to cooperate with each other because Israel benefits from the influence and resources of Christian movements supporting it in the US and Europe. Christian zionists in the US say that Israeli interests are identicial to that of the US. To make their case, Christian zionists pick some sections of the Bible and neglect the rest which do not support Jews or Judaism. He said, these groups have “supermarket”, i.e., pick-n-choose, theology -- they choose and pick some out of context texts of the Bible in order to support their case. The apartheid system in South Africa too was based on a selective reading of the Bible, he said, adding that these people ignore the whole history between 3000 years and now. Their plan is: return of the Jews to Palestine; establishment of the Jewish State/Third Temple; end of time and return of Jesus Christ to this world. And when this had happened Jews will be annihilated by Jesus. As such, it is an anti-Jewish movement and Jews know it, Father Khader said adding that Jews go along with this as they need current political and material support for Israel. He said that Jews know that Christians are their worst enemies   and that their best friends used to be Muslims, especially in Muslim Spain. Father Khader said that Christian Zionists have now started saying that we should not say that Jews killed Jesus because this belief led to the Holocaust. He cautioned that these ideas are slowly percolating into mainstream Churches, which is dangerous.

Participants expressed their displeasure at the Indian government and corporate sector’s  growing relations with Israel while the zionist country is in constant violation of international law and pays no heed to UN resolutions pertaining to ending the 45 year occupation of Palestine. Speakers included Prof Achin Vanaik, Prof. Shamsul Islam, Fr Maverick Fernandes and Dr Ram Puniyani.

The consultation demanded an end to Israeli occupation based on UN resolutions and international law. It also decided to hold  a nation-wide campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BSD) against Israel.    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 August 2012 on page no. 13

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