70,000 Hindus Demand: Move India’s Embassy to Jerusalem

Hindu Samhati Rally (Image Credit: Vijeta Uniyal)

Israel, surrounded by envious enemies trying to undermine the tiny Jewish state, has become synonymous with survival, creativity, and economic boom. And while Islamists and communists worldwide regularly rally in calls to wipe it out, the Jewish people’s ability to survive despite all odds finds strong resonance in India.

In a strong show of solidarity with the Jewish people, the Indian organization Hindu Samhati came out with a massive rally in support of Israel as part of its foundation day on February 14, 2018. The giant crowd called to move India’s embassy to Jerusalem immediately and thereby solidify the alliance between the two states.

Hindu Samhati was founded 10 years back to serve the poorest of poor Hindus in the rural heartland of Eastern Bharat, an area plagued by Islamist violence, insecurity, and consequently poverty. The founder of the organization, Tapan Ghosh, is a champion of human rights. He has helped to save thousands of women from human trafficking, sexual assault, and forced conversions to Islam. His work among the tribal people in India facing hardships is well documented; today the organization has emerged as a force to be reckoned with.

The rally was attended by Hindus and Buddhists from the states of Bengal, Assam, and Jharkhand, who comprise the majority religions of these regions. Muslims account for 14-27% of the area, and tensions have arisen between the peoples.

Hindu Samhati Rally (Image Credit: Vijeta Uniyal)

Even though nefarious forces opposing the Hindu-Jewish global alliance prevented many thousands of others from joining and mainstream media was largely negative in its coverage of the event, the gigantic crowd of 70,000 volunteers is testimony to the fact that Hindus believe in this alliance. Such a huge turnout in a non-political rally shows the deep trust held by the Hindus from the Eastern part of Bharat for the Hindu Samhati leadership. Their influence on the ground will very positively impact India-Israel relations in times to come.

This is not the first time the group has come out en masse to back Israel either. Back in 2014, terrorism against Israel was on the rise and Hamas fired rockets while using women and children as human shields, forcing Israel to strike back in self-defense. While the world urged Israel to be tolerant towards the intolerant, it was Hindu Samhati that staged the biggest pro-Israel rally outside of Israel itself, with 20,000 people participating in the show of solidarity. The founder of Hindu Samhati, Sri Tapan Ghosh, then urged the entire Hindu world to stand strongly with Israel (an excerpt of his speech can be seen here).

Tapan suffered from backlash in 2014 after the first pro-Israel rally; right after the most recent rally - the largest pro-Israel rally in India’s history - he was illegitimately sent to prison raising fears that he would suffer harm. Rallies in his support were conducted even in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and roughly a week later he was released.

Presently a local movement is growing, urging the Indian government to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, after a number of world governments led by the United States agreed to move their embassies to Jerusalem - the eternal capital of the Jewish people. Once again it is Hindu Samhati which made a statement by rallying 70,000 Hindus behind this cause. “Moving our embassy to Jerusalem will honor Israel's long-standing commitment to peace, and strengthen the bond between our two ancient peoples,” said Tapan Ghosh 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 at the massive rally. Devdutta Maji, the Vice-President of Hindu Samhati, mentioned 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 Tapan Ghosh. He also spoke in favor of relocating the Indian Embassy to Jerusalem. The event was attended by General GD Bakshi, noted pro-Israel journalist Vijeta Uniyal, and a host of other speakers. The crowd rallied with placards saying: "Israel-India partners for peace," "India-Israel Ancient Cultures Modern Miracles," "India-Israel Friendship Forever," and "India-Israel represent - honoring women's rights, freedom of speech, respect for human rights, liberty and equality for all, Democracy." Likewise calls of “India stands with Israel” and “Hindus love Israel” resonated in the air.

Hindu Samhati Rally (Image Credit: Vijeta Uniyal)

Journalist Vijeta Uniyal mentioned that in today's world, when anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe, millions of Hindus in India and in the diaspora are ready to stand with the Jews as brothers and sisters and speak out against the phenomenon. Zionism - the movement of Jewish liberation - is an inspiration for the Hindus as we unite our country and the community. In his speech, Sri Tapan Ghosh also urged the crowd to bless the Hindu-Jewish alliance. He pointed out that Jews have been fighting a battle for existence for the last 2,000 years, like the Hindus in West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, in the villages of Deganga, Bardman, Kaliachak, Medinipur, and Baduria. Similarly Jews are fighting for their existence in little Israel, surrounded by a sea of Islamist neighbors. This struggle for survival, along with shared cherished values of reverence for education, mutual respect, and women's rights, unite Hindus and Jews, apart from the 2,500 years of glorious history that binds each community.

Dr. Souptik Mukherjee, a US based research scholar, argues for strong relations between the Hindu and Jewish communities. He is a co-founder of the social media group, the Jewish-Hindu-Yezidi Coalition, bringing diverse communities together to promote unity.

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...הָרִימִי בַכֹּחַ קוֹלֵךְ מְבַשֶּׂרֶת יְרוּשָׁלִָם הָרִימִי אַל תִּירָאִי אִמְרִי לְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה הִנֵּה אֱלֹקֵיכֶם! (ישעיה  מ:ט)

...Raise your voice with strength, herald of Jerusalem; raise it, do not be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your G-d!"

(Isaiah 40:9)

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