Tapan Ghosh (Image credit: Vijeta Uniyal)
The recent spate of attacks on Israel using burning kites and multitudes of rockets, destroying Jewish neighborhoods, reminds me of the horrors that the people of Israel have to live with every day. Even from faraway India, we can feel the pain.
But this antisemitism is not limited just to Israel alone; rather, it is a manifestation of a narrative shared by Islamists and communists across the globe. The manifestations may be in Israel, but those perpetrating the attacks in Gaza draw both moral and financial support from those adhering to a similar ideology globally.
The hate for Israel — who despite all odds has prospered as a technological powerhouse and the start-up capital of the world, inspiring us all — is so pervasive that such hatred resonates even in India among groups adhering to the same ideologies. What is manifesting in Israel is essentially a consequence of a cauldron of hate against Israel being nurtured globally. The same groups who want to wipe out the only Jewish state also have very strong anti-Hindu and anti-India narratives, inducing people and entire civilizations to hate through a package of lies. How do we defeat such lies and protect fundamental human values and civilization, which are at stake today?
Jews And Hindus Share Suffering And Common Values
The stories of the Jews and of the Hindus have significant commonalities. We have both been persecuted throughout history by the same forces who have seen us as weak and thus to be trampled over. Yet both of us have withstood all odds to survive and thrive.
While other civilizations fell — be it the Persian, the Babylonian or the Egyptian civilization — the Hindus have held to their ancient civilizational roots, in spite of losing lands. The Jewish people, despite suffering a Holocaust in which six million Jews were slaughtered, have risen from the ashes to come up with an awe-inspiring nation, respected by every other nation, including her enemies.
And while Hindus and Jews have both suffered, we are united by the values that we both hold dear: gender equality, coexistence and quest for knowledge. These fundamental values are what we are both striving to defend. Our enemies are not attacking our people alone; their attack is on these fundamental values. During my 50 years of hands-on work in village after village in eastern Bharat (India), I have found Hindus suffering from daily atrocities being perpetrated by the Islamists. I have seen the pain of women having been raped and left without a voice in the system. I have seen distraught families after their children were kidnapped and sold, with the system unable to recover them due to the clout of the Islamists. I am still seeing thousands of Hindu girls being lost to the Islamists under fake names, taken under a false pretext of love without knowing what ideology they are accepting or what ideology their children will inherit.
But why does the system fail them? The elite in the system have succumbed to a global narrative that showcases the Islamists as the victims — despite the opposite happening worldwide for many centuries now. That narrative also portrays Israel as an oppressor. In 2014, I saw Hamas raining rockets on Israel, using women and children as shields, and crying foul that Israel was “cruel and barbaric” when they struck back.
I decided to stage a rally showing solidarity with Israel. It was attended by 20,000 people. This was the first such effort in India to unite the Hindus and the Jews against a global, shared communist-Islamist narrative. If we can defeat the narrative, if we can strengthen the pro-Israel forces in India, then we can help our elite see the pain of our own people.
Thus began an effort and an initiative, which grew into a movement. The 2018 pro-Israel rally was attended by 70,000 people and we passed a resolution asking the Indian Government to move the embassy of India to Jerusalem. Voices were raised in solidarity with the 2,000-year-old struggle of the Jewish people — a struggle that is being carried out even today by Jews worldwide, even after the formation of the state of Israel.
Addressing The Global Narrative Of Hate
My coming to Israel is not just to visit this beautiful nation, but to find ways to stop the lies being spread against her, both in communist-Islamist study groups as well as in the global media. The visit is also to pay respects to great souls such as David Ben Gurion and Golda Meir, who dedicated their entire lives to helping their people and helped to re-establish the homeland for globally oppressed and persecuted Jews. My visit is to seek bonds of brotherhood between two ancient indigenous people and two ancient indigenous beautiful nations: Israel and India. I carry the message of love and brotherhood, coming to Israel to celebrate the glorious 2,500 year old ties between the Hindu and the Jewish people. The lies that the enemies of Israel spread, portraying Israel as occupiers, ring hollow when we see the map of tiny Israel surrounded by Islamic nations. It was only after Jews started to make the desert bloom that many Arabs moved here. Resettling any Arab refugees can easily be done in any of the Islamic nations where both land and money are in excess. So why is it not done? Because in their narrative, supported by financially strong interests worldwide, communists and Islamists believe that Israel, the only Jewish state in the world, has to be wiped out.
I see a direct correlation with what is happening in India, where multitudes of
illegal Rohingya and Bangladeshi Muslims enter from Bangladesh, acquire citizenship in India, threaten the local Hindus and attack them, drowning them demographically by causing Hindu migration. In 1947, the Islamists got their own land, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Arabs have many nations to call their own. But there is only one nation for the Hindus and one nation for the Jews that provide shelter in times of trouble. We have to protect them. Today’s Israel is a leader in science and technology, a start-up capital of the world and an inspiration for humanity. India shares this vision. To save our nations, we have to empower those who understand the world, feel the pain of our peoples and comprehend how the infrastructure of hate is working against us.
The leaders of the Islamist world, including those in Gaza and the West Bank, live in pomp and extravagance while they use their own people as fodder to create and nurture an infrastructure of hate. Previously, it was the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that dominated the Jihadi space; today it is Hamas.
The name keeps changing, but the essence, the infrastructure of hate, stays strong and intact. Professor Martin Sherman has nicely pointed out that in the last 70 years, while Israel has grown into a world leader operating out of the tiniest of lands, the Arabs have created a corrupt Hamas kleptocracy and, in the West Bank, a tyrannical theocracy. Islamist leaders opposing India show similar streaks. If the entire world would not support these leaders, morally and financially, if the international educated elite wouldn’t fall for their lies, then it would be impossible for them to operate. Thus, we need to address the global narrative jointly. In the 2,500 years of glorious history that Hindus and Jews share, we have not killed each other or converted each other by force, but have shown respect and love. This by itself stands out as an example for humanity. In the worst of times, India has sheltered the Jews from the destruction of the Second Temple all the way to the Holocaust. Those who settled among us preserved their faith — there were never any reports of antisemitism — and many made aliyah after the establishment of Israel. The Hindu kings promised to protect their Jewish brethren as long as the sun and the moon shone.
If we have such a beautiful history, then why don’t we work together to defeat the narrative of our enemies and save our beautiful nations, our values and our civilizations? One reason is perhaps our inability to understand the nature of our enemies. Professor Mordechai Kedar, whom I deeply respect, mentions that Arabs, while warming up to Israel, still keep supporting antisemitism. We know of the hatred that Islamists pursue — be they from Iran or Pakistan. Jews receive respect and admiration from the entire world for their ability to sustain their faith, despite being scattered around the world and despite terrible oppression and regular brutal pogroms against them. Like Hindus, they share the concept of doing good for the world and bringing light into darkness — bringing Hatikva (the Hope), as written in the Israeli national anthem.
But the good of the world can only endure if we come together to destroy the lies being spread against us and the infrastructure of hate against Israel and India, against the Jews and the Hindus, and protect the values that define us. Only then can there be good for humanity. Am Yisrael Chai — Long Live Israel. I wish you a very happy 70th year of independence.
Tapan Ghosh founded the Hindu Samhati grassroots organization to resist Islamic encroachment, aggression and expansion in West Bengal, India. In 2018, his group organized a mass pro-Israel rally of 70,000 calling for a move of the Indian Embassy to Jerusalem.