Image: Devdutta Maji at The Temple Mount by N. Sher
Embracing the Mediterranean is a tiny nation called Israel. Even in terms of population it is extremely small compared to the global population. Yet the entire world is fixated on this nation. And such is the fixation that anti-Semitism or hate against the Jewish state of Israel transcends every national boundary, race, religion and language.
Is this hate based on facts or the consequence of a well crafted package of lies being fed to a large section of the global population? I explore this aspect later. But what is without a doubt is the fact that this narrative against Israel and against the Jewish people is a reality even today in large parts of the world.
Jews, like the Hindus, have always been persecuted in history. The Holocaust killed six million Jews. Humanity was horrified and the world expected that the mere horror of it would wipe out antisemitism from the world. But it did not happen. In 1948, David Ben Gurion re-established Israel. Persecuted Jews around the world finally found a shelter—a home—and hoped that the citizens of the world would move on with their lives and leave the Jews alone.
But that did not happen. As David Ben Gurion declared independence, the very next day Israel was attacked by a multitude of nations who thought Jews were weak. Israel survived and so did antisemitism. The question is not the existence of antisemitism, but why the world needs to care and put an end to it.
If we look around today, burning kites keep coming from Gaza every day and are destroying neighborhoods in Israel. Terror tunnels are found every other day. Burning tyres carry out what is being called pollution jihad. Random knife attacks of citizens are common.
What is true for the Jews is also true for Hindus in West Bengal and in large parts of Eastern Bharat. Through a decade of ground efforts in Eastern Bharat, where violence against the Hindus knows no bounds, where women are raped and get no justice due to the clout of the Islamists, where Hindu sisters are kidnapped and sold—through a decade of efforts we have been able to save thousands of sisters from falling into the hands of jihadis, who often use fake names, fake online profiles to approach them.
Through our efforts we have been able to earn the loyalty of the poor persecuted Hindus for the cause to protect fundamental human values and our civilization. This effort to serve the poorest of poor citizens, who are persecuted and left without a voice in the system, is not being done during elections or once in a while to gain some mileage. Risking our lives, despite personal threats, we have continued this work with the blessings of our guru, Tapan da, 365 days throughout the year, for a decade.
During this time, many of our activists have been sent to prison without any valid reason by the administration just to please the Islamists. Many were killed, sometimes lynched to death publicly. Many times we received death threats. Still to protect our thousands of years old ancient Bharatiya (Indian) civilization and the values that it represents, we had to strive. We had little resources to start with, little support from people around, a hostile administration, yet we kept a single minded focus to serve the poorest of poor in Eastern Bharat (India).
This gave us love and affection from the people who found a voice through our efforts. And while we protected the Hindus we also realized that the global infrastructure of hate against Israel and also against the Hindus and India have the same sources. Even in faraway India, in the city of Kolkata, communists who ruled the state of West Bengal for 34 years and who still have enormous influence, regularly hold large public rallies against Israel. The same is being done by the Islamists. West Bengal is about 30% Muslim as part of its demographics.
Israel is a symbol to organize the hate against values that both Hindus and Jews hold dear. These values which Tapan da mentioned in a previous article addressed to the beautiful nation of Israel are gender equality, co-existence and quest for knowledge. To defend these values, we have built a counter narrative to the communists and the Islamists.
This quest for a counter narrative, against the lies that help to sustain the hate of the Islamists and the communists motivated us to rally our people to come out on the streets in support of Israel. This effort was not easy to start with. The local administration was hostile to us, there were chances of Islamist attacks and chances of communists trying to stop the rallies.
Yet we succeeded despite all odds and in 2014 at the height of the attacks on Israel, when women and children were being used as human shields and rockets were raining down on Israel, we rallied with 20,000 people on the streets of Kolkata. In our rallies we showed support and solidarity for Israel. I personally had the honor to design the rally and organize the rallyists. This was a unique effort anywhere in the world and we continued the tradition in 2018 with a much bigger rally of 70,000 people.
The consequence of these rallies has not only emboldened the pro-Israel groups worldwide but also helped to develop a counter narrative to the communist Islamist narrative globally. And even though it is a baby step and needs much scaling up, in the midst of the volatile troubled world we live in, it can provide hope how similar pro-Israel rallies can be organized.
The solution to defeat the forces of hate against Israel is thus to serve the poorest of poor people in the world who are facing daily atrocities in regions of the world due to a narrative of hate perpetrated by the same forces who are both against Israel as well as against the Hindus and India. If we serve them, empower them and risk our lives to help them, then they can stand with us with trust and confidence to create a counter narrative to protect the values that we hold dear and save our ancient indigenous civilizations.
As an entrepreneur, I have always admired Israel for being the technology startup capital of the world. Coming out of the Holocaust and rising from the ashes, Israel is an inspiration for humanity. I am honored to be able to visit this beautiful nation, a light in the troubled middle east, where fundamental human values are protected from neighbors where intolerance reigns supreme.
We can only keep these values alive if the global infrastructure of hate is destroyed. That is only possible if the Jewish and Hindu entrepreneurs, NGOs and activists come together to help empower the poorest of poor, provide them skill development, help with education and defeat the Islamist-communist narrative of hate against Israel... and replace it with love.
Am Yisrael Chai - Long Live Israel. Shalom and namaste to Israel!
Devdutta Maji is a founding member of Hindu Samhati, an organization which works for the poorest Hindus facing daily atrocities by the Islamists in Eastern India. He is responsible for conceptualizing and organizing the largest pro-Israel rallies globally with 20,000 people in 2014 and 70,000 people in 2018.
This article, reprinted with permission from the author, previously appeared in Arutz Sheva.