November 05, 2023

Communal Stand on Israel’s War on Gaza

UNION minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, by seeking to make communal capital out of the bomb blasts at a Christian group gathering in Kalamassery in Kerala, has exposed the vicious nature of the campaign the BJP-RSS circles are conducting regarding Israel’s war on Gaza.

Chandrasekhar, immediately after the blasts, hinted that jihadi elements had targeted a Christian congregation. He blamed the Kerala government because it had “allowed” a Hamas leader to address a gathering and as a consequence within twenty four hours the bomb blasts had occurred. He further accused the CPI(M) and Congress of “appeasement politics”.  There is no question of “allowing” any speech by a Hamas leader as the particular speech of the former Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh is available on the internet and can be downloaded by anyone.  Further, unlike what Chandrasekhar and his party says, the Hamas is not designated as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations. 

Unfortunately for Chandrasekhar, within a few hours after the blast, a man surrendered before the police, claiming responsibility for the attack.  He happens to be a dissident member of the fringe Christian group.  This has made Chandrasekhar appear ridiculous but the viciousness of his remarks cannot be overlooked because this is the type of anti-Palestinian communal campaign being conducted by the social media groups associated with the BJP and the Hindutva forces. They label all Palestinians as jihadis and Hamas as a terrorist outfit; they warn Hindus that they can face similar threats from Muslims in India, just as Israel is experiencing terrorist violence.  Fabricated reports about atrocities committed by Palestinians and Hamas are being widely circulated to promote Islamophobia.  Israel is held up as a model exemplar in fighting Islamic terrorism. 

It is this communal worldview which sees the Palestinian struggle for an independent state as a Muslim issue and instinctively supports the Zionist project which seeks to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians from their homeland.  The RSS-BJP adopts the rhetoric of the Jewish extremists and the Israeli State who call Palestinians who fight for their rights as “terrorists”.  From the days of V D Savarkar, founder of Hindutva, Hindu rightwing nationalists have always supported Zionism and the establishment of an Israeli State by driving out the Arabs and Palestinians.

It is this Hindutva worldview which today dictates the stand of the Modi government. Narendra Modi has joined the likes of Joe Biden, Rishi Sunak and Olaf Scholz in supporting Israel fully and opposing any call for ceasefire in the war on Gaza.  India, by abstaining in the vote in the UN General Assembly on a resolution calling for a “humanitarian truce” (that was adopted with 120 countries supporting), distanced itself from the stand of the Global South and aligned itself with the western countries in their blind support for Israel. 

While the barbaric attack and invasion of Gaza unfolds, the Indian government is silent on the war crimes committed by the Israeli armed forces. After the savage bombardment of the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, in which over a hundred civilians were killed, the foreign ministers of even some of the European Union states called upon Israel to abide by international rules of war, but the Indian foreign ministry was silent. 

The Modi government has abandoned whatever pretense it had of balancing support for Israel with a commitment to the Palestinian cause for a separate independent State.  The United States has given carte blanche to the obnoxious Netanyahu regime to perpetrate mass murder and subject the civilian population in Gaza, including women and children, to mass starvation and lack of water to drink.   

The Modi government is complicit with this inhuman strategy.  Not only will it not support the Palestinian people in their hour of distress, the Modi government at the centre and the BJP governments in the states are suppressing protests against the Israeli aggression and in support of the Palestinian people.  The latest instance is the arrest of a 92 year-old former Jan Sangh leader in Jammu, who was going to organise a meeting in support of the Palestinian people. 

Given the refusal of the Israeli government to accept the ceasefire, the battle in Gaza is going to be a prolonged one, it is necessary for the Left and democratic forces to widen and intensify their campaign in solidarity with the Palestinian people and expose the Modi government’s reactionary and communal stance on the issue.


(November 2, 2023)