November 12, 2023
Left Parties Campaign for Palestine Begins In Delhi

IN line with the nationwide call by the Left parties (from November 7-10) against US support for Israel and demanding an immediate ceasefire in Palestine, the Delhi state committees organised a public meeting on November 7 at HKS Surjeet Bhavan. This programme preceded the 2+2 Ministerial dialogue between India and the US, where the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, would be visiting India to seek support for Israel.

In his opening remarks, Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) general secretary, highlighted the unprecedented inhumane brutality inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian people, resulting in the loss of 10,000 lives, including half being innocent children, in just one month. He emphasised that the suffering of the Palestinian people should not be attributed solely to the events of October 7th, as they have endured more than a century of oppression since the Balfour Declaration. He pointed out that even in the West Bank, where Hamas is non-existent, Palestinians have faced attacks. He said Zionism as a fascist ideology shares many characteristics with Hindutva and thus this government is pushing for an US-Israel-India axis and today is the time to show our solidarity with the Palestinians. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, he emphasised the Palestinians' birthright to their homeland and invoked Tagore's verse, "Give me a voice of thunder, that I may hurl imprecation upon this cannibal whose gruesome hunger spares neither women nor children," to underscore the need to take action against this oppression.

The Palestinian Ambassador, Adnan Abu Alhaijaa, asserted that the roots of the current situation date back to Israel's occupation in 1948. He described the Palestinian struggle under Yasser Arafat for the establishment of a Palestinian State, the unilateral termination of the Oslo Accord following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by extremist settlers close to Netanyahu, and the ongoing Israeli military interventions and crackdowns in the West Bank. He drew a stark contrast between the life of a Jewish settler, enjoying ample State support, and the Palestinians, who endure only the bare minimum for survival. Abu Alhaijaa pointed out that the Israeli apartheid regime had already crossed boundaries before October, resulting in the assassination and imprisonment of many Palestinians and imposing restrictions on worshippers at Al-Aqsa. He noted that while some western countries claim Israel has the right to defend itself, none of them have called for a ceasefire, despite Israel's actions turning into a genocide against the Palestinians. He highlighted that since October 7th, over 12,400 people have lost their lives, and 105 medical institutions have come under attack.

D Raja, CPI general secretary, emphasised the importance of standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people and opposing the shifts in our foreign policy introduced by the Modi government.

Dipankar Bhattacharya, CPI(ML) general secretary pointed out that the increasing public outcry against the Israeli genocide in Palestine has created a divide in the west, with the people expressing support for the Palestinians while their governments take a different stance. He also noted that in India, the RSS-BJP is attempting to polarise the nation, and the government is aligning itself with Israel, deviating from the long standing foreign policy on this issue.

Prakash Karat, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, outlined the Left parties' campaign for Palestine, scheduled from November 7-10, focusing on two significant aspects. Firstly, he highlighted the impending visit of the US foreign and defense secretaries to Delhi, who are aiming to garner support for Israel. He stressed the importance of raising voices against this effort, considering the extensive financial, military, and political support that the US provides to Israel. Secondly, he pointed out that the US is trying its best to frame the conflict as a fight against terrorism and is actively opposing any calls for a ceasefire, with India also supporting this stance. Karat noted that the Modi government has departed from our longstanding foreign policy, rooted in Gandhian principles, which traditionally supported Palestine.

He emphasised the Left's responsibility in mobilising people against this policy shift, as the RSS-BJP is promoting the narrative that the conflict is against "jihadi terrorists." Karat cited the case of union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who falsely accused the Kerala government of supporting jihadis and linked a recent bomb blast in Kalamassery, Kerala, to them. Subsequently, it was revealed that the act was carried out by a disgruntled individual from the same Christian sect (Jehovah's Witnesses). The Kerala government has filed multiple cases against the minister and 160 others for making communally instigative social media posts. Karat said that it is clear that they are using it for their own political ends and it’s true that other secular parties are also under pressure. The protests against Israeli genocide were blocked even in Bengaluru which is under a Congress government. Therefore, the Left parties have a crucial role to play in resisting the communalisation of this issue and fighting against imperialism. Devarajan (Forward Bloc), RS Dagar (RSP), and Prakash Rao (CGPI) also participated in the meeting. KM Tiwari, CPI(M) Delhi state secretary extended the vote of thanks.