Zionutva: A Hate Story

Sandwiched between the months of June — which saw the 50th anniversary of Israel’s Palestine occupation — and August — the 71st anniversary of India’s Independence from British rule and India’s subsequent occupation of Kashmir — this July can perhaps be remembered as a month when two nationalist ideologies — Zionism and Hindutva — that have thrived on these two events came together, embraced, and merged into an occupying force that we might call, say, Zionutva.

July 4, 2017: a historic day, at least as far as occupiers’ histories go. The Ben Gurion International Airport air is suddenly enveloped in a megalomaniacal glow. Two exclusionary forces are about to come face-to-face and morph into one, as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, disembarking from Air India One, becomes the first Indian prime minister to visit the “Holy Land” (minus Palestine.)

Modi plants a first hug on his counterpart Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, and the two-day occupier-fest is off to an auspicious start. Theirs is a shared history of atrocities that the Indian state and the state of Israel have committed on the lives, land, water and infrastructure of occupied Kashmiris and Palestinians, respectively. One more hug reinforces this injustice.

After the first hug, while they use all twenty fingers to shake hands, they look into each other’s eyes and say ugly somethings. At one point, Modi says, “What a great….” and then hesitates for a moment before finishing with “….honor.” Does he hesitate because what he really wanted to say was, “what a great day, meeting a fellow unpunished collective punisher!”?

The plot of this hate story revolves around portions of the speeches of the mis-leaders of India and Israel — Modi & Bibi — made on this historic occasion. Excerpts of those speeches follow, and below each hypocritical utterance, I have included real-world quotes with links to stories of the occupied.

Modi Bibi (2)

Perpetual Occupiers of the Perpetually Occupied

Bibi:

Aapka swagat hai mere dost [Welcome, my friend]…. we’ve been waiting for you a long time…. almost seventy years, in fact.

Kashmir…. a country occupied mainly by India and partially by Pakistan since 1947…. where struggles have continued for a long, long time, with the Kashmiri people fighting for the right to self determination that they were promised long years ago — almost seventy years ago now by the then Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. A promise that has never been fulfilled, and in the mean time the face of Kashmir has changed…. the occupation by the Indian army has continued…. with horrific stories of the regular rape of women young and old; of young men being tortured; of disappeared bodies and disappeared people…. And, it’s virtually ignored by the world. I think one has to say that very bluntly…. Countries which are generally speaking in the good books of what is euphemistically called the International community — which is actually the United States of America and its International cronies — These countries and their atrocities are ignored.

— Tariq Ali in conversation with Journalist and Novelist Mirza Waheed, Global Empire – Kashmir: Blinding the People, 2016.

We receive you with open arms.

Defense, however, remained a key factor in the India-Israeli relationship. Israeli companies, led by government-owned aerospace giant Israel Aircraft Industries, have signed arms deals with India, totaling over $2.6 billion earlier this year.

— “India, Israel expand cooperation from defense to science, agriculture and technology,” CNBC, July 6, 2017.

We love India. We admire your culture, we admire your history….

“Barah sau saal ki gulami ki maansikta humein pareshan kar rahi hai [The slave mentality of 1,200 years is troubling us.]

(Narendra Modi said these words in his address to a joint session of Parliament on June 9, 2014, two weeks after he was sworn in as the prime minister of India. Here, instead of making the customary reference to India’s “years of slavery” under 200 years of British rule, Modi distorts history by taking it back by another thousand years when the country came under Muslim rule.)

…. your democracy, your commitment to progress. We view you as kindred spirits in our common quest….

Abbas is the darling of the so called International community. He is the Palestinian quisling…. who works closely with the Israeli occupation in the West Bank…. it’s almost as if they’re putting this in the face of people in Gaza and saying that, you will suffer…. you will be subjected to these inhuman conditions unless you collaborate with your occupiers the way Mahmoud Abbas does in the West Bank…. The idea is to prop up Abbas and to have a Western approved, Israeli backed Palestinian leadership in the form of Abbas. That’s what this is about.

— The Electronic Intifada, “Break the silence on Gaza with people power,” July 15, 2017.

State racism — the primacy of Hindu majoritarian will in state decisions — orders India’s rule in Kashmir. [It] merges neoliberal democracy with authoritarian practices. The government of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian armed forces neutralize the Independent functioning of the judiciary, educational institutions, and the media in the name of national security, continuing what is in effect military governance.

— Angana P. Chatterji, The Militarized Zone, Kashmir The Case for Freedom, 2011.

…. to provide a better future for our peoples and for our world. [On a visit to the Mediterranean seashore, Modi and Bibi rolled up their trousers and waded barefoot in the waters of the Mediterranean while sipping “purified” sea water freshly harvested from a desalination plant on wheels — the so-called GalMobile — and toasting “to life…. this is really life.”]

Gaza is perhaps in its worst situation, yet…. You are talking about two hours of electricity a day…. What does that mean? You know, try to imaging life without clean water, because the water in Gaza is polluted…. There is no waste treatment in Gaza and raw sewage is being dumped into the Mediterranean…. This is on top of the devastation of the siege [2007.]

— The Electronic Intifada, Break the silence

Prime Minister, when I first met you at the United Nation three years ago, we agreed to break down the remaining walls….

We know that from the [International Court of Justice] to the Red Cross, it [the wall] has been described as illegal. We know of its disastrous impact on Palestinian farmers, villages, cities, families, schoolchildren, students and many others. We know that from Jenin to Bethlehem, through the concrete-split streets of East Jerusalem, the wall has become another element of Israel’s colonization of Palestine, one more link in the apartheid chain. The propaganda myths about security are intended to hide this reality but, like the wall itself, they are arguments full of holes.

— The Electronic Intifada, “Did Israeli apartheid wall really stop suicide bombings?,” January 10, 2014.

…. between India and Israel…. I believe in the success of our partnership because of the great sympathy between our peoples. The natural camaraderie between Indians and Israelis…. prime minister Modi, you’re a great leader of India….Your visit to Israel is a testament to that. Our two peoples have deeply held values….

When I was growing up in the late 80s and early 90s, there was a full scale armed uprising against Indian troops…. Kashmir is also the most militarized region in the world…. Some estimates put that we have a soldier [indian regular army, para-military and police] to every 16 or 17 civilians.

— Journalist and Novelist Mirza Waheed in conversation with Tariq Ali, Global Empire – Kashmir: Blinding the People, 2016.

Eman, 9, was killed in an airstrike alongside her two brothers Ibrahim, aged 13, and Essam, aged 4. They were killed when Israeli aircraft bombarded an apartment building in Gaza City’s central Rimal neighborhood. The Ammar family were hosting friends from the Jumaa family. In the same attack, and her 2 sons, were also killed. In total, 11 people died in this one attack.

— People Beyond Numbers, Remembering the Victims of Israeli Operation ‘Protective Edge’ on Gaza (which began on July 7, 2014.)

…. rooted in ancient cultures, yet we both seek to realize the promise of a better future…. I know that we can do even more, even better.

When people lose their fear of death, normally in history, they can more or less achieve anything, sooner or later.

— Tariq Ali, Blinding the People

You know, you’ve only been here a few hours…. you paid your respect to the tomb of the founder of our national movement [Zionism], Theodor Herzl.

In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country…. The four great powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.

— Lord Arthur Balfour, author of the 1917 Balfour Declaration that promised to support “The establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” Excerpted from the updated edition of Fateful Triangle by Noam Chomsky.

And, you’ve seen some of Israel’s cutting edge technology. We went to a greenhouse on a warm day, believe me it was a warm reception….

Omar Talib, a farmer who is seeing his source of livelihood threatened by the power crisis, told Al-Monitor, “I have been working in agriculture for more than 20 years. This is how I make ends meet. The power crisis has become a nightmare for farmers. We cannot operate our irrigation systems without electricity.”

— Al-Monitor, “Gaza’s power crisis cripples farmers,” June 28, 2017.

I have to confess to you that I’ve been inspired by prime minister Modi’s enthusiasm for yoga [Modi smiles]. To begin, he said to me you can start at a low level…. so, I’m starting at a low level [“Heh heh heh heh heh,” snickers Modi.] Here’s what we’re gonna do. When I do relaxing Talasana pose [“Heh heh heh” — a little softer snicker] and, in the morning I’ll turn my head to the right [“Heh heh” — even softer], India is the first democracy that I’ll see [“Heh ha ha ha ha ha” — now, full-blown laughter]. And when prime minister Modi does a relaxing pose of a Vasistha Asana [“Ah heh heh heh”], and he turns his head to the left, Israel is the first democracy that you can see…. India and Israel are two sister democracies.

Right now, as we speak, people have been coming on the streets since the 9th of July…. knowing they’re going to be shot at. That the para-military will shoot to kill. And yet, thousands have come on to the streets in defiance…. This is a very, very political statement, that we will not agree to this…. This is an indigenous mass uprising. Pakistan is not behind [it.] Yes, parts of the Pakistani security establishment have nursed…. terror groups, and there has been a blowback…. And some of these groups, their main currency is the jihad in Kashmir. But that does not take away anything from the fact that these are Kashmiri boys and girls and young men and women and old people [who are being targeted]…. they [Indian troops] raid villages at night just to harass people…. windows are broken… young men taken away, beaten up, tortured.…

— Mirza Waheed, Blinding the People

We have accomplished great things…. I have to say that we also face common challenges, and the first of it is to defeat the forces of terror that rampage through the world [Modi nods] and threaten both our counties. So, we must stand together in this battle…. prime minister we share a bond of democracy and creativity, a deep respect for the past, a boundless optimism for the future….

We live at a moment of great despair and also simultaneously great hope…. Right now from the darkened homes of Gaza…. the greatest hope of people there is the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement…. It’s much less than is needed but it’s growing and it’s something that gives people hope and is immune to the kind of Institutional complicity that has brought us to this point.… It’s up to us to challenge the Institutional complicity and silence.

— The Electronic Intifada, Break the silence

@netanyahu: There’s nothing like going to the beach with friends! @narendramodi 5:00 AM – Jul 6, 2017

Modi:

My visit celebrates the strength of centuries-old links between our societies….

If the Zionists’ dreams are realized — if Palestine becomes a Jewish State and it will gladden us almost as much as our Jewish friends — they, like the Mohammedans [Look at the Mohammedans. Mecca to them is a sterner reality than Delhi or Agra] would naturally set the interests of their Holyland above those of their Motherland in America and Europe and in case of war between their adopted country and the Jewish State, would naturally sympathise with the latter…. So with the Hindus, they being the people, whose past, present and future are most closely bound with the soil of Hindustan as Pitribhu (ancestral land), as Punyabhu (the land of his religion), they constitute the foundation, the bedrock, the reserved forces of the Indian state. Therefore even from the point of Indian nationality, must ye, O Hindus, consolidate and strengthen Hindu nationality.

— V. D. Savarkar, author of HINDUTVA, What Is a Hindu,1923.

Friends, the people of Israel have built a nation on democratic principles….

While the Zionist project fulfilled its dream of creating “a Jewish homeland” in Palestine in 1948, the process of ethnic cleansing and displacement of Palestinians never stopped. During the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, known as the Naksa, meaning “setback”, Israel occupied the remaining Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and continues to occupy them until today. While under the UN partition plan Israel was allocated 55 percent, today it controls more than 85 percent of historic Palestine.

—Al Jazeera, “The Naqba did not start or end in 1948,” May 23, 2017.

Your heroes are an inspiration for the younger generations….

Apparently, half a dozen of fantasy terror camps have popped up throughout Israel and the West Bank, offering tourists from across the globe a chance to pretend-kill terrorists, who look suspiciously like Palestinian Arabs, only for $115 per person.

— Carbonated.TV, “Anti-Terrorism Fantasy Camps Become Tourist Attraction In Israel,” July 2017.

I thank prime minister Netanyahu and Mrs Sara Netanyahu for opening their home to me today. The fullness of their warmth and affection has evoked a feeling of home away from home.

I Protest, Against The Things You Done!
I Protest, Fo’ A Mother Who Lost Her Son!
I Protest, I Will Throw Stones An’ Neva Run!
I Protest, Until My Freedom Has Come!
I Protest, Fo’ My Brother Who’s Dead!
I Protest, Against The Bullet In His Head!
I Protest, I Will Throw Stones An’ Neva Run!
I Protest, Until My Freedom Has Come!

— The chorus of the song ‘I Protest’ by Kashmiri rapper MC Kash.

It reminds me of our own ethos of hospitality and welcome.

India asks us, ‘Why do you throw stones?’ No one asks, Who burned your house down?’

— Kashmiri youth, tortured in detention, January 2011.

Yad Vashem is a reminder of the unspeakable evil inflicted generations ago. It is also a tribute to your unbreakable spirit to rise above the depths of drudgery, overcome hatred and forge ahead to build a vibrant democratic nation.

Israel…. has killed dozens of people in Gaza since the [2014] ceasefire. A majority of them have been unarmed Palestinians demonstrating near the boundary fence against the siege…. to show their humanity…. teenagers usually are shot dead in cold blood by Israeli soldiers…. sitting in watchtowers…. or, they have been fishermen at sea…. trying to feed their families, shot at by the Israeli navy. But somehow there’s no outcry about Israel’s relentless violations of the ceasefire.

— The Electronic Intifada, Break the silence

Yad Vashem tells us that those who believe in humanity and civilized values….

The health system in Gaza which has been inadequate for decades…. has been in a deepening crisis for months…. In May, the Red Cross warned that the health system in Gaza was on the brink of systemic collapse…. Tara Ismail Bakhit…. a toddler, was the sixteenth person to die in recent weeks, because the Palestinian Authority had refused to approve a medical referral…. The Palestinian Authority and Israel are using sick children as a weapon against Hamas. Let’s remember, of course, if Abbas refuses to approve these treatments, Israel as the occupier is required under the Geneva Convention…. to provide medical care and life saving services to the people in Gaza.

— The Electronic Intifada, Break the silence

….must come together and defeat it at all costs. As such we must resolutely oppose the evils of terrorism, radicalism and violence that plague our times.

In sections of the Indian press, every night they will broadcast these…. experts in demonizing the Kashmiri Muslim as a jihadist, as an Islamist…. more so since the election of Mr. Modi…. There has been violence against Indian muslims…. It is not a creation of the Modi government, but it has increased to very dangerous levels where people are literally lynched in broad daylight on mere suspicion of having eaten…. beef…. Kashmiris right now see the response of the Indian state. They can’t separate it from the dispensation in Delhi. They see it as a Hindutva government. As a Hindu nationalist government punishing Kashmiri muslims for rising up against it.

—Mirza Waheed, Blinding the People

I for I, I with I. Here, I’m not using the popular word eye for an eye, I mean India’s I, Israel’s I….

I do not remember reading or seeing an instance where a…. a modern nation-state has willfully, systematically shot at people to blind them. More that 500 people have these little lead pellets in their eyes…. that is not an accident. That is not a crowd control tactic gone wrong.

—Mirza Waheed, Blinding the People

We also want to put in place a robust security partnership to respond to shared threats to our peace, stability and prosperity.

…. All indications are that in Kashmiri civil society dissent will not abate: it is not externally motivated but historically compelled. Repressive regimes tend to overlook that freedom struggles are not about the moralities of violence verses non-violence, but reflect a desire to be free. The oppressors forget that the greater the oppression, the more fervent the resistance. Violence is apt to reproduce itself in cycles.

— Angana P. Chatterji, The Militarized Zone, Kashmir The Case for Freedom, 2011.

I am very, very thankful to Bibi because vehicle which I saw today, particularly the natural calamities, when people are suffering from the drinking water this is the very unique type of vehicle which can provide drinking water and how to do the process….

Here’s the critical point. This is not a natural disaster [Gaza’s power crisis]. This is a policy choice by Israel to do this to two million people…. the so-called International community are supporting…. there is nothing about this in the New York Times…. on CNN…. on Democracy Now, for heaven’s sake. There is total silence….

— The Electronic Intifada, Break the silence

@narendramodi Thank you my friend, PM @netanyahu for the signed photo, your kind words, amazing hospitality & passion towards #IndiaIsraelFriendship. 9:03 AM – Jul 6, 2017

In the bitter chill of winter shivers his naked body
Whose skill wraps the rich in royal shawls.

— Muslim poet and philosopher of Kashmiri origin, Iqbal, 1921.

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