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7 Dec, 2008

Jewish-American writer uses Mumbai terrorist attacks to draw India into Israeli orbit

Originally  Published: 07 Dec 2008

On November 28, just two days into the Mumbai attacks, the New York Times published a column by Samuel Freedman, a Jewish-American writer. Headlined “Between Israel and India, a Link Based on Culture and, Now, Terrorism,” it dwelt at length about what it called “the new linkages between Indians and Israelis.”

Quoting a number of Indians and Jews, including the co-chairman of an Indo-Jewish Coalition, the column described how “some natural affinity (is) being developed between India and Israel and Jewish people.”

It talked of “a huge coming together of sympathy and understanding,” “the shared experience of being the target of Islamist terrorism,” and “the softer tissue of human experience — culture, religion, values — (which) also binds Indians and Jews.”

A Bangalore-based writer was quoted as saying, “The best way to explain it is that I was telling my daughter, ‘If you have to marry outside India, marry a Jew’……The cultures are so similar — the commitment to education, the ability to delay gratification, hard work, the guilt, the fatalism. And I think this is because we are both old cultures.”

Mr Freedman identified a Jewish community that has has lived in India for more than 2,400 years, “fully tolerated by the surrounding Hindu and Sikh populations” and charted the change in India’s foreign policy from being “a partial ally of the Soviet Union” towards Israel, which now supplies “more than $1 billion in arms annually to India.”

Barely had the blood been cleared at the attack sites that this Jewish-American columnist was telling “Indians,” (presumably excluding the 140 million Muslim-Indians) that their country’s future lies in forging closer ties with Israel across all spectrums of life – social, cultural, political, martial and marital.

The blatantly insensitive and opportunistic column confirms the strategic plan to bring India into the Israeli orbit and forge a trilateral Indo-US-Israeli axis under the common bond of “shared values” and “combating terrorism.”

Mr Freedman may like to see India become America’s new deputy sheriff in Asia, but he overlooks one fact: The father of the Indian nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was opposed to the formation of the state of Israel. With his uncanny wisdom and foresight, it did not take much for the Mahatma to predict the violence that would result.

The fact that the apostle of ahimsa (non-violence) himself was shot by a Hindutva fanatic in the same year that Israel was created, 1948, is more ironic symbolism.

Indeed, the state of Israel is a complete antithesis of Gandhi’s beliefs. It is doubtful whether the Mahatma would have condoned occupation, “targetted killings,” and home demolitions as part of a conflict that has gone unresolved for 60 years.

Hence, the more India aligns itself with the Israeli-American axis, the more it will betray the ideals and principles that Gandhi lived and died for.

It will be long time before Israelis and Jews come even close to matching the contribution to India’s history and heritage by Muslims such as the Mughal Emperors Akbar and Shah Jehan, A.P. Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, M.F.Hussain, Muhammad Rafi, Talat Mehmood, Naushad, Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Ustad Alla Rakha, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Dilip Kumar (original name, Yusuf Khan), Madhubala (original name Begum Mumtaz Jehan), Nargis, A.R.Rahman, M.J.Akbar, the Nawab of Pataudi, Salim Durrani, Mohammed Azharuddin, Mohammed Kaif and many hundreds more born-and-brought up loyal Indian Muslims.

Many Indians work in the Islamic Gulf countries, where they are trusted and respected far more than citizens of the Arab world, and remit billions of dollars back to their respective homes and villages. Most of India’s oil comes from Islamic countries. Inscribed in memoriam on India Gate in New Delhi are names of hundreds of Muslim jawans (troops) who died fighting for India in wars against Pakistan, an Islamic country. How many Jewish-Indians sacrificed their lives thus?

India, my country of birth, can ill-afford to become a part of the war on Islam being waged by the powerful Jewish-American media, political and business groups. Describing it euphemistically as a “war on terror” frees these groups to drum up maximum negative publicity about Islam and build “shared values” alliances with hardline Hindus as well as Buddhists and Christians.

The Mumbai attacks have been called India’s 9/11. Perhaps, but just as a large segment of the U.S. public does not believe the official version of what happened on 9/11, there are grounds to be equally skeptical about the Mumbai attacks, especially the death of Hemant Karkare, the head of India’s Anti-Terrorist Squad.

The Times of India described him as “a no-nonsense, soft-spoken policeman…who was secular to the core and was known to have no enemies. That was partly why he was considered the best man for the tough task of heading the ATS.”

Other India media have reported that at the time of his death, he was investigating – without fear or favour, befitting a truly independent policeman – an alleged nexus between fanatic Hindu groups and the Israeli secret service Mossad in the recent blasts at a mosque in Malegaon, for which a Hindu army officer was arrested.

It is simply beyond belief that India’s top anti-terrorist fighter just happened to be conveniently among the first to be shot by the Mumbai terrorists.

With an election coming up, the opposition hardline Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies have seized the opportunity to buy ads in major newspapers with the slogan, “Fight Terror. Vote BJP.” Presumably, that refers only to “Islamic terror”, not that in Assam, Orissa or Gujarat.

Just like 9/11, many questions remain unanswered. For example:

In spite of so many attacks in India and worldwide, and all the subsequent surveillance and intelligence gathering, the authorities did not know this was coming?

The Pakistani government is being asked to cooperate, as if it is somehow involved. But what would Pakistan have to gain when the country is nearly broke, fraught by a collapsing economy and internal dissension and itself the victim of terrorist attacks such as that at the Islamabad Marriott?

Has anyone noticed that suddenly, all pursuit of accountability by the financial terrorists, the rogue hedge funds and bankers, has vanished from the headlines, just like the long-gone pursuit of accountability by state terrorists – those who attack countries in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction that the U.S. intelligence agencies were “slam-dunk” certain would be there.

Gandhi’s most famous dictum was “An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind.” With the vicious anti-Islamic outpouring on Indian websites having been read by Muslims all over the world, Indian businessmen and diplomats are just as much on the defensive about whether they see “eye-for-an-eye” as a sustainable policy.

If 140 million Muslim-Indians now have to denounce terrorism and prove their patriotism, Hindu-Indians have to prove that they are not betraying the principles of the Father of the Nation to Jewish-American groups who have contributed nothing to Indian history and heritage but merely want to pursue the same divide-and-rule philosophies of the British colonialists, from which Gandhi successfully liberated the country – in theory anyway.