Modi and Netanyahu: Two Sides of The Same Coin

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently tweeted that he is "shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel", adding that "We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour".  This tweet was posted immediately after the Hamas militants' unprecedented attack on Israel by air, land and sea. Modi's critics have noted that he has yet to tweet any condemnation of months-long killings of his fellow countrymen in Manipur which are continuing unabated. Nor has he issued any similar condemnation of the long and brutal Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. To those who know Modi, his reaction makes sense given the similarities between Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Both leaders are extreme right-wing divisive politicians. Modi is a Hindu Supremacist and Netanyahu is a Jewish Supremacist. Both have a long history of murdering large numbers of Muslims living under their rule. Both are pursuing settler colonial policies; Modi in Kashmir and Netanyahu in Palestine

India's Narendra Modi and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu in New Delhi....

Indians, particularly Hindu Nationalists, have suffered from what Shashi Tharoor calls "India's Israel Envy". Here's an excerpt of Tharoor's piece published in "Project Syndicate" in January 2009:  

"Yet, when Indians watch Israel take the fight to the enemy, killing those who launched rockets against it and dismantling many of the sites from which the rockets flew, some cannot resist wishing that they could do something similar in Pakistan. India understands, though, that the collateral damage would be too high, the price in civilian lives unacceptable, and the risks of the conflict spiraling out of control too acute to contemplate such an option. So Indians place their trust in international diplomacy and watch, with ill-disguised wistfulness, as Israel does what they could never permit themselves to do". 

In a piece titled "The Settler Colonial Alliance of India and Israel" published in The Nation, Indian journalist Deeksha Udupa interviewed Azad Essa,  author of “Hostile Homelands” – The new alliance between India and Israel". Here's what Essa told Udupa:  

"Kashmir is a perfect example of another region being turned into a sort of testing ground (for Israeli weapons and methods). Both India and Israel already share many tactics. They both attack journalists and criminalize civil society. They both exercise collective punishment on Palestinians and Kashmiris. They both maim protesters. In Palestine, protesters are shot in the limbs. In Kashmir, protesters are blinded by lead pellets. Israeli drones, sensors, surveillance, and machine guns are all there, and Israeli methods of controlling the population have long existed in Kashmir—so much so that India is now producing some of these Israeli weapons in factories across India.". 

Azad Essa argues that the Israeli occupation of Palestine has served as a model that Indians are replicating in Kashmir.  He says that Israeli weapons, developed and field tested on Palestinians, have been used in Kashmir.  Here are a couple of excerpts from his book "Hostile Homelands: The New Alliance Between India and Israel":   :

"So how did India, which once considered Zionism a form of racism, become Israel’s number one weapons trade buyer, accounting for 42% of Israel’s arms exports since Modi came to power in 2014?* How did India, the first non-Arab state to recognize the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and one of the leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement that opposed colonialism and apartheid, simultaneously maintain its colonial occupation of Kashmir since 1947 and metamorphose into extolling Israel’s settlements as a model to colonize Kashmir with its own Indian settlers?"

"In the days leading to August 5, 2019 and in the weeks and months to come, Kashmir became a site of unfathomable cruelty. Thousands of Kashmiris were detained; pro-India politicians were placed under house arrest, pro-freedom leaders as well as minors were rounded up and thrown in jail. Young boys were shipped off to Indian prisons 1,500km away in Agra and Varanasi. Foreign journalists and international human rights groups were banned from access to Kashmir. The region was placed under a complete communication blackout. Cellular phones, Internet, landline services, and even the postal services were dismantled. News traveled by word of mouth. Journalists compressed photos and video onto memory cards and smuggled them out with passengers en route to Delhi. Schools, offices, banks, and businesses were closed for months. Life came to a standstill". 

Here's India's JNU Professor speaking about illegal Indian occupation of Kashmir, Manipur and Nagaland:"; title="YouTube video player" width="560"></iframe>" height="315" src="" width="560" style="cursor: move; background-color: #b2b2b2;" /> 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on October 10, 2023 at 9:39pm

Ishaan Tharoor
Anecdotally, from my experience, this is a relatively new thing: The most bloodthirsty, genocidal comments in the wake of Hamas's awful rampage that I'm seeing here are all coming from right-wing, pro-BJP Indians.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 12, 2023 at 4:45pm

Tucker Carlson Slams Neocon Warmongers Nikki Haley, Dan Crenshaw and Lindsey Graham Over Unhinged Israel Policy - Big League Politics

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson called out extremist warmongers Nikki Haley, Dan Crenshaw and Lindsey Graham over their ridiculous, dangerous and unhinged comments in response to recent attacks on Israel.

“What are we watching here? This is not sober leadership. She’s a child and this is the tantrum of a child – ignorant, cocksure, bloodthirsty,” Carlson said in response to Haley’s demand to “finish” the Iranian people, blaming them for recent attacks on Israel that have been widely credited to the Islamic terror group, Hamas.

“What exactly would happen to the United States if we declared war on Iran and started blowing up their infrastructure? Lindsey Graham has no clue what would happen. Lindsey Graham hasn’t thought it through. He’s almost 70 years old and he has no children. He doesn’t care,” he said about Graham’s call for a “coordinated effort between the United States and Israel to put Iran out of the oil business by destroying their refineries” through bombing campaigns.

“Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw took to social media to call for a ‘war to end all wars’ as if there is such a thing. But of course there isn’t such a thing. Wars beget more war. The bigger the conflict, the uglier and longer-lasting the consequences. See WW1 for details,” Carlson said about Crenshaw’s recent X posts that might as well have been lifted from John McCain’s diary.

The clip can be seen here:

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 12, 2023 at 4:50pm

Dr. Audrey Truschke
Hindu nationalists are flooding social media with disinformation about Gaza, supporting Israel.

But that doesn't change their historic ties to European fascists, complete with anti-Semitism. I received this email yesterday. #Hindutva #bigotry #AntiSemitism

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 12, 2023 at 4:54pm

How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas - The Wall Street Journal.

"Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel's creation," says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel's destruction.


Moshav Tekuma, Israel

Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor's bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile's trajectory back to an "enormous, stupid mistake" made 30 years ago.

"Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel's creation," says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel's destruction.

Instead of trying to curb Gaza's Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat's Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with "Yassins," primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 14, 2023 at 7:03pm

Opinion: How Israel’s technology of occupation spreads around the world | South China Morning Post

SCMP Columnist
My Take by Alex Lo

How Israel’s technology of occupation spreads around the world
Spyware Pegasus is just the tip of the iceberg, investigative journalist Antony Loewenstein tells His new book warns such hi-tech surveillance tools are being sold by Israel to autocracies and democracies alike, with profound implications for the privacy of citizens everywhere

Israel has occupied Palestinian territories for more than half a century. During this time, a militarily enforced system of repression has been refined with new technologies of surveillance and spying. As a result, according to investigative journalist and bestselling author Antony Loewenstein, the country has developed a hi-tech surveillance industry whose technologies are being sold to autocracies and democracies alike.

“What happens in Palestine does not stay in Palestine,” he warns, and the never-ending occupation not only concerns Palestinian human rights and self-determination, but has implications for the right of privacy of citizens around the world.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 21, 2023 at 11:57am

The eruption of war in Israel and Gaza is a dark reminder that buried conflicts – like India’s disputes with Pakistan and China – can erupt at any time.
By Chietigj Bajpaee

the most recent developments in the Middle East show how unresolved disputes have a tendency to flare up. In this context, tensions with Pakistan (and to a lesser extent China) remain a constant thorn in India’s global ambitions.


Claims of a “new Middle East” have been quashed as the “old Middle East” has returned with a vengeance: The devastating October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel have been followed by unprecedented Israeli attacks on Gaza and the resumption of prolonged Israel-Palestine hostilities. This has also called into question the future of diplomatic initiatives such as the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and several Arab states, the Saudi-Iran resumption of diplomatic relations earlier this year, and efforts to facilitate a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

What does this mean for India? Beyond the Modi government’s unequivocal support for Israel (which is arguably more equivocal at the level of public opinion, given India’s longstanding support for the Palestinian cause) the latest hostilities in the Middle East hold lessons for India’s global ambitions.

Recent years have seen India raise its voice on the world stage. India’s G-20 presidency strengthened the country’s credentials as the voice of the Global South. New Delhi is offering Indian solutions to global problems, ranging from climate change and sustainability to digital public infrastructure and global health. India has spearheaded new connectivity initiatives, from its rebranded “Act East” Policy in the East to the India-Middle East-Economic Corridor and I2U2 (India-Israel-UAE-U.S.) grouping in the West.

Despite the growing polarization of the international system following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, India has been courted by all major poles of influence. It is a member of both Western-led initiatives such as the Quad and non-Western initiatives such as the BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Undergirding these developments are India’s impressive achievements, ranging from its space program marking a global first to surpassing the United Kingdom in GDP and surpassing China in population. Projections China in population. Projections hold that India will be the world’s fastest growing major economy in 2023; it is on course to surpass Germany and Japan to emerge as the world’s third-largest economy by the end of this decade. Meanwhile, the Indian government has just announced that it will submit a bid to host the 2036 Olympic games.

But the most recent developments in the Middle East show how unresolved disputes have a tendency to flare up. In this context, tensions with Pakistan (and to a lesser extent China) remain a constant thorn in India’s global ambitions.

All it would take is another high-profile terrorist attack on India, followed by the mobilization of both countries’ militaries, to erode investor confidence. This would undermine India’s ambitions to emerge as an engine of global growth, a global manufacturing hub and a beneficiary of the push to de-risk or decouple supply chains away from China. It would also challenge the government’s credentials as the “chowkidar” or watchman/protector of India’s interests, just as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “Mr. Security” reputation has been tarnished by the recent Hamas attacks. As such, despite India’s success in de-hyphenating its relationship with Pakistan, the unresolved Kashmir dispute and relations with Pakistan remain a key challenge to India’s global ambitions.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 21, 2023 at 12:04pm

‘The Middle East Region Is Quieter Today Than It Has Been in Two Decades’ - The Atlantic

A week ago, Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, sounded optimistic about the region.

By Gal Beckerman

What a difference a week makes.

Just eight days ago, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, speaking at The Atlantic Festival, rattled off a long list of positive developments in the Middle East, developments that were allowing the Biden administration to focus on other regions and other problems. A truce was holding in Yemen. Iranian attacks against U.S. forces had stopped. America’s presence in Iraq was “stable.” The good news crescendoed with this statement: “The Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades.”

One week later, a shocking, multifront attack launched by the Iranian-supported Hamas against Israel has turned the Middle East into a maelstrom. The assault, almost 50 years to the day after the surprise Arab attack on Israel that marked the opening of the Yom Kippur War, could represent a paradigm-shifting moment as big as 9/11. So far, more than 100 Israelis are confirmed dead and many hundreds more gravely injured in a coordinated attack by Hamas terrorists who infiltrated by land, sea, and air. A thousand tragedies will unfold—at the moment, an unknown number of Israeli civilians and soldiers might be held hostage in Gaza. As of this writing, nearly 200 are reported dead in Israeli reprisal raids. The Israeli army has activated at least 100,000 reservists, and a full-scale ground invasion of Gaza is plausible, if not probable.

Behind this moment are failures of intelligence, but also of imagination. The Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has styled himself as “Mr. Security” for decades, will have much to answer for in the coming weeks and months. But Sullivan’s comments, made onstage in Washington to The Atlantic’s editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, also suggest how little sense there was among Biden officials that something like this could happen. “Challenges remain,” Sullivan said in his comments last week. “Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. But the amount of time I have to spend on crisis and conflict in the Middle East today, compared to any of my predecessors going back to 9/11, is significantly reduced.” (His remarks begin at 58:52 in the video below.)

The Biden administration and Netanyahu have been deeply invested in such an agreement, and the desire for it might have created a blindness among Israelis and Americans alike about what was happening just over the border in Gaza. “We wanted to try and pretend that this conflict was isolated and contained and didn’t need our attention,” Yaakov Katz, the former editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post, told me today hours after the invasion.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 7, 2023 at 9:42am

William Dalrymple
The great Gideon Levy
. One of the bravest men I know and the finest speaker we have ever had on the Middle East


Keynote Gideon Levy: Democracy and Human Rights in Israel – 2022 May - Transcending the Israel Lobby at Home and Abroad - WRMEA

This is the core of Zionism. This feeling of chosen people is still very deep rooted in Israel. The consequence is that everything which refers to any other country in the world does not refer to Israel. That we are a special case. That international law should be implemented everywhere, but we are a different case. That a Molotov bottle against a Jewish soldier is not like a Molotov bottle against a Russian soldier because we are different, because we are chosen, because of this damned Jewish supremacy.


Now the real turning point should be, for us, the moment that each of us realize that the Israeli occupation is not a temporary phenomenon. I think that most of the people, if not all of them, understand that the occupation is there to stay. And Israel never had the slightest intention to put an end to it. All the efforts were only to mislead the West and to maintain the occupation. All this longest peace process in history, which never led to anywhere, was never aimed to lead to anywhere. All those efforts were only in order to mislead you and enable the occupation to grow, including Oslo.

So, even Oslo was a trap. We can argue if it was a planned trap or just came out as a trap, but it was a trap. All the other efforts to put an end to the occupation never aimed really to bring an end to the occupation. Because there was never a government in Israel, never ever—including Nobel Prize peace winners—none of them really meant to put an end to the occupation. They meant to make the occupation easier, more comfortable, and above all more viable. We all believed in it and we all fell into this trap. But now it’s over. This masquerade, I believe, is over.


I guess some of you know Israelis and have met Israelis. When an Israeli says that the Israeli army is the most moral army in the world, they truly believe in it. Try to tell an Israeli that maybe the IDF is the second moral army in the world. Try. You’re an anti-Semite. How dare you? How dare you? We built this field hospital in Nepal when there were floods there. What other army is so human? The belief that we are so good and the army is so moral is very deeply rooted. When you believe in it, there is no problem with the occupation.

The Israeli society, as I said, protects itself by denial and by two or three more mechanisms which enable us to feel so good about ourselves and not be troubled at all from the occupation. One is the chosen people. Because if we are the chosen people, so there’s no problem. We have the moral right to do whatever we want. We are the chosen people. The second one is obviously the Holocaust. As the late [Israeli Prime Minister] Golda Meir phrased it once, after the Holocaust, the Jews have the right to do whatever they want. Fair enough. This enabled us to continue with the occupation.

Finally, it is the process of dehumanization and demonization of the Palestinians, which serves so well the denial. Because if they are not human beings like us, if they don’t like their children like we do, if they don’t care so much about death and life, if they are so cruel, as we are being told, if they are so barbarian and brutal, if they can do those horrible things, then there is no problem in occupying them. Then it is even justified. Then it shouldn’t bother us. There is no moral problem because it’s not about human rights. They are not human beings, so how can we speak about human rights?

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 7, 2023 at 8:13pm

“My biggest struggle,” he (Israeli journalist/author Gideon Levy) says, “is to rehumanize the Palestinians. There’s a whole machinery of brainwashing in Israel which really accompanies each of us from early childhood, and I’m a product of this machinery as much as anyone else. [We are taught] a few narratives that it’s very hard to break. That we Israelis are the ultimate and only victims. That the Palestinians are born to kill, and their hatred is irrational. That the Palestinians are not human beings like us… So you get a society without any moral doubts, without any questions marks, with hardly public debate. To raise your voice against all this is very hard.”

The long history of the Jewish people has a recurring beat – every few centuries, a brave Jewish figure stands up to warn his people they are have ended up on an immoral or foolish path that can only end in catastrophe, and implores them to change course. The first prophet, Amos, warned that the Kingdom of Israel would be destroyed because the Jewish people had forgotten the need for justice and generosity – and he was shunned for it. Baruch Spinoza saw beyond the Jewish fundamentalism of his day to a materialist universe that could be explained scientifically – and he was excommunicated, even as he cleared the path for the great Jewish geniuses to come. Could Levy, in time, be seen as a Jewish prophet in the unlikely wilderness of a Jewish state, calling his people back to a moral path?

He nods faintly, and smiles. “Noam Chomsky once wrote to me that I was like the early Jewish prophets. It was the greatest compliment anyone has ever paid me. But... well... My opponents would say it’s a long tradition of self-hating Jews. But I don’t take that seriously. For sure, I feel that I belong to a tradition of self-criticism. I deeply believe in self-criticism.” But it leaves him in bewildering situations: “Many times I am standing among Palestinian demonstrators, my back to the Palestinians, my face to the Israeli soldiers, and they were shooting in our direction. They are my people, and they are my army. The people I’m standing among are supposed to be the enemy. It is...” He shakes his head. There must be times, I say, when you ask: what’s a nice Jewish boy doing in a state like this?


Levy believes the greatest myth – the one hanging over the Middle East like perfume sprayed onto a corpse – is the idea of the current ‘peace talks’ led by the United States. There was a time when he too believed in them. At the height of the Oslo talks in the 1990s, when Yitzhak Rabin negotiated with Yassir Arafat, “at the end of a visit I turned and, in a gesture straight out of the movies, waved Gaza farewell. Goodbye occupied Gaza, farewell! We are never to meet again, at least not in your occupied state. How foolish!”

Now, he says, he is convinced it was “a scam” from the start, doomed to fail. How does he know? “There is a very simple litmus test for any peace talks. A necessity for peace is for Israel to dismantle settlements in the West Bank. So if you are going to dismantle settlements soon, you’d stop building more now, right? They carried on building them all through Oslo. And today, Netanyahu is refusing to freeze construction, the barest of the bare minimum. It tells you all you need.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 7, 2023 at 8:19pm

The House censured Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in ...

Tuesday, November 7, 2023 10:43 PM ET

Twenty-two Democrats joined most Republicans to pass the resolution, which accuses Ms. Tlaib of calling for the destruction of Israel. The vote was 234 to 188.


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