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Israel: A friend in need?

June 20, 2003 19:45 IST

There are several reasons why this is the perfect time for India to enter into a strong alliance with Israel:

  • Chanakyan theory of statecraft
  • Certain similarities that make them compatible in the 'clash of civilisations'
  • A realisation by Indians that Israeli concerns are valid
  • The rabid opposition of India's Marxists

Let me emphasise, however, that it is not necessarily the case for India to be forever wedded to Israel, or indeed, to anyone else: all tactical alliances are fluid and based on expediency. Indians, naïvely, go for lifetime commitments, when a light-hearted affaire de coeur is the right answer. The BJP has learned this art of compromise, but the Congress never did. But that's no surprise considering their 'leaders' are selected more for their ability to kiss Nehru dynasty ass than for any inherent competence.

Chanakya in his classic Arthashastra (translated and edited by L N Rangarajan, Penguin India, 1992, 868 pp., Rs. 395) speaks about the national interest. He has a dictum that by definition, a state's immediate neighbours are enemies; in India's case this is amply borne out by China, Pakistan and Bangladesh. As an illustration, China was not India's enemy for 2,200 years as some Chinese strongman said recently: that was because there was a country in between, the buffer state of Tibet. As soon as they swallowed Tibet, they became India's neighbour, and therefore, enemy.

Chanakya defines six methods of foreign policy that the nation could pursue in order to advance its interests:

  • Samdhi, or making peace via a treaty, when one is relatively weak
  • Vigraha, or active hostilities, waging war, when one is stronger than the enemy
  • Asana, or staying quiet, as in an armed truce, when the enemy is equally strong
  • Yana, or preparing for war, building up one's capabilities, when one has certain advantages
  • Samsraya, or seeking support from others, when one is depleted in strength
  • Dvaidhibhava, or dual policy of making peace with one neighbour to pursue, with his help, the policy of hostility towards another, when this is necessary

Of these, Chanakya is clear that actively waging war is the last resort, and that it is only when other means are exhausted that one should pursue this direction. It may well be that India is simultaneously pursuing yana by building up her military and economic strength, and samsraya by seeking support, both sensible policies. Israel is a good fit in both strategies, for it does have the military technology India needs, and its support irritates only those who are inimical to India anyway.

Chanakya would suggest war against Pakistan, and armed truce against China. Chanakya also defines the 'Middle Power' (madhyama) and the 'Neutral Power' (udasina), powerful states that may have an interest in the nation's affairs. The US fits in with the definition of 'Neutral Power', one that is more powerful than both us and our immediate enemies. Israel is clearly an ally of the Neutral Power.

Theoretically, there is thus good reason for India to ally herself with Israel. There is also an eminently practical reason: the stark reality is that India and Israel are the only two states that are actively resisting being overwhelmed in a giant Islamic crescent ranging from West Africa to Indonesia. And we are the only two states that have the fundamental religious foundations to resist dhimmitude.

There are a number of other similarities: for instance the issue of 'holy sites' in Palestine and in Ayodhya. Furthermore, it is amazing how the antediluvian Marxists around the world despise both Hinduism and Judaism; but they are quite happy to be water-carriers for Islamism in contrast. Little do the Marxists realise that they will be the first to be liquidated in an Islamist State. This is much like black Muslims in the US who do not appreciate the irony that their ancestors were enslaved by Muslim slave traders who rounded them up and frog-marched them in chains to board waiting European ships.

The whole issue of the primal rights to the land in Palestine, in particular in Jerusalem, is quite tortuous. The American scholar Daniel Pipes suggests convincingly that Jerusalem in fact was not a major holy site for Muslims. It is not mentioned even once in the Koran, says Pipes. Muslims claim that the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem (also the Temple Mount, Judaism's most sacred spot) is where their Prophet descended to after going to heaven. However, that spot was only referred to as the Far Mosque, and its alleged association with Jerusalem is recent. 

It is true that Judaism is very much in the fire-and-brimstone tradition of the desert, and therefore philosophically the opposite of the far more humane tradition of the forest, which suffuses all the Indic faiths. However, it is also true that Hindus and Jews have suffered most grievously from the excesses of Islamic and Christian dogma and belligerence. Because of this, both also turned inwards: thus the ossification of caste in Hinduism and the Orthodox Jews' strict rules about how Jewishness is only inherited through the mother.

Despite all this, there is one incredible fact that almost all Jews I know recognise: that out of 148 nations in which Jews have lived, they were oppressed in 147 of them, and the sole exception is India. For instance, the Jews of Cochin landed in 72 CE at the great port of Muziris (Kodungalloor) on the Malabar Coast. Joseph Rabban was elevated to chieftain of the village of Anjuvannam achandrataram -- so long as the moon and stars exist -- by King Bhaskara Ravi Varman around 1000 CE. I know a lady named Esther, a white woman with bright red hair, who wears a sari and speaks immaculate Malayalam, as she should: her ancestors have lived unmolested in Kerala for 2,000 years, since the destruction of their Second Temple!

Young Israelis come by the thousands to India after their compulsory military service these days. Locals in Hampi and McLeodganj and Dharamsala may complain about their 'raves', but it must be a wonderful experience for these youngsters to know that there exists a land where they are not hated just for being Jews.

Furthermore, there was an extremely interesting offer from Israel in the early 1980s. Just after they bombed and destroyed Iraq's Osiraq nuclear reactor on June 7, 1981, the Israelis contacted India and asked for cooperation in likewise destroying Pakistan's reactors at Kahuta. They only needed refueling facilities for their planes, and permission to use Indian airspace. Of course, the Nehruvian Stalinists in power in India at the time were horrified: whatever would our Arab friends think! In hindsight, bombing Kahuta then would have set back Pakistan's 'Islamic Bomb,' although their kind friend China would still have given them the components for screwdriver assembly.

As predatory and missionary desert faiths continue to impose themselves on all the peoples of the world, it is important for the Jews and Hindus, both victims, to stand by and support each other. It is indeed a clash of civilisations.

There is also the growing realisation by many Indians that they have been led up the garden path by all the rhetoric about Palestinians. Nehruvian Stalinists justify the loud breast-beating they indulge in about Palestinians on several grounds:

  • Compassion for 'suffering' peoples
  • The warmth Arabs will feel if India supports Palestinians
  • Opposition to colonialism/European imperialism

In point of fact, Palestinians do not deserve support from Indians on any of these grounds.

  • Compassion: Palestinians swamp the media with their comparative victimhood. Yet there are plenty of others more deserving of compassion. After all, charity begins at home. Consider the ethnically cleansed Kashmiri Pandits, rotting away in refugee camps. Or consider the Hindus of Bangladesh: literally every day I hear about yet another atrocity committed, most often gang rapes and murders, or abductions and forcible conversions, of young Hindu women. Why is it that all the champions of the Palestinian cause in India have no tears for these people, our own? Why aren't they assailing Pakistan and Bangladesh? Indians need to rally around the slogan: 'Let my people live!'
  • Arab goodwill for India: This is laughable. What has India got to show for its pains in supporting Palestine? Nothing, nada, zilch! As Americans might ask, 'What have the Arabs done for us lately?' The only Arabs who were even half-way decent to us were the Iraqis. All the other Arabs despise Indians. In fact, most Arabs don't even have much goodwill for Palestinians, else they would have helped them rebuild their lives, instead of forcing them to live as refugees and using them as jihadi cannon-fodder
  • Anti-imperialism: This is a throwback to the days of the despicable NAM, when Nehru and company used to feel self-important as the 'leaders' of a bunch of banana republics. But the time for all this inane rhetoric is far gone. What is happening in Israel and Palestine is not imperialism, but the struggles of a numerically small civilisation to avoid being swamped by violent neighbours. And these neighbours have the full support of the world's Leftist media: remember the godawful fuss they made about 'Jeningrad', until it was shown to be a fabrication, special delivery for the television cameras of gullible networks?

I too at some point in my impressionable youth swallowed the Indian media rhetoric about Palestinians. There were some Palestinians at the IIT Madras, who had tales of teenage years spent cradling AK-47s fighting against an implacable enemy, a coloniser, a continuation of the colonial European assault on Asia. Later I met Israelis at Stanford, and I used to harangue them about what terrible imperialists they were.

But slowly it occurred to me that the Jews were more sinned against than sinning, and I am sure I am not the only Indian who has come to this conclusion. Their motto after millennia of oppression, 'Never again!' holds resonance for Hindus. Today we are up against the same enemy: one that views us both literally as untermenschen, sub-human monsters, spawn of Satan, fit for nothing but slaughter; the moral equivalent of vermin, as whites in American classified Native Americans two centuries ago.

There are acts of barbarism that do take place in Israel's struggle to exist. Thus Ariel Sharon is rightly condemned as the Butcher of Sabra and Chattila refugee camps in Lebanon, when Israel's ally, the Christian Phalangist militia, went on a rampage against Palestinians. That is surely deplorable.

However, the very same people who condemn Sharon, the Marxists of India, are full of eulogies for Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. Do you know, gentle reader, that Sayeed is called the Butcher of Anantnag for his role in terrorising Kashmiri Hindus? Here's verbatim email I got from Kashmiri Pandits in response to my column The Perfect Con Job: The Kashmiri Loot of the Nation.

'The irony of seeing the butcher of Anantnag (when in 1985-86 riots in Anantnag Kashmiri Pandits suffered at the hands of Mufti's men) rise to become the CM of the state today is heart-wrenching. Mufti was at the helm of the KP massacre and lootings in Anantnag way before his 'boys' came into action in the Valley.'

'In 1986 there were anti-Hindu riots in south Kashmir. We the Hindus in Kashmir know that they were instigated by Mufti Sayeed. Reason: Central Govt. under Rajiv wanted to overthrow the GM Shah government. After the riots Central Rule was applied.'

'Mufti is the butcher of Anantnag. He orchestrated the Anantnag riots in early 1986. This single incident triggered the start of our exodus. And now, he is being rewarded with the CM-ship of the state. Only in India!'

For more details on the Anantnag riots, try the URL

So why are Indian Marxists so gung-ho about Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and not about Ariel Sharon? Their Chinese handlers must have told them that it is important to keep the Marxist-Islamist nexus going, and to keep India and Israel away from each other.

And that is the final reason: the major hue and cry raised by Marxists. Since by definition everything they want is anti-India and pro-China, it is an excellent reason to proceed forthwith with an Indo-Israeli tactical alliance. Clearly, that would be positive for India and negative for China (for instance the Phalcon and the future Arrow weapons deals).


Rajeev Srinivasan