The most significant aspect of Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel is not just that he is the first Indian PM to land in the Jewish state, but that he undertook the trip in spite of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s rabid anti-Semitism and pro-Nazism stand in the past.
Another important fact, which got little media attention, is that both Benjamin Netanyahu and Narendra Modi were born after the creation of Israel and independence of India. Thus they are distinct from former prime ministers of the respective countries.
If Netanyahu shook hand and embraced Modi many times it was not because he does not know that the latter is a former RSS ‘pracharak’. In fact he rolled out red carpet to greet the prime minister of the largest democracy of the world which recognized Israel in 1950 and kept its relationship alive even much before the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992.
Jews have a powerful sense of history. More so in the case of Netanyahu, whose father’s birth-place is Warsaw, the Polish capital, which during World War-II witnessed some of the worst crimes against Jews.
As a community they are very sensitive towards Holocaust yet none in Israel chose the occasion to raise the glorification of Hitler by Modi’s ‘guru’ M S Golwalkar, who wrote: “To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races––the Jews.” (“We or Our Nationhood Defined).
Israel means business and in this changed geo-political situation it would be in the best interest of the country to further improve ties with India, which has over the years emerged as the largest buyers of its arms.
The trip to Israel, especially to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, taught a lesson not only to Modi, but to those in the saffron brigade who took inspiration from Hitler. Yet the same Sangh Parivar became the greatest champion of Zionism too, especially because of its anti-Muslim stand.
This is not the only irony of history. Notwithstanding Golwalkar’s praise of Hitler, today Jews and Sangh Parivar are the best friends.
Similarly, the ‘Christianized’ western powers, which in the past over 2,000 years killed crores of ‘Chosen People’ (as Jews called themselves) are now the biggest protector of Israel.
In contrast Muslims have become the biggest enemy ever since Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, which called for the creation of a Jewish state. This is notwithstanding the fact that in 1291 years––629 AD to 1920––not a single Muslim or Jew was killed in any clash between two communities anywhere in the Muslim world.
Jews were expelled from Medina during the period of Prophet Mohammad (around 629 AD) after they breached an agreement. Yet a decade later, in 639 AD Umar, the second Caliph, allowed Jews to re-settle in the Holy Land of Palestine from where they were expelled by previous Roman and Christian rulers.
It was for the first time in 1920 that 12 people––six Muslims and six Jews––were killed in a bloody clash between the two communities. This is after the western powers started settling Jews from all over the world following the occupation of Palestine at the height of World War-I in 1916-17.
The 1291 years of peaceful co-existence between the two communities is the best example anywhere in the world. This was so in spite of the fact that ideologically Islam and Judaism are poles apart.
Be it the Crusades or Spanish Inquisition Muslims and Jews suffered together at the hands of Christian powers.
Yet things started changing by late 19th century. In bitter power game the western imperialist forces left no stone unturned to weaken and subsequently demolish the Ottoman Empire.
The British triggered an Arab revolt against Ottoman and exploited the situation during the World War-I. Thus the Ottoman lost Palestine and Syria. The western powers brought Jews from all over the world, especially in 1930s and 1940s. After the withdrawal from the Mandated territory by Britain a new nation, Israel, was created on May 14, 1948. From then on the same western powers, notorious for practising anti-Semitism, became the greatest benefactors of Jews.
This is how history is made.
Soroor Ahmed is the author of The Jewish Obsession