It was due to the imperialist patronage that the state of Israel came into existence in 1948 by grabbing the vast land which belonged to the Palestinian people for centuries. Even today, the state of Israel serves the interests of American imperialism and its existence rests on its connivance with the rulers of the Arab world who themselves are horrified with the prospects of mass uprising in their own countries. However, the other side of the truth is that owing to the increasing frequency of solidarity movements as well as Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement and the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, the pressure to end the occupation is mounting on the Zionists of Israel.
‘Indian People in Solidarity with Palestine’ is an intellectual forum that was launched by a non-Muslim group of social activists and journalists last year in the wake of Israel’s barbaric bombarding on Gaza. It organized a two-day program titled “In solidarity with Palestine” at India-Arab cultural center in Jamia Millia Islamia. The program had very interesting talks, lively discussions, screening of films on Palestine, Photo-Poster exhibition and book exhibition.
On the first day of the program, an informative talk followed by a discussion was held on the topic, “Zionism: Imperialist Conspiracies in the Middle-East and the question of Palestinian Liberation”. The first speaker was a political analyst and translator of a compilation of Hindi translations of Palestinian poems, Mr. Anand Singh. He gave a detailed account of the history of Zionism, its relationship with imperialism and the history of the courageous resistance of Palestinian people against the brutal Israeli occupation of their land and its continued genocidal campaign. He stated that “Zionism is a political ideology which developed in the late nineteenth century as a consequence of the contradiction of capitalism which was aided and abetted by imperialists to fulfill their own interest.” He further said that “because of the geo-politically strategic location of Palestine as a gateway to the oil-rich region of the Middle East and earlier because of falling on the shortest land-route from Europe to India, the British imperialists earlier and the American imperialists now patronized the Zionists”.
Mr. Anand also spoke on the current Indian government’s perspective and role in relation to the Palestinian cause. He stated that “even though Indian people have historically supported the struggle of Palestinian people, the rulers of India have, of late, begun to betray the cause of Palestinian liberation. India has started tilting towards Israel since early 1990s and the ruling party in India is now gearing to fully embrace Israel and abandon the cause of Palestine”. “Despite the betrayal of the Indian rulers to the cause of Palestine, the people of India must continue to express its solidarity with Palestine and put pressure on the government to sever its diplomatic and trade relations with the apartheid state of Israel,” he said.
Ex-director of Academy of International Studies, Prof. Shri Prakash was the second speaker in this talk. He scholarly dwelt on the history of India’s support to Palestine, clearly stating that even today no government can dare to oppose Palestine and support Israel.
Professor Rafiullah Azami, Centre for West Asian studies (JMI) also spoke in this event. He expressed his gratification that even today there are fearless people in India who have the courage of conviction to speak for Palestine’s liberation. Prof. Javed Ahmad Khan, Director, Centre for West Asian studies (JMI) delivered the presidential speech and reiterated the crucial points of the talk.
The program was moderated by Kavita Krishnapallavi and it was followed by the screening of the famous documentary ‘Occupation 101’ which brilliantly reproduces the various aspects of the Palestine problem. The audience showed keen interest in the photo-picture exhibition as well as the book exhibition.
On the second day of the program, there was a film screening session in which two films were shown. The first film was ‘Five Broken Cameras’ which narrates a moving story of the resistance movement in a Palestinian village against a separation wall being built by Israel to protect the settlers. This entire movement was captured on camera by a peasant of the village and in the process his 5 cameras are broken. The second film was ‘The Time that Remains’ which presents half a century of tragedy and turmoil in Palestinian society as a series of mordant comic vignettes.
Towards the end of the program, the organizers made an appeal to the audience to sign an online petition which inter alia demands the government of India to cancel the upcoming visit of PM Modi to Israel. They also appealed to sign on another petition which demands the cancellation of Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal’s upcoming visit to Israel.
*Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is a classical Islamic scholar, English-Arabic-Urdu writer, and a Doctoral Research Scholar, Centre for Culture, Media & Governance (JMI Central University). After graduation in Arabic (Hons.), he has done his M. A. in Comparative Religions & Civilizations and a double M.A. in Islamic Studies from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He can be contacted at [email protected]