May 6, 2016 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1246

Anti-Israel BDS Movement In India Targets Iran, Hewlett-Packard, Group-4S, Modi Govt, CIA And Mossad For 'Jointly' Training ISIS

May 6, 2016 | By Tufail Ahmad*
Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1246


In recent years, an international BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign against Israel, supposedly as an expression of support for the Palestinians, has been gaining ground, and has recently also expanded to India. The Indian People in Solidarity with Palestine, an Indian BDS forum, held a two-day convention in New Delhi on August 22-23, 2015. The group also organized a convention on March 6, 2016 in New Delhi, whose prominent speakers included were Peggy Mohan, an author and linguistics professor, and several others who are cited in the paragraphs below.

Nasser Barakat, a Palestinian-Indian, speaks at a BDS convention

Similar BDS conventions were also held in August, September, October and November of 2015 at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) near Delhi, at Chandigarh in Punjab state, at the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University, and at the Ghalib Institute in New Delhi.[1] The BDS convention at AMU on November 23, 2015, included noted Marxist historian Irfan Habib among its speakers. At the August 22-23, 2015 BDS convention at the Ghalib Institute, prominent speakers included Professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Sukumar Murlidharan, a senior Marxist journalist who also spoke on the March 6, 2016 BDS event as well. Hindi poet Katyayani recited her poem "Gaza 2015" on the March 6, 2016 BDS convention.

Although these campaigns are being organized in the name of human rights of Palestinians, the organizers do not organize similar events for human rights of, for example, the Baluchis who are brutalized, discriminated and murdered by the Pakistani military every day in Baluchistan, or the Tibetan people who were forced by China to flee their homeland and now live in exile in India. As discussed below, the BDS conventions are organized to target Israel, but the speakers outline a range of issues, including plans to target U.S. computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard and British private security firm Group-4S, accuse Iran of being an ally of Israel, and target Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit to Israel.

Palestinian-Indian Nasser Barakat At BDS Convention In New Delhi: "You [Iran] Are The Biggest Ally Of Israel"; "Iran Is A Big Fake That America Created"; "They Fabricated 9/11"; "There's No Proof That Al-Qaeda Did That"

Among the speakers at the August 22-23, 2015 BDS convention in New Delhi was Nasser Barakat, a Palestinian-Indian activist and former spokesman of the General Union of Palestinian Students in India. He said that Israel was created as a pretext, just like the "fabricated" 9/11 attacks.[2] Barakat added that he was not fooled by the Iranian nuclear project, because he said he knows that Iran is Israel's biggest ally, and that the Jews are not enemies because they are the Muslims' "key to Heaven."[3] Barakat stated: "Why have the (Western powers) really created Israel in Palestine? There's a very simple reason - because they want an excuse. Like they fabricated 9/11 - there is still no proof. There's no proof that Al-Qaeda did that."[4]

Barakat, accusing Iran of being Israel's ally, added: "You are the biggest ally of Israel. I have no little doubt. You guys should know one thing: In Iran, we have 1.5 million Sunnis, but we don't have any [Sunni] mosques... In the Zionist military, which is so-called Israel, there are 200,000... There are 200,000 Jews, and they are all high authorized leaders, major generals, and all. In Iran, there are only 30,000 Jews, and they have 200 temples; and they practice their ceremonies very freely. Iran is a big fake that America created."[5]

He continued: "As a Palestinian, I have many Jews - not Israeli - Jews as friends. One of them tells me: 'We are enemies, so how are you my friend?' I told him: 'You are mistaken. You have never been my enemy.' Allah informed me, I am called murabiteen. Because you occupied my land, I am a murabiteen. Murabitun are those who are forcibly living there. Those murabiteen are killed by you, and we will go to the higher grade in Heaven. Had Palestine been free, we would not have been murabiteen. So you are the key to Heaven for me. You have never been my enemy."[6]

At another BDS convention on March 6, 2016 in New Delhi, Palestinian student Dina, who is enrolled at the Jamia Millia Islamia University of New Delhi, narrated her ordeal during the Israeli attacks in 2014 in Gaza in obtaining an Indian visa and her difficulties traveling.[7]

Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy: "Let Us Be Very Clear: If We Are Going To Go After Modi On His Trip To Israel Where Modi Will Try To Be The Hindu Zionist..."; "We Will Have To Organize... Because Modi And Netanyahu Are Natural Allies; Both Are Equally Crazy"

The venue for the March 14, 2016 BDS convention was the Gandhi Peace Foundation, an NGO based in New Delhi. Speaking in Urdu, Professor Ajmal, who teaches at the Arabic and African Studies Centre of New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU - a university dominated by Marxists and Islamists), said: "The Palestinian dispute is an international issue. It is also certain that the Palestinian issue cannot be resolved by the Arab world."[8]

Reminding the audience that former Indian prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi, and her son Rajiv Gandhi stood by the Palestinian issue, Ajmal said: "The attitude of the Modi government is very painful because the atrocities that were committed on Palestinians before the [Modi] government came to power were not allowed by him to be discussed in the parliament."[9] He said: "The prime minister is to visit [Israel] this very year; you [have to work] in a way, in some position that this visit does not take place."[10]

Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy of JNU, speaking at the August 22, 2015 BDS convention, had also argued to oppose Modi's visit to Israel, stating: "In India also, let us be very clear: if we are going to go after Modi on his trip to Israel where Modi will try to be the Hindu Zionist, there will be repression. We should be prepared for it. This country [India] does not belong to any one political party..."[11] Accusing Israel of a wide range of human rights violations, he also stated: "We will have to organize more and more because Modi and [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu are natural allies. Both are equally crazy..."[12]

Professor Kamal Mitra Chinoy of Jawaharlal Nehru University 

Journalist Saurabh Kumar Shahi: "[We Must Convince Indians By Targeting Hewlett-Packard That If Data Is] Exchanged With Israel, Then It Is A Threat To Us"; "For Israel... It Is Their Reputation That Is A Big Thing; We Will Have To Target The Reputation First"

Another BDS convention was organized on March 6, 2016 in New Delhi. Speaking at the forum, journalist Saurabh Kumar Shahi, who was also introduced as a visiting faculty member at the Institute of International Relations at Warsaw University, began by saying that over the past 10-12 years, Israel had turned its focus on two countries - India and China - in order to derive future diplomatic benefits.[13]

He went on to accuse Israel of sowing religious hatred in India, stating: "For them, India is a fertile ground; the type of communal [i.e. religious] environment that is found among general population here... the kind of widespread anti-Muslim sentiment exists in India, they have created it in a very good manner, they are using it in a very good manner."[14] He added: "For Israel, more than money, it is their reputation that is a big thing. We will have to target the reputation first. Why to target the reputation first - because this is the thing that harms them the most."[15]

Outlining a BDS strategy for India, Shahi singled out two brands: U.S. computer firm Hewlett-Packard and British private security firm Group-4S. "If you want to convince the Indian audience, then you would have to first tell them why these things [Hewlett-Packard and Group-4S] are bad for the Palestinians, so are also bad for you."[16] He said that Indians need to be convinced that if security is given to private sector groups like Group-4S, it will lead to situations similar to that of Blackwater in Iraq.

"Similarly, if you target Hewlett-Packard, you will have to target how information control [works] because these are the companies that host data servers, these are the companies that do networking... whatever you do, that data is stored with them," Shahi stated.[17]

Citing the examples of government-to-government intelligence sharing on terror groups and Aadhaar card data (similar to the U.S. Social Security Card) potentially being hosted by Hewlett-Packard and shared with Israel, Shahi said the BDS movement must create a narrative to convince Indians that if such data is "exchanged with Israel, then it is a threat to us, is a threat to Indians."[18] Shahi argued in favor of creating "nuisance" for Israelis everywhere, stating: "Every other day in Israel, an individual lawyer rises in Spain and files a court case against an Israeli general. It has a nuisance value. And that nuisance value is good enough for us."[19]

Journalist Saurabh Kumar Shahi

Journalist Qamar Agha: "It Seems To Me That From Pakistan To Morocco, Most Of The Governments Are Failing And Will Collapse One After The Other; And In Most Countries, There Is A Situation Of Civil War..."

Speaking at the March 6, 2016 BDS convention in New Delhi, Qamar Agha, an Indian Muslim journalist and former faculty member at the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), accused Israel of "having adopted a policy of apartheid" against Palestinians which he said "we call 'the policy of racism,'" and "ethnic cleansing is underway of the people living there."[20] Due to authoritarianism and lack of democracy in the Arab world, Agha stated, "Very powerful Islamic movements [like the one led by ISIS] has emerged which has been continuously getting support. This was not a natural movement there, very few individuals were there in it. These Islamic movements have emerged due to support from one or another country, and many countries are using them."[21]

Agha continued: "In the Islamic countries, there is only one type of government: all are autocrats. Some autocrats are ruling in the name of Islam; some autocrats are/were secular. They [the West] used the Islamic militants to remove the secular autocrats... Whatever support Palestine used to get came from the secular Muslim countries, whether it be Algeria, Iraq, Syria... On the other hand, Islamic governments and organizations never had Palestine on their agenda... In India, whether it be the Jamaat-e-Islami, [Darul Uloom] Deoband... never organized a Palestine Day."[22]

Arguing that Israel has "no intention" of withdrawing from the occupied territories, Qamar Agha said Israel continues to build settlements in the West Bank and eyes other territories in the wider region such as the rest of the Golan Heights, and may re-occupy the Sinai Peninsula, which has and gas reserves, if Islamic militancy grows in the region.

He went on to state: "It seems to me that from Pakistan to Morocco, most of the governments are failing and will collapse one after the other; and in most countries, there is a situation of civil war... In these situations, it is better for Israel and they have been saying it before... 'Jordan is Palestine.' Their intention is to expel all Palestinians from there, dump them in Jordan and declare Jordan as Palestine. It is their plan; it is not new; it has been there for ages. And if [Donald] Trump becomes the president, it will not be difficult for them to fulfil it."

Anti-West Activist Feroze Mithiborwala: "Israel Is The International Brahmin, And The Brahminical Forces... In Our Country Have A Direct Alliance With Them"; "In Turkey's ISIS Camps... CIA And Mossad Jointly Train ISIS And Al-Qaeda"

The March 6, 2016 BDS convention also featured Feroze Mithiborwala from the Palestine Solidarity Committee, Mumbai. According to a 2011 interview with The Milli Gazette, Feroze Mithiborwala has been "involved in the Palestinian question since 1987 - even before the First Intifada."[23] In his address, Feroze Mithiborwala targeted Zionism, saying: "Zionism essentially is a supremist [supremacist] ideology. What does it mean in the Indian context? Zionism is essentially international Brahmanism. If you compare Talmud and Manusmriti [scripture mostly abandoned by Hindus], you will find the same things."[24] He added: "Israel is the international Brahmin, and the Brahminical forces... in our country have a direct alliance with them."[25]

Feroze Mithiborwala was also sharply critical of Political Islam and its treatment of non-Muslims and Shia Muslims as infidels. Arguing that "Israel has found support in this country [India] due to the question of Islamic terror," he questioned how Muslims believe in the Ghazwa-e-Hind (the Battle of India) prophecy, as per which a group of Islamic fighters will rise from India and join the forces of Jesus, who will be reborn, in the present-day greater Israel region to establish the Islamic rule. He went on to accuse Israel of supporting jihadi groups, stating: "Israel has ties with Al-Qaeda in Golan Heights; Israel has ties with Muslim Brotherhood in Golan Heights...; Israel has ties in Turkey's ISIS camps where CIA and Mossad jointly train ISIS and Al-Qaeda."[26]

Mumbai-based anti-West activist Feroze Mithiborwala

Mithiborwala added: "There is a 12-page United Nations document that shows and there is video evidence also which tells how Israel has aided Islamic militants in this entire Syrian crisis."[27] He argued that Israel has been defeated by Hamas in Gaza several times, adding for "Israel as a military power, the story ended in 2006" when it lost the fight to Hezbollah in Lebanon. He noted that Israel wants to settle Palestinians somewhere else.

Mithiborwala also stressed that each religion has an element of extremism, which it must confront, and that extremism must also be confronted across religions. He said he was shocked to find that even a secular country like Syria has a constitution that says only a Muslim can be the head of the state. He concluded by saying: "Israel has lost the project of regime change in Syria... the entire Saudi game-plan on sectarian lines has failed in this region, and Yemen will prove to be the Vietnam for Saudi Arabia... The extremist hegemonic form of Islam is now facing a major challenge from within the Arab and Muslim world... The American project to re-draw the map of the region has failed."

* Tufail Ahmad is Director of MEMRI's South Asia Studies Project. He is the author of Jihadist Threat to India: The Case for Islamic Reformation by an Indian Muslim.


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