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. Source: BBC 

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:


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan's Bilawal Bhutto Lashes Out at India's Jaishankar

India: A Paper Elephant?

India-Pakistan Nuclear Arms Race

Kashmir: 700,000 Indian Soldiers vs 7 Million Kashmiris

Israeli Settler Colonialism

India Promotes Half Truths About UNSC Kashmir Resolutions

Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-Japan-US

Total, Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir

What is India Hiding From UN Human Rights Team?

Indian JNU Professor on Illegal Indian Occupation of Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said…
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.
Riaz Haq said…
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:
Riaz Haq said…
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
Riaz Haq said…
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.

Riaz Haq said…
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.
Riaz Haq said…
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.

Riaz Haq said…
‘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.
Riaz Haq said…
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?

Riaz Haq said…
“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.”
Riaz Haq said…
The House censured Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, for her statements on the Israel-Hamas war.
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.

Riaz Haq said…
Israeli intellectual Professor Avi Shlaim:‘Israel Does Not Want Palestine as Partner in Peace, Wants To Maintain Control Over It'

‘Land grabbing and peacemaking don’t go together, it’s one or the other, and by constantly expanding settlements, Israel showed that it prefers land to peace.’

‘Israel by its actions has shown that it is not interested in having a Palestinian partner for peace because it wants to maintain its control over the territory.’

‘Israel refuses to accept Hamas as a negotiating partner. Israel’s position is that Hamas is a terrorist organisation – pure and simple. It will never negotiate with it.’

‘Benjamin Netanyahu’s policy has been to let Hamas rule the Gaza Strip, but to contain the Gaza Strip, and this policy collapsed, because Gaza could not be contained.’

Shlaim's interview with Karan Thapar:


On October 25, Karan Thapar spoke to Avi Shlaim, emeritus professor of international relations, St. Antony’s College, Oxford. Shlaim, the acclaimed author of Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions Refutations and The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World, spoke about the history of the conflict and the aftermath of the October 7 attack by Hamas.

‘What Israel refuses to do is to accept that Hamas represents a serious body of Palestinians, and that you cannot reach any peace agreement with the Palestinians that excludes Hamas. So, the sensible thing for Israel to do and the other European powers to do is to recognise Hamas and to negotiate with Hamas for a political settlement of the conflict.’

‘My duty as a public intellectual, and as a student of this conflict, is to give the public… an account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which is as truthful as possible, as honest as possible, and as fair-minded as possible.’
Riaz Haq said…
Ishaan Tharoor
"We're rolling out Nakba 2023" — Israeli minister just flatly says it, while many in the West tie themselves up in knots to avoid seeing things as they are


'We're Rolling Out Nakba 2023,' Israeli Minister Says on Northern Gaza Strip Evacuation
Likud Minister Avi Dichter says that 'war is impossible to wage when there are masses between the tanks and the soldiers.' While Netanyahu does not support resettling the Gaza Strip, he says will not give up security control over it 'under any circumstances'

Israeli security cabinet member and Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter (Likud) was asked in a news interview on Saturday whether the images of northern Gaza Strip residents evacuating south on the IDF’s orders are comparable to images of the Nakba. He replied: “We are now rolling out the Gaza Nakba. From an operational point of view, there is no way to wage a war – as the IDF seeks to do in Gaza – with masses between the tanks and the soldiers.”

When asked again whether this was the “Gaza Nakba”, Dichter – a member of the security cabinet and former Shin Bet director – said “Gaza Nakba 2023. That’s how it’ll end.”

When later asked if this means Gaza City residents won’t be allowed to return, he replied: “I don’t know how it’ll end up happening since Gaza City is one-third of the Strip – half the land’s population but a third of the territory.”

The Gaza Strip’s settlements were evacuated by Israel in 2005 during a unilateral disengagement helmed by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon. Following coalition members’ declarations regarding reversing this move,

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked on Friday if he supports Israeli resettlement in the Gaza Strip after the war. “No, I don’t think so,” he answered, “I said I want full security control. Gaza must be demilitarized. I don’t think (resettlement) is a realistic goal, I’m saying it plainly.”

Netanyahu, who spoke at a press conference alongside Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and minister Benny Gantz, added that he won’t give up control over security in Gaza “under any circumstances.”

In response to a question about the war’s aftermath and the possibility of the Palestinian Authority controlling the Strip, he said: "I repeat, we will have total security control, with the ability to enter whenever we want to eliminate any terrorists who re-emerge. I can say what won’t happen – there will be no Hamas."

"I can say what else will not happen – there will not be a civil authority there that educates its children to hate the State of Israel, to kill Israelis, to eliminate the State of Israel. There cannot be an authority there that pays the families of murderers. There cannot be an authority there whose leader has not yet condemned the terrible massacre more than 30 days after it occurred," added Netanyahu.

Riaz Haq said…
John Oliver on Netanyahu and Hamas:

the truth is, Netanyahu has been struggling to hold office in the last half-decade. Voters there actually endured five elections in just four years, because neither Netanyahu nor anyone else could form a stable majority. He only made it back into power last year, by forming a coalition with those on the furthest right wing of Israeli politics — leading to the most right-wing government in the country’s history. His cabinet is stocked with extremists. Take Itamar Ben-Gvir. He’s been convicted on at least eight charges, including supporting a terrorist organization and incitement to racism. He was once considered so fringe, the Israeli army rejected him from mandatory service. But he’s now Netanyahu’s minister of national security. Meanwhile, his current finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, has said, “Is there a Palestinian history or culture? There is none. There is no such thing as a Palestinian people.” He’s also advocated for “victory through settlement,” very basically seizing land in the West Bank, and driving Palestinians from their homes to the point where, quote, “I abort their hopes of establishing a state.” Settlements are widely understood to be against international law, yet Smotrich wants a massive expansion of them, and Netanyahu gave him a special role in charge of settlement affairs. But perhaps the most surprising way Netanyahu has jeopardized Israel’s safety is that, for years, he deliberately used Hamas as a way to undermine the Palestinian Authority, a rival to Hamas, which administers parts of the West Bank and has much more legitimacy on the world stage. Experts say the idea was basically divide and conquer — if Palestinian leadership remains split, and one of the main parties at the table has a terrorism label on it, it’s going to be much easier for Netanyahu to refuse to engage with them, and say he has “no partner for peace.” Here’s Smotrich explaining that strategy out loud in 2015.

The Palestinian Authority is a burden and Hamas is a terrorist organization that no one will recognize, and no one will give it status in the ICC. No one will let them lead a decision in the security council. The main pitch we are playing now is international delegitimization. Hamas at this point, in my opinion, will be an asset.

John: “Hamas is an asset.” If you’re calling the group that has repeatedly killed your people an asset, it shows pretty clearly that what you care about isn’t safety, but total control. And for years, Netanyahu’s government was actually allowing suitcases of cash to be delivered to Hamas, something by the way that earned suitcases of cash the title “most morally disreputable way to transfer money” for the nine hundredth year in a row. When the scandal broke, Netanyahu insisted that that money was for humanitarian aid. Which still doesn’t explain why it had to be delivered in luggage in the back of a fucking car. The point is, Netanyahu took the risk of betting that he could control Hamas, and use them to his own ends. And he was horribly wrong about that, to the point that his ministers are now getting screamed out of hospitals. So, to recap so far: Palestinians and Israelis have both been relentlessly let down by their leaders, and the result has been a decades-long cycle of extremism, violence, retaliation, and more extremism. And Palestinians have been on the receiving end of that extremism twice over — subject to the inadequacies and cruelties of a Hamas government and the punishing isolation and daily misery of an Israeli one. Because Israel’s approach to Gaza has been truly punishing — fencing people in, limiting exits, and trapping them inside of what has been called an open-air prison by many human rights organizations. Life under a blockade there has been hard for a long time, even when there aren’t bombs flying.
Ahmad F. said…

Why should the Arabs make peace? If I were an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country.
--David Ben-Gurion, 1956

We are a generation of settlers, and without the steel helmet and the gun barrel, we shall not be able to plant a tree or build a house.
—Moshe Dayan, April 1956

As soon as we have a big settlement here, we’ll seize the land, we’ll become strong, and then we’ll take care of the Left Bank [of the Jordan River]. We’ll expel them from there, too. Let them go back to the Arab countries.
—Jewish settler, 1891

[We] must be prepared either to drive out by the sword the [Arab] tribes in possession as our forefathers did or grapple with the problem of a large alien population, mostly Mohammedan and accustomed for centuries to hate us.
—Israel Zangwill, 1905

Palestine shall be as Jewish as England is English, or America is American.
—Chaim Weizmann, 1919

I support compulsory transfer. I do not see in it anything immoral.
—David Ben-Gurion, 1938

Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here.
—Benny Morris, 2004

Maybe England will chance upon an empty piece of land in need
of a white population, and perhaps the Jews will happen to be these whites . . .
—Chaim Weizmann, 1914

We welcome the friendship of Christian Zionists.
—Theodore Herzl, 1897

The entire Christian church, in its variety of branches . . . will be
compelled . . . to teach the history and development of the nascent Jewish state. No commonwealth on earth will start with such propaganda for its exploitation in world thought, or with such eager and minute scrutiny, by millions of people, of its slightest detail.
—A. A. Berle, 1918

Christian Zionists favor Jewish Zionism as a step leading not to the
perpetuation but to the disappearance of the Jews.
—Morris Jastrow, 1919

Zionism has but brought to light and given practical form and a
recognized position to a principle which had long consciously or
unconsciously guided English opinion.
—Nahum Sokolow, 1919

Christian Zionism and Jewish Zionism have combined to create an
international alliance superseding anything that NATO or UN has to
—Daniel Lazare, 2003

Put positively: Other than Israel’s Defense Forces, American Christian Zionists may be the Jewish state’s ultimate strategic asset.
—Daniel Pipes, 2003

US prestige in the Muslim world has suffered a severe blow, and US
strategic interests in the Mediterranean and Near East have been seriously prejudiced.
—George F. Kennan, January 1948

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan beats #India 38-18 in #UNESCO vote for executive board vice chair. This also comes at a time when India has been projecting itself as the ‘voice’ of the ‘Global South’ — low- and middle-income countries in #Africa, #Asia and #LatinAmerica.

Islamabad's candidate secured the post of vice-chairperson of the UNESCO executive board. India’s defeat contravenes decades of its diplomatic policy approach to such elections.

New Delhi: Pakistan beat India with more than double the votes to secure the post of vice-chair of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) executive board last week. While 38 members of the 58-member executive board voted for Islamabad’s candidate, only 18 voted for New Delhi’s representative, and two countries abstained.

The executive board is one of the three constitutional organs of UNESCO — a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, sciences, culture, communication and information. The other two are the general conference and the secretariat.

India was elected to the UNESCO executive board in 2021 for a four-year term till 2025. Pakistan was elected earlier this year for a four-year term that will end in 2027.

India’s defeat in this vote contravenes decades of its diplomatic policy approach to such elections. “India’s policy has always been to stand in elections that are winnable. If the election is deemed risky, then full efforts are made to ensure India’s victory,” an individual familiar with the matter told ThePrint.

This also comes at a time when India has been projecting itself as the ‘voice’ of the ‘Global South’ — a term used to refer to low- and middle-income countries located in the Southern Hemisphere, mainly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. While the election was held by secret ballot, that India received only 18 votes suggests that these ‘Global South’ countries may have largely sided with Pakistan, since they form the majority of the board members.

The bureau of the executive board consists of 12 members — the chairperson, six vice-chairpersons and the five chairpersons of the permanent commissions and committees. The key roles played by the bureau include setting the agenda and allocating time for executive board meetings. The vice-chairperson has no decision-making powers.

All members of UNESCO are grouped into six regional electoral groups, and each such group is represented by a vice-chairperson. This latest election won by Pakistan was for the vice-chairperson of Group IV, which includes Australia, Bangladesh, China, Cook Islands, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

On 24 November, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan had posted on X, stating that Islamabad was elected as vice-chairperson with “overwhelming support”.

India’s permanent representative to the UNESCO is a political appointee, Vishal V. Sharma, a former independent director of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) as well as former officer on special duty to Narendra Modi when he was Gujarat chief minister.

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