(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India
Ties with Israel:
NOTED academics, political
and activists from the different parts of the world gathered for a two
conference in New Delhi on ‘A Just
Peace for Palestine’.
conference held on September 23-24, 2010 was jointly organised by the
for Solidarity with Palestine,
BDS National Committee, All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation
and other like-minded organisations. Speaking
open session on September 24, CPI (M)
secretary Prakash Karat came down heavily on the Indian government for
deepening defence and security ties with the Zionist regime in Israel.
The Indian government has deliberately not
named Israel in the
statement issued by the external affairs ministry after the Israeli
flotilla. There is an impression among ordinary Kashmiris today that
government is seeking advice from Israel on handling the
there. All this goes against what Indian political opinion has always
since the days of freedom struggle, Prakash Karat said. He alleged that
multi-billion dollar defence deals with Israel have become a major
of corruption and kickbacks, corroding the integrity of Indian defence
establishment. Currently, there is a move to give a clean chit to the
defence firms, which were blacklisted earlier by the government for
involved in kickbacks. All this is happening because the voices in
with the Palestinian people in India
have weakened inside the Indian parliament. Prakash Karat urged upon
leaders of other parties present on the dais (Mani Shankar Aiyar, D P
etc.) to join the Left Parties in demanding steadfast official support
Palestinian cause and severing of military ties with Israel.
He said that the Left will
launch a campaign in India
support the international campaign for boycott, divestment and
sanctions (BDS) against
Left will appeal to the trade unions to collectively boycott Israeli
in the Indian ports and docks, like what has already happened in Kochi, he said.
was chaired by senior journalist Seema Mustafa. As the first speaker,
trade union leader Rashed Menon expressed support for the Palestinian
on behalf of the people of Bangladesh.
The chairman of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, Manzurul Khan said
history of Israel
is the history of violence and violations of human rights. He asserted
people of the world were for peace in Palestine
and these voices needed to be strengthened. The president of the Jatiya
Kranti Dal and member of parliament of Bangladesh,
Khan said that Israel
is a Zionist state and a stigma in the face of humanity and that our
can do a lot for Palestine.
urged upon India to
a bold stand in favour of Palestine.
leader Dr Mustafa
Barghouti argued that peace in Palestine
can never come with the continuing expansion of illegal Israeli
Palestinian land. He said that while in 1947, Palestinian settlements
to 45 per cent of the total land; this had reduced to merely 11 per
2005. There was no scope for peace until Israel halted the
the apartheid wall. The military arms that Israel
was supplying India,
tested on the Palestinian people in Gaza,
he said. India was
largest buyer of Israeli arms and the international BDS campaign would
succeed unless a strong people’s movement in India
was launched to change the
Indian Government’s pro-Israel shift.
Sabha member, said that India
was the only major non-Muslim country in 1947 which opposed the
partition of Palestine.
said that Palestine belonged to the
Arabs, as much as England
belonged to the English. Indian democracy has demonstrated with its
that unity is possible through diversity. Yet, the Indian establishment
position on Palestine.
said that he was deeply moved by the sufferings of the Palestinians and
would continue to raise the issue in parliament.
Tripathi, general secretary
of the Nationalist Congress Party, said that every person who believes
democracy and stood against apartheid, should support Palestine. There
is a continuous social,
economic and psychological blockade of the Palestinian people by Israel and that a new flotilla from India involving South Asian people for Palestine has to
secretary A B
Bardhan said that if the current peace
process is only meant to legitimise Israeli oppression, he was opposed
He asserted that solidarity with the Palestinian people had no meaning
there was a concerted opposition to the military alliance with Israel.
argued that Indian intelligence was in cahoots with Israeli
that Indian democracy was under threat because of this.
Jamal Juma and Jamal Zahalka also spoke on the occasion. The meeting
the adoption of a resolution calling for an intense BDS campaign
against Israel in India.
The two day session began on September 23.
Father Miguel Brockmann, former president of the UN general assembly,
addressing the gathering emphasised that Palestinians live under the
of apartheid, whereby their basic livelihood rights are brutally
the Israeli authority. Israeli oppression is in complete violation of
Human Rights Charter. He emphasised that the explicit recognition of
oppression by the international community is a prerequisite to any
peace process in the conflict ridden region of West
He further said that the MDGs set by the UN are bound to fail because
set as ‘goals and targets’ and not ‘rights’, and nobody is held
failing the targets. He emphasised that recognition of basic rights of
Palestinian people is essential.
Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Israeli
Knesset (parliament), pointed out that Palestine
is the only nation in the world which is geographically segregated and
of the segregated part of the nation, Israeli authority exerts varying
oppression to assert its hegemony. He vehemently opposed Israel’s
to be recognised as a Democratic Jewish state. He explained that Israel wants to establish the Jewish
physically eliminating the Palestinian people living in Israel.
fundamentally contradictory to the notion of democracy. Any formal
as a democratic state would firmly establish Zionist hegemony and
the struggle of Palestinian people, he said.
Professor Aijaz Ahmed said that the
resolution of the Palestine issue is
lasting peace in West Asia. He
pointed out how
the position of the leadership of the Indian National Congress on Palestine has
over the decades. Gandhi had unambiguously recognised the rights of
people on their land, a view which was later championed by Nehru and
followers in the Non-Aligned Movement. However, the official Indian
has shifted since the 1990s towards closer ties with Israel.
He linked the shift with
the emergence of Hindutva and neo-liberalism and fall of the socialist
Professor Richard Falk of PrincetonUniversity
sarcastically termed India’s
of voice on Palestinian cause as ‘geopolitical laryngitis’ at a time
greater geopolitical significance. He emphasised that self
determination of Palestine
can be achieved
only through political struggles. He explained the need for soft power
instruments against the hard power dominance of the Israel
and US combine, drawing
inspiration from the non-violence movement of Gandhi.
Professor Falk and Professor Aijaz Ahmad
opined that unless an objective assessment of historical events of 1948
1967 are done and the crimes committed against the Palestinian people
recognised, the present problem cannot be resolved.
Prabir Purkayastha of the Delhi Science
Forum, drew attention to the increasing Indian defence purchases from Israel and greater dependence on
Intelligence and emphasised the need to build up a strong movement in India for the academic, cultural and
boycott of Israel.
speakers, including Jamal Juma, co-ordinator of Stop the Wall Campaign,
Lisa Taraki of BirzeitUniversity and Ilan Pappe of University of
explained the significance of the boycott campaign as an effective
weapon to delegitimize the Zionist establishment in Israel
and counter their
second day was on an Asian response to the Palestinian peace issue and
chaired by Professor Upendra Baxi. As the first speaker of the session,
Achin Vanaik of DelhiUniversity said
have to provide a critical but unconditional support to Hamas. He
the US geopolitical
strategies in West Asia to maintain its domination through supporting Israel.
against over-dependence on Turkey
as it is one of the member-countries of the North Atlantic Treaty
aspiring as well to join the European Union. Exposing the irrational
the US, Professor
said that it is an imperialist country which had invaded Iraq and Afghanistan recently. A
with imperialist designs will never attempted to find a solution for Palestine, he
asserted.He also said that civil
society resistance to American imperialism is intensified in the recent
and we should strengthen it further. He suggested the organisation of
flotilla with US citizens on the board and to have an international
concert supporting the Palestinian cause, in one of prominent US
candidate for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority, described
specificity of empire building in the region. According to him peace
initiatives will fail because it is aimed at domestication of
political process and issues. The peace process cannot take place
acknowledging the suffering of the Palestinian people.With the help of maps and illustrations,
Mustafa Barghouti explained how Israeli settlement in Palestinian
slowly increased recently. Earlier areas belonging to the Palestinian
settlement was 45 per cent of the total land, which had now shrunk to
percent. The peace process must focus on settlements, he argued while
that Israel had a
interest in delegitimisingthe
democratic process in Palestine.
appealed to the Indian people to support the Palestinian cause. He
reminded that India
stood steadfastly against the apartheid regime of South Africa.
Today Israel is the
biggest violator of international
law and Israel is
instrument of all imperialist design providing enough reason toopposeIsrael.
Walden Bello,co-founder of Focus on
Global South, Ilan Pape,
professor of history in the University of Exeter,
also spoke on
this occasion. The second session of the day was on an Action Plan for
the Apartheid and was chaired by Professor Richard Falk. The first
the session Ms. Lisa Tarakia
sociologist at Birzeit University of Palestine said that BDS must be
intensified and cautioned against the brand Israel
campaign. The Israeli
academic and cultural institutions are major instruments of Zionist
he mentioned.Dr. Mordecai Briemberg
also addressed the session., All the
speakers emphasised that until the Israeli oppression of Palestine
the much sought after ‘two-state solution’ will never get realised. The
Conference gave a united call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel.