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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 43-44 October 21 & 28, 2023

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Oct 21 & Oct 28, 2023

Saturday 21 October 2023


Israel’s War on Gaza is laden with risks and implications for our hyperconnected world. The October 7 attacks by Hamas inside Israel and the subsequent military operation by the Israelis on Gaza sent a wave of (pro-Modi Government, pro-right wing) journalists to Israel from big TV networks in India and they have over the past week been broadcasting high-decibel Israeli propaganda to TV viewers in India. None of these Indian journalists have gone into the Palestinian territories of Gaza and Westbank to report from there. As a result, a lop-sided media coverage of the conflict and humanitarian situation is underway. This skewed coverage bodes ill for the image of India, once a leading light of the Non-Alligned movement and a supporter of the Palestinian right to self-determination. At multiple locations in India (Aligarh, Delhi, Srinagar) there has been a police crackdown to pre-empt and prevent pro-Palestinian demonstrations [1]. The hateful delirium of support and mobilisation of rallies [2] by Hindutva right-wing groups in India in favour of the right-wing Israeli government’s policy of military operations of revenge in Gaza is filling up the social media with fake news and propaganda; The above have serious consequences for the safety of the thousands of Indian workers and professionals who live and work in the countries of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. The Modi Government should do all to contain the fallout of large-scale hateful propaganda coming from India and influencing its diaspora [3]. Just the other day an Indian expatriate who worked as a specialist at Royal Bahrain Hospital was fired from the job after his posts advocating genocide for Palestine went viral on social media. The doctor was arrested for insulting people of a particular religion and for endangering public safety by incitement to violence [4]. The current Israeli military operation & the continuing bombing of Gaza is beginning to enflame the streets in the Middle East and is likely to spread far. Keeping the protection of its diaspora in mind the Government of India should not display an unequal policy one vis a vis its citizens in Israel and the other for its citizens in Gaza and Palestine. It is good to know that Prime Minister Modi has spoken to the President of the Palestinian Authority and offered condolences on the loss of civilian life. India should expand its funding towards UNWRA in Palestinian territories and should immediately propose to send medical aid and essential supplies to Gaza via Egypt and should call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and move diplomatically to calm things down in the region. Such actions of support for Palestinians at this time and using all leverage to push for a ceasefire can only create goodwill for India in the Arab world and the Middle East region.

October 21, 2023 — HK

[1see CASR Statement in this issue of Mainstream

[2Video: Why far-right Hindus in India are supporting Israel

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