Things are getting really hot and heavy between Israel and India. Just hours after arriving in New York City for the UN General Assembly last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi. Modi even spent some quality time with the American Jewish Committee. Moving forward, India will finally receive the Barak-1, the missile manufactured by the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). On the archeological front, Modi’s government is speeding up the renovation and restoration of India’s synagogues. And, in the ultimate metaphor of penetration, a cyclone named after the state bird of Israel is headed towards India!
So what explains the increasingly intimate relations between these two countries? According to Netenyahu,
We’re two old peoples, some of the oldest civilizations on earth. But we’re also two democracies… If we work together we can [seize the future]….We’re very excited by the prospects of greater and greater ties with India. We think the sky’s the limit.
And Modi said,
I agree with you that India Israel relations are historical. I met this morning with people from the Jewish community, the American Jewish Council. …India is the only country where anti-semitism has never been allowed to come up, and where Jews have never suffered, and lived as an integral part of our society.
Indeed, Modi’s party, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh or BJP, is right wing. And as Philip Weiss points out in a post on the “Bromance” between Modi and Netenyahu, the two leaders have a special connection:
Of course both Netanyahu and Modi have links to massacres of Muslims. Modi is widely believed to have stood by during a Muslim genocide in 2002 when he was the chief minister of Gujarat– actions that resulted in the U.S. barring him from this country for ten years till his party’s recent triumph. There were reports that human rights groups were planning to protest Modi’s visit, but Modi is going to the White House for a dinner tonight. And of course Netanyahu’s onslaught in Gaza that just killed 2100, 500 of whom were children, gets the red carpet treatment in the U.S.
But this is all the tip of the Iceberg, or Goldberg, if you will, when it comes to Indo-Jewish relations. Years ago, writer Samhita Mukhopadhyay and I began to develop our theory about the HindJew connection. On Morning Jew, Heather Gold and I spoke to Mukhopadhyay about the ties that bind the two culture together, which include a talent with money, fondness of education, Islamophobia, and fear of inter-marriage to name a few.