When Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid recently described “The Kashmir Files,” a film about the expulsion of Kashmiri Pandits (Kashmiri Hindus) from Kashmir in 1990, as “vulgar” and state “propaganda,” all hell broke loose in India. Hindutva supporters unleashed strong criticism against his remarks.
Lapid had been invited by the Indian government to chair the jury at the government-organized International Film Festival of India at Goa, where he made his comments.
It is no secret that the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had publicly backed the film with even Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailing the film for “showing the truth” about the Pandit exodus from Kashmir, which he said “had been suppressed for years.” It has persistently attempted to portray the expulsion of Kashmiri Pandits from the country’s only Muslim-majority state of Kashmir in 1990, as a Hindu “genocide.”
In an earlier article in The Diplomat, I detailed how “The Kashmir Files” was being used as a tool by the BJP and the Sangh Parivar, a “family” of Hindu right-wing organizations of which the BJP is a part, to fuel hatred and Islamophobia in the country.
So, when the Israeli director dissed the film, BJP supporters and its troll army reacted swiftly, prompting Israeli diplomats to rush in to apologize profusely. Israel’s ambassador to India, Naor Gilon wrote an open letter to his “Indian brothers and sisters” condemning Lapid’s statements while hastening to dismiss those (trolls) who doubted the Holocaust and the Schindler’s List. Gilon’s letter was aimed at ensuring that the episode did not derail the India-Israel relationship that has grown during the past eight years of Modi-led BJP rule.
Modi’s bonding with Israel’s Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu – India-Israel cooperation has increased manifold in recent years, whether over agriculture, defense deals or surveillance technology – has often been described as the “Bibi-Modi bromance.” Israel has been consistently supporting the Indian government’s stand in insurgency-wracked Jammu and Kashmir, even when Modi took the controversial step of repealing its constitutionally granted autonomy.
It is not surprising that the Hindu nationalist party BJP and Zionist Israel share close ties.
The BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) have long admired the Jewish supremacist policy of Israel where majoritarianism (of the Jews) is enshrined in the constitution. In his book “Hindutva” (1923), RSS ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, who is revered by the BJP, called for the creation of a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu state) and looked forward to the fulfillment of the “Zionist dream” of Palestine becoming a Jewish state. Hindutva proponents have long championed Israel’s exclusionist policies toward Palestinian Muslims, which validate their own anti-Muslim biases. The Israeli model of a military state and a muscular state policy have also appealed to Hindu nationalists.
This story was originally published in thediplomat.com. Read the full story here