Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Hindutva and Zionism

mondoweiss |  Large-scale protests have been roiling Indian cities since earlier this month, when the country’s parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Act, CAA. It offers citizenship to any refugees from the neighboring (majority-Muslim) countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who are members of non-Muslim “minority” communities in those countries—but notably not to any Muslims. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had introduced this clearly discriminatory measure as part of a package of anti-Muslim steps he has taken since his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won an increased majority in the Lok Sabha (parliament) last April.

The BJP was founded in 1980 as a party that proudly and explicitly pursues “Hindutva” (Hindu power) in a country that, throughout the 50 years after it won Independence from Britain in 1947, had remained committed to the determinedly non-religious form of civic equality envisaged by the Congress Party and key independence-era leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The Congress Party is now but a shadow of its earlier self. In the April elections, the BJP won 303 of the Lok Sabha’s 543 elected seats.

Democrats and progressives around the world have been united in protesting the BJP’s radically pro-Hindutva (or “saffronizing”) policies. It is instructive, therefore, to note the many parallels between the BJP’s policies and the classic kinds of policies Zionists have pursued both on the ground in Palestine and in the lavish p.r. campaigns they have run worldwide. Modi, it turns out, can teach us all a lot about Zionism. Here, in a nutshell, are Modi’s step-by-step lessons for how to create and defend an exclusivist, ethno/sectarian-nationalist state: