The threat of radical Islam and its terrorist offshoots can ‘upset’ the international system, vehemently expressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while addressing the inaugural session of the ‘Raisina Dialogue’ held in January 2018.
He further expressed in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “Most notably the quest for modernity, the quest for innovation is being challenged by radical Islam and its terrorist offshoots from a variety of corners and this can upset the international system.”
I concur with the wise and truthful words of Netanyahu. The curse that both India and Israel face are not from Muslims living in the country but from radical Islamists.
India and Israel both represent ancient civilizations and share a British colonial past. They were the first states to become independent (in 1947 and 1948, respectively) in the post–World War II wave of decolonization. And more importantly, both experienced horrific partitions and have maintained democratic regimes ever since under adverse conditions.
Both India and Israel were victims of British colonization. British relied on its divide-and-rule policy to deepen its control of both nations. People from one religious order were turned against people from another religious order in order to ensure that people do not unite against the common enemy of colonial rule.
The divide speared by the colonial powers created a common enemy to the Hindu majority India and Jewish majority Israel. That common enemy, which was initially seen as merely Muslims are now more clearly defined as radical Islamists.
For Israel, the enemy is ‘Islamist’ groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. In India, it is also ‘Islamist’ groups of the Popular Front of India, Lashkar-E-Toiba, Ahle Hadees, and Jamaat-e-Islamia.
Both India and India have substantial populations of Muslims. This religious community has been positioned as a minority community and propagated globally as being under threat by the religious majorities of India and Israel (Hindus and Jews). Sympathizers of the radical Islamists seek to tell the world that India and Israel, otherwise peace-loving, democratic societies are oppressive to the Muslim communities in their nations.
Speaking at the third edition of the multilateral geo-political conference ‘Raisina Dialogue’ in January 2018 said that India and Israel were two democracies with a natural affinity, but their open and liberal societies faced risks.
“Our way of life is being challenged, most notably, the quest for modernity, the quest for innovation (are) being challenged by radical Islam and its terrorist offshoots from a variety of corners. We’ve discussed in this visit how we can strengthen our two nations in the civilian areas, in security areas, in every area,” Netanyahu said.
Both Israel and India have long sought to counter militant Islamists – in Israel’s case, mainly from Gaza and Egypt’s Sinai region and, in India’s case, mainly from Pakistan. Away from the public eye, India and Israel have been cooperating against the threat through, in part, intelligence sharing.
For more than a century, much of the attention given to the Middle East has focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict. The rise of a Palestinian offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, transformed the nature of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. According to Mitchell Bard in his book “Death to the Infidels – Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews”, the dispute, in the view of Hamas, is not over a division of Palestine, but rather about Jews ruling over Muslims and the presence of Jews on Islamic land.
However, this Islamic-Jewish conflict is not simply confined to the Middle East. Muslim terrorist attacks have been directed at Jews all around the world, from Europe to Asia to Latin America. Radical Muslims in European countries are becoming brazen, particularly in France, where Muslims constitute nearly ten percent of the population.
In the 26/11 terror attack, Nariman House, a Chabad Lubavitch Jewish center in Mumbai known as the Chabad House, was taken over by two attackers, and several residents were held, hostage. Six Jews were murdered by the terrorists. Rather than being an opportunistic target, the Chabad House was a sought out Jewish location. Wiretap recordings of the terrorists revealed how they chose a Jewish target and other locations as part of a plan to strike several communities and to elicit maximum global attention.
Professor of political studies at the Bar-Ilan University and director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies, Efraim Inbar in a research paper titled, “The Indian-Israeli Entente” stated: Both India and Israel have engaged in a protracted conflict and fought several wars against their neighbors: India against China and Pakistan, and Israel against Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Both are continuously challenged by low-intensity conflict and terror, and both have rivals who possess Weapons of Mass destruction.
India, like Israel, feels beleaguered in its own region. It fears that Pakistan seeks its disintegration and is attempting to engage it in a proxy war by supporting Muslim-separatist terrorism. Furthermore, despite diplomacy to reduce Sino-Indian tensions, most of the Indian strategic community believes that China’s massive economic progress has threatened national security dimensions.
Inbar further stated: Within their respective regions the two states are involved in a protracted conflict characterized by complex ethnic and religious components. Both feel that the international community fails to understand their conflicts. New Delhi has seen international pressure on Islamabad to act more determinately against terrorism giving way to pressure on New Delhi to make it more worth Pakistan’s while to end terrorism.9 Israelis feel that the burden is on them to make concessions to the Palestinian leadership, under the problematic assumption that the latter must be able to show achievements to its constituency in order to muster support for ending the violence. Both India and Israel take the position that they will not negotiate as long as their rivals support terrorism, a position that other nations often view as unnecessarily hard.
Radical Islamists will continue to be a problem for India and Israel. Nothing can be more brutally truthful than the state of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “The weak don’t survive, the strong survive. You make peace, and alliances with the strong. You are able to maintain peace by being strong.
To defeat radical Islam both India and Israel need to work towards peace in their nations by being strong in their fight against terrorism.