Wednesday, November 26, 2008

India and Israel: Twin Targets of Islamic War and Terror

Today's horrific terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India crystalized some thoughts about which I have been mulling for some time now. Let me share them with you and invite your comments.

Three nations were created in 1947-48, by partition of regions previously under British colonial rule. The British Raj in India was divided into two new states, India and Pakistan. (Bangladesh, originally East Pakistan, later declared its independence.) That division created the largest human movement in history, an exchange of over 18,000,000 refugees, with Hindus and Sikhs fleeing to India and Moslems leaving India for Pakistan.

Also in 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the British Mandate in Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. In May 1948, the Jewish state, Israel, declared its independence. However, the Arab state never came into being, and not due to any action by Israel. Following Israel's declaration of independence, the territory allocated to Israel by the United Nations partition resolution came under attack by troops from five surrounding Arab nations--Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The portions of Palestine allocated to the Arab State, Gaza and the so-called West Bank, were gobbled up by Egypt and Transjordan, respectively. (Transjordan appropriately renamed itself the Kingdom of Jordan, since it now controlled land on both sides of the Jordan River). Gaza and the West Bank remained under Egyptian and Jordanian control until captured by Israel in the June 1967 Six-Day War. At no time during the intervening 19 years did either Egypt or Jordan make any move toward creating a Palestinian Arab state. Yet, at no time in those same 19 years did anyone, in the U.N. or in our State Department or in European capitals, describe those territories as "occupied." Strange, that.

In any event, the parallels between Israel and India are extraordinary. Israel and India are the great success stories among developing nations that came into existence after World War II. Both nations were born the same year and both became functioning democracies. Both nations have highly educated populations and flourising high-tech economies. Both have robust literary, theater, music and arts cultures. The citizens of both countries have the most extensive civil liberties of any nation in their respective regions.

Segments of the Islamic world view both India and Israel as enemy nations, and impermissable incursions into the Islamic world. And yet, in both nations, there are substantial Moslem minorities that have full civil rights, vote, and serve in the government. Some 13% of India's 1.13 billion people are Moslem. Tiny Israel has only 7.28 million people, or whom about 20% are Arab, four-fifths of whom are Moslem.

In contrast, Pakistan's 178,000,000 population is 97% Moslem. Indeed, its official name is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The areas of Palestine under Palestinian control are 98.7% Moslem, 0.7% Christian and zero percent Jewish. So Moslems are able to live and flourish in India and in Israel; but for all practical purposes a Hindu cannot live in Pakistan and an Jew cannot live in the Palestinian territories. Yet the Islamic world constantly accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing and genocide, and occasionally levels such charges against India as well. How poorly such charges stand up against the light of facts and truth.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I attended the Zionist of America meeting in San Francisco last month at the request of my father -- a long time supporter of the ZOA. I was amazed by the success of the people of Israel and very proud to be, even partially, of Jewish descent. I was equally saddened by the fact that there is such a threat to Israel's existence. It is virtually a tiny dot in the midst of it's enemies yet it flourishes.

Saturday, November 29, 2008 10:14:00 AM  

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