“Islam is a close corporation and the distinction that it makes between Muslims and non-Muslims is a very real, very positive and very alienating distinction. The brotherhood of Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only. There is a fraternity but its benefit is confined to those within that corporation. For those who are outside the corporation, there is nothing but contempt and enmity. The second defeat of Islam is that it is a system of social self-government and is incompatible with local self-government, because the allegiance of a Muslim does not rest on his domicile in the country which is his but on the faith to which he belongs. To the Muslim ibi bene ibi patria is unthinkable. Wherever there is the rule of Islam, there is his own country. In other words, Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his motherland and regard a Hindu as his kith and kin. That is probably the reason why Maulana Mahomed Ali, a great Indian but a true Muslim, preferred to be buried in Jerusalem rather than in India”. – Dr Babasaheb B R Ambedkar, Pakistan or Partition of India, Thacker & Co Ltd, Bombay, 1945, P. 325
Even before the Russia-Ukraine war’s geopolitical disturbance is settled, a new conflict with old dimensions has erupted in West Asia. Hamas has again attacked Israel, intercepting the world-recognised technological and intelligence prowess. Though the violent attack by the armed wing of Hamas is not new, the launch of 5,000 rockets on the Holy Saturday during the Yom Kippur (Period of Atonement) holidays was an apparent breaching of the invincibility of Tsahal, Mossad, Shin Bet, Merkava tank, Iron Dome, and the Israel Defense Forces. The killing and abduction spree by Hamas terrorists on the streets of Israel has further added insult to the Israelis. Israel has declared war, and Gaza will face massive retaliation. The usual script of Palestine victimhood will do rounds. If one goes by the historical developments since the creation of Israel in 1948, one may fall prey to the Islamist-Communist narrative of colonial creation and Jewish aggression against Palestinians. But, the more profound analysis of history and interrelationship in the Abrahamic religions gives a different picture altogether.
The persecution and expulsion of Jews from their homeland started under the Persian and later Roman Empire right from the second century CE. The destruction of the second temple in the seventh century and the expansion of Islam in West Asia further relegated them to extinction from the region. Since then, the history of Jewish persecution and systemic pogrom throughout Europe is well-documented. The only honourable exception was Bharat, as described by many Indian Jews. After the emergence of the Zionist movement in 1897 in Europe, the reclamation process started, and global geopolitics of the inter-war period resulted in the creation of Israel. Since then, Islamists have found it difficult to reconcile with this historical fact and play the Palestine card to mobilise the Islamic Ummah. Despite incessant aggressions and fights, Israel tried to develop itself militarily, technologically and economically and defeated the Islamist designs with valour.
Presenting this entire conflict merely as the territorial claim is a grave blunder the ‘secular’ academicians and intellectuals are perpetuating. The monotheistic religions that originated from the Abrahamic tribe, following Jacob, Jesus and then Mohammed, cannot coexist because the supremacist and exclusivist theological interpretation is the root cause of the problem. To some extent, the Church has accepted the Jewish claim and allowed Israel to come into existence near Jerusalem. Jews, though bookish, puritan and strict in their religious practices, are not proselytising. Their strong civilisational and existential sense around Israel makes them strong nationalists. The Islamists cannot accept the original territorial claim of Jews, hence the hatred. Due to the new geopolitics, countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE are charting a reformist path and exploring diplomatic ties with the only Jewish nation, which is unacceptable to the Islamists. The worldwide protest in the name of the Islamic Brotherhood is a reflection of the same. China is the indirect beneficiary of the conflict as it would derail the Bharat-West Asia-Europe economic corridor. Thus, there are larger geo-strategic dimensions behind Hamas getting into an offensive against Israel at this juncture.
For the first time, the Government of Bharat has taken a clear stand in favour of Israel and against the terrorism of Hamas. Naturally, some elements within Bharat are upset. We must be careful in this scenario as a group of Islamists, supported by terror-apologist politicians and communist intellectuals, would vitiate the atmosphere in Bharat. Instead of beating around the bush, we need to address the core reasons behind acts of terror. ‘Jews and Christians are at worst men of little faith’ for the Islamists, but ‘the Hindu is idolatrous, the hateful Kaffir’, as explained by Swami Vivekananda. For them, ‘a country ruled by Kaffir is Dar-ul-Harb’, as articulated by Dr Ambedkar in his book on Pakistan. The Israel-Hamas conflict is an opportunity to go beyond the territorial claims and understand and address the theological roots of terrorism.