.Kerala Pradesh Congress came out openly in support of Palestine at a rally that was organised at Kozikhode beach. The rally, attended by senior KPCC leaders and notable Muslim religious figures, conveyed a strong message of support for Palestine. The event featured images of former Prime Minister Smt. Gandhi and Yasser Arafat, the late chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), prominently displayed in the backdrop.
Congress Working Committee member Shashi Tharoor MP was also in attendance, underscoring the party’s dedication to expressing solidarity with Palestine during these challenging times in the region.
Notably, the rally did not address or make any statements concerning Hamas, the militant group active in the Palestinian territories. The focus appeared to be on demonstrating the Congress party’s historical commitment to the Palestinian cause rather than delving into the complexities of the current geopolitical situation in the region.
Since the last couple of weeks, there was no confirmation about his participation. “Will he? Won’t he?” was the speculation among the media. It was in the wake of his statement, addressing an Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) rally, that the ‘October 7 attack’ on Israel was a ‘terrorist strike’. The comment immediately stirred a hornets’ nest among the pro-Palestine (and Hamas) and anti-Israel groups. That is, all political combinations except the RSS, BJP, and other Sangh-inspired organisations. The CPM, as usual, highlighted their commitment to Palestine by blaming Tharoor for failing to admit that Israel was a terrorist nation. A CPM leader blamed Tharoor for delivering a pro-Israeli speech at the expense of IUML.
By this time, Left activists and pro-Hamas groups beefed up their attacks against Tharoor. Social media was used abundantly in the cyber war. When the attack gathered momentum day by day, Tharoor came out with a clarification. He stated that he was always with the Palestinians, and he countered that the allegations against them were based on one sentence from his speech at the IUML rally.
However, Tharoor did not withdraw his ‘October 7 attack’ speech when addressed the Congress rally in Kozhikode.
The entire show looked like the launch of a pre-LS poll campaign. AICC General Secretary K.C. Venugopal referred to his party’s stand in Palestine issue. He recalled Bharat’s pro-Palestine stand since the days of Mahatma Gandhiji, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajeev Gandhi. He blamed that a change took place during the regime of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He added that total change took place when Narendra Modi took over.
But, AICC leader conveniently forgot the following time sheet from history:
■ 1962: PM Nehru wrote to Israeli PM Ben Gurion requesting arms and ammunition supplies during the Chinese attack. Israel’s response later became the basis for defence ties between the two countries.
■ 1977: Foreign minister Moshe Dayan visited Bharat, and met the then prime minister Morarji Desai
■ 1992: Diplomatic ties between Bharat and Israel were formally established by the Narasimha Rao-led Congress government. Israel opened its embassy in New Delhi in February, marking the beginning of a new relationship between the two countries.
■ May 1992: Bharat opened its embassy in Tel Aviv.
■ 1996: Bharat acquired 32 IAI Searcher unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Israel.
■ December 1997: Israeli President Ezer Weizman led a 24-member business delegation to Bharat. Weizman was the first Israeli head of state to visit Bharat. He finalised a weapons deal involving the purchase of the Barak-1 vertically-launched surface-to-air missiles.
An undisputed fact remains that no BJP Prime Minister ruled the country during the aforementioned years.
Most speakers in the Congress rally chose to criticise CPM for their alleged attempts to woo minorities and IUML.
Congress heaved a sigh of relief when IUML state president Panakkad Syed Sadikali Shihab Thangal, the chief guest of the programme, highlighted his party’s strong bond with Congress; it will continue in the future also. He said that political standing is important for them. IUML national general secretary P.K. Kunajalikkutty echoed Thangal’s stand. Syed Mohammed Jifri Muthukoya Thangal, president of Samastha Kerala Jemiyyathul Ulama, called on Congress to get ready for Lok Sabha polls. KPCC president K. Sudhakaran and former presidents Ramesh Chennithala and K. Muraleedharan were present too.
In short, the Congress rally turned to be a venue to assert that IUML is still with them, not going with ruling CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF). What else ? None knows.
And, every speaker made sure that nothing would be said about the terrorism of Hamas.