(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has been forced to cut short his program on the last day of his Palestine visit amid protests by a group of Palestinian students. They were protesting against India’s growing engagement with Israel.
As luck would have it, the President had inaugurated India-Palestine Centre of Excellence in ICT in the Al Quds University just before being hit by this protest. The President told the gathering of India’s long-standing commitment to the cause of Palestine He emphasized that one of the purposes of his visit was to suggest a framework for the future encompassing closer political interaction, deeper economic engagement and academic collaboration and wider cultural contacts and people to people exchanges.
Do Israelis protest like this against India’s engagement with Palestine?
It is the reality that India needs Israel for various reasons. Palestine is of no use for India. Yet Indian leadership extends the hand of friendship to Palestine. Palestinians should appreciate this gesture by Indian leadership.
We have no doubt that blind opposition to Israel and Israelis is a new form of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is a hate crime. We express disapproval of any form of anti-Semitism. We support Israel-India friendship. This friendship should never be sacrificed just to give pleasure to a few anti-Semites.