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The Hindu nationalists using the pro-Israel playbook

TJI Pick
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The Hindu nationalists using the pro-Israel playbook

Published: 4 July 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

Hindu-American organisations are advancing a concept of “Hinduphobia” inspired by Jewish groups that cast criticism of Israel as antisemitism

Every August, the township of Edison, New Jersey — where one in five residents is of Indian origin — holds a parade to celebrate India’s Independence Day. In 2022, a long line of floats rolled through the streets, decked out in images of Hindu deities and colourful advertisements for local businesses.

 In the middle of the procession came another kind of vehicle: A wheel loader, which looks like a small bulldozer, rumbled along the route bearing an image of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi aloft in its bucket.

For South Asian Muslims, the meaning of the addition was hard to miss. A few months earlier, during the month of Ramadan, Indian government officials had sent bulldozers into Delhi’s Muslim neighbourhoods, where they damaged a mosque and leveled homes and storefronts. The Washington Post called the bulldozer “a polarising symbol of state power under Narendra Modi,” whose ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is increasingly enacting a program of Hindu supremacy and Muslim subjugation. In September, the Teaneck Democratic Municipal Committee, a local wing of the New Jersey Democratic Party, passed a resolution condemning the event and calling for a crackdown on what they described as Hindu nationalist groups’ operations in the state.

But soon after the Teaneck resolution was adopted, nearly 60 Hindu-American groups released a statement that shifted the conversation away from rising Hindu nationalism toward fears of Hindu victimisation. A couple of weeks later, Hindu activists sponsored ten billboards in north and central New Jersey calling on Democrats to, “Stop bigotry against Hindu Americans.”

The Teaneck incident is one of many in which Hindu groups have worked to silence criticism of Hindu nationalism by decrying it as anti-Hindu or “Hinduphobic.”


The Hindu nationalists using the pro-Israel playbook (Jewish Currents)

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The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

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