"A lot of controversy has arisen regarding Mr.Shashi Tharoor’s article titled “India's Israel envy”, which was also published under the title “India longs to follow Israeli path of reprisal”, a title that Mr.Tharoor himself has had no reservations about" Writes N D Jayaprakash
A lot of controversy has arisen regarding Mr.Shashi Tharoor’s article titled “India's Israel envy”, which was also published under the title “India longs to follow Israeli path of reprisal”, a title that Mr.Tharoor himself has had no reservations about. The article with the latter title was published in “The Australian” dated 19.01.2009 and is proudly displayed on Mr.Tharoor’s website http://www.shashitharoor.com/
According to Mr.Tharoor, his article was first published on 08.01.2009 in “The Daily Star” from Lebanon. However, when the article got published in “The Australian”, its title was changed. The same was then reproduced in the Huffigton Post, an Internet newsletter published from New York.
“I am just in disbelief how you possibly connect the dots on this one. The Palestinian people have been living in concentration camps for 60+ years. They are a people living in a cage, not even given the basic necessities of life like food and water, and faced with humiliation and indignation on a daily basis. This after they were pushed from their homes and businesses to make way for a country based on a racist notion that you must be Jewish to matter.
It is an embarassment to India to suggest that they look to Israel's actions with jealousy. So India is jealous of the Zionist genocide and holocaust, as accused by organizations as reputable as the United Nations? How shameful. It is almost as bad as the Zionists who took a picnic basket to a hilltop on the border of Israel and Palestine so that they could witness the slaughter.
Is that was India aspires to?”
By ENDtheGENOCIDE, Posted 08:34 PM on 01/20/2009
The article again appeared in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on 23.01.2009 under the title “India’s Israel Envy”, [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/
 Title: Envy?
“Great ... now we have another country with nuclear weapons ostensibly wishing it could "go wild"! ... or at least in this writers eyes. This right-wing reactionary, knee-jerk thinking really has to stop. GW Bush with his pistol packin` six-shooters has left the building. It`s time for dialogue and change - not a continuation of "Bring `em on"! If you (Shashi) are going to take the time to put pen to paper then please engage the brain next time. We need to wade OUT of the doo-doo ... not deeper into it.” Philip Craig, Canada, 23.1.2009
 Title: India Does Not Envy Israel
“Israel has no equal in today`s world. The only country in the world that ignores UN resolutions, attack UN buildings, kill innocent civilians, occupy another people`s land and treat them with no equality. India does not envy any of that.” Alan, Australia, 23.01.2009
 Title: No Envy, Just Arrogance
“Shashi Tharoor analysis is cock-eyed. Israel is an occupying force and has defied over 60 UN resolutions. It treats Palestinians as sub humans. Worst than Apartheid (according to Desmond Tutu). He fails to mention that Israel has just slaughtered over 1300 civilians and has been accused for possible war crimes by UN officials.” AM, London, 23.01.2009
 Title: Heavens Forbid!
“I generally don`t trust the Indian government much, but at least in case of the Mumbai attacks, it behaved sanely (so far), trying to get international support/consensus instead of whipping up war hysteria. I was hoping this might be something to emulate, but this article suggests that the need of the hour is to undermine the UN and other international institutions! Perhaps for the Indian elite, human rights and justice are excess baggage to be shed quickly in its march to prosperity.” MK, Toronto, 23.01.2009
 Title: The Author Struggled to Make up a Story of This Kind
“India and Indians never equated the Perptrators of the Hotel attacks with Hamas, a democratically elected body that struggles against occupation. Indians and India truly support the Palestinian rights in Palestine (both establishment of a sovereign state and the return or compensation of the refugees). India will ultimately be amongst the first to recognize a new sovereign Palestinian Republic.” Monitor, 23.01.2009
 Title: India Needs to Use Israeli Tactics
“Even more than emulating Israel`s tactics, India needs to spend billions on Israeli weaponry. They should make the aquisition of phosphorus munitions their first priority. That way India can rain death down upon those pesky Muslims. They should also complete the ethnic cleansing of India`s 150 million Muslims begun after independence... after all they reproduce so quickly. Wow! India and Israel really do have a lot in common.” Alex, Toronto, 23.01.2009
 Title: Tharoor`s wanna-do Israeli-style psychopathology!
“Thank "Yahweh" that India did not follow Israel`s war-criminal assault on a defenseless population on the pretext of going after Hamas. Thank "Yahweh" that India did not attack U.N. buildings and schools with depleted uranium and white phosphorus. Thank "Yahweh" that India did not follow Israel`s barbaric example!” Genocidetracker, 23.01.2009
 Title: Only Psychopaths....
“Only psychopaths envy and support the repulsive actions of other psychopath(s). For thousand of years India has been the birth place and the spiritual center of enlightenment. Only in the sick mind of the Zionists` school that it`s OK to commit outrageous atrocities toward hopeless population, and in the same time to pretend to be the victims. It`s a phenomenon that only exists in Israel. The whole world is baffled about how you do it. what happened to the human compassion??” Ziad, Lebanon, 23.01.2009
AND THE BOUQUETS…
 Title: Quite True
“Quite, true. Shashi Tharoor courageously laid bare the real sentiments of Indian public. There were always a deep admiration for Israel`s courage, audacity and technological achieve for a state of that size caught between the devil and the deep sea. But, the parallel of contrast we see between operation in Gaza and our govt`s inaction..the admiration for Israel have now turned to jealousy.” Jay, Kochi, 23.01.2009
 Title: India, like the European Union, is Just Another Softie
“India is just a "flower child" softie just like European nations that have hidden behind U.S.A umbrella and never fight back. Israel has proven again what a real nation should do to protect its own. Courage is Israel`s greatest asset as a nation. Terrorism will exist as long as the majority of the world nations continue to be just plain cowards. Add the Hamas as a new softie for not facing Israel and hiding behind their women`s skirts and their children`s toys.” Carlos Paulino, Santo Domingo, 23.01.2009
In the face of such bouquets and brickbats, Mr.Tharoor, could not but write another article apologising to his readers for the confusion he had created in their minds. Under the title “Apologia”, this is what he said:
Instead of an article this week, I'm issuing an apologia.
Several of you have written to me in response to my last column, syndicated around the world by Project Syndicate, which appeared under various titles written by assorted editors, including "India's Israel envy". Many of you have read my article as endorsing Israel's military campaign in Gaza and deplored the article's apparent indifference to the humanitarian tragedy that followed.
I regret the misunderstanding of the intent and thrust of the piece, which was not written as a commentary on the conflict in Gaza. When I wrote the article I was thinking only about india/pakistan - the assault on Gaza had just begun when I put my fingers to the keyboard….. But in any case the article says India cannot, should not and would not do what Israel has done.”
Shashi Tharoor, Posted January 27, 2009 | 10:41 AM (EST) [The full article can be accessed at the following website:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
The fact that Mr.Tharoor had to issue an “Apologia” is sufficient proof that he had managed to confuse his readers – both supporters as well as opponents – regarding the intent and purpose of his article. A casual reading of his original article can, indeed, provoke the kind of sentiments it has. At the same time, Mr.Tharoor cannot get away by just saying that: “When I wrote the article I was thinking only about india/Pakistan.” In his defence, Mr.Tharoor further says that: “But in any case the article says India cannot, should not and would not do what Israel has done.”
No Mr.Tharoor, your explanations are hardly satisfactory; you are merely trying to dodge the issue. Warning India not to emulate Israel is fine. However, the question is, is there any justification for what Israel has done? You have completely evaded that question; it is taken for granted that what Israel has done and what it is continuing to do is right and justifiable. All you have tried to say was that India cannot afford to act in such reckless manner because Pakistan has nuclear weapons. In fact, the very title of your article is a giveaway! Whether you call it “India’s Israel Envy” or “India longs to follow Israeli path of reprisal”, the hidden justifications for Israel’s disproportionate use of force are ingrained into it.
In your “Apologia”, you have further stated as follows:
“The purpose of the column was to reflect - and deflect - some of the calls for military action that have enveloped middle-class India (and that will certainly explode if there is another terrorist attack of comparable scale). Anyone who has followed the public debate in India will confirm that I was amongst the first voices arguing against even limited "surgical" strikes on Pakistan, which many in the Indian media (and voluble members of the public) were calling for. Using the Israel parallel - at a time when my email inbox was brimming with messages of the "why can't we do the same as Israel?" variety - was just a way of bringing greater attention onto India's dilemma and its anguish, while arguing that there is no "Gaza option" for India.”
Indeed, Mr.Tharoor, it was very considerate of you to argue that: “there is no ‘Gaza option’ for India”. However, what prevented you from examining whether the “Gaza option” was right for Israel? What prevented you from trying to explain why we can't “do the same as Israel"? You have merely said that we should not do what Israel did. You have not attempted to explain WHY we should not do what Israel did. Therefore, whether by intent or by default what comes across is that, while you are supportive of Israel’s aggressive actions, in your considered view, you would not want India to act in similar belligerent fashion.
You have also stated in your “Apologia” as follows:
“Obviously I had no sense at the time of writing of the scale of the israeli action that was to follow and the toll that would be taken in civilian lives…. Of course I should have realized that using an unfolding event as a peg would make my argument hostage to the way that situation evolved. Inevitably, some readers would judge the article in the light of what has happened in the two weeks after I wrote it. Had Israel taken out a few rocket sites and withdrawn in 3 or 4 days, as I had expected, perhaps the analogy would have seemed less offensive.”
Mr.Tharoor, you claim that you began to write your article around 29.12.2008, i.e., two days after Israel’s renewed assault on Gaza began and that you did not anticipate the scale of Israel’s action. However, if it had lasted just 3 or 4 days, you would not have had any problems with that. This is where you mislead your readers, Mr.Tharoor either through your naivety or by deliberately distorting history although you claim that: “the article was always meant to be more about India's options than about Israel's actions.”
When you are making analogies about India’s options with Israel’s actions, how could you remain silent about the nature of the Israeli State? When you had taken on the task of explaining as to "why can't we do the same as Israel?", the nature of the Israeli State had to be central to such an explanation. The problem was not that the Israeli offensive, instead of 3 or 4 days, lasted three weeks because the problem did not begin at the end of 2008; it has been there all along since 1948. Either by oversight or by design, you appear as an apologist for the heinous crimes that Israel has been committing for the last 60 years or more. You are openly claiming that you did not have any problem if the Israeli offensive in Gaza had lasted just 3 or 4 days! You are trying to justify that on the ground that the offensive was only intended to destroy the missile bases of Hamas.
Have you tried to find out how much damage the so-called 6000 missiles fired by Hamas has actually caused in terms of human lives and property damage? It is also quite possible that all those missiles that were fired by Hamas fell within areas occupied by Israel. [Area under Palestinian control in West Bank and Gaza has considerably shrunk since 1948.] Then such missile attacks would only amount to defensive action and could be considered as a legitimate way to defend one’s territory. If that is the case, how could you find fault with Hamas? [Please let me make it clear that I am not in any way trying to justify missile attacks or suicide bombings against innocent Israeli civilians.]
Interestingly, you have used two phrases in your main article, namely, “across its [Israel’s] border” and “on its [Israel’s] soil”. Could you please explain to your readers where exactly is the border between Israel and Palestine and where exactly lies the soil of Israel? Indeed, this has been the bone of contention between Israel and Palestine: the problem has been that whereas Israel’s borders have been progressively expanding ever since 1948, Palestine’s borders have been steadily shrinking since 1948 with the uprooted Palestinians forced to seek refuge elsewhere. Yes, these issues should be resolved through discussions and negotiations. But the so-called Quartet, in which you repose so much faith, is a highly questionable body. It is nothing but a private club set up by USA and Israel to sideline the UN. You yourself have admitted as follows:
“For a long time, the Middle East was seen as a UN problem…. After that , both parties (Israel and Palestine) seemed to think that only the Americans could deal with the issue, so the UN then was seen as irrelevant. And frankly, the fact that the General Assembly was passing resolutions so critical of one side (the Israelis) meant that we were no longer seen as a credible mediator by the Israelis…. Now the road map is endorsed by what is known as the ‘quartet’ — which includes the UN secretary general, the EU commissioner for foreign policy, the US secretary of state and the Russian foreign minister.” [Excerpts from “An Interview with UN Under Secy General” by Mayank ShekharMid-day.com, Mumbai, India, 07.9.2003
Therefore, there is little doubt that it was for perpetuating the interests of Israel that the Quartet was set up. Because the UN General Assembly was highly critical of the illegitimate activities of Israel, the UN General Assembly had to be sidelined! Mr.Tharoor does not want to admit that the UN began to be considered as an adjunct of the U.S. after the USSR committed hara-kiri and as a result the Palestinian leadership was arm-twisted into working with the so-called Quartet. The first item in the so-called Road Map is for the Palestinian people to earn certificate of good-conduct from the Quartet. On the other hand, there is no attempt at examining the nature of the Israeli State, which would be crucial in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli imbroglio. In this context, there is lot to be learnt from the protest letter that was published in the New York Times on 04.12.1948.
Several eminent intellectuals especially of Jewish origin, including the noted scientist Albert Einstein, had protested against the visit of Menachem Begin (head of the Zionist terrorist gang “Irgun Zvai Leumi”), while he was in the United States in 1948 on a fund raising campaign, for his role in the Deir Yassin massacre. In their protest letter, they did not mince words while urging the citizens of the United States of America not to support Begin or the fascist political movement he represented. The letter stated as follows:
"Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created State of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine. ...Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions...the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr.Begin's and his movement. ...Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state."
"A shocking example was their behaviour in the Arab village of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands which wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9  (THE NEW YORK TIMES) terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, killed most of its inhabitants--240 men, women and children--and kept a few of them alive to parade them as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdulla of Transjordan. But the terrorists far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicised it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin. The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character of the Freedom Party."
"It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has refused to campaign against Begin's efforts, or to even expose to its own constituents the dangers to Israel from support to Begin...."
"The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism. "
[It is the same fascist Freedom Party that later re-emerged as the Likud Party. Benjamin Netanyahu, the present Prime Minister of Israel, who assumed office on 31.3.2009, is a member of the Likud Party.]
The international media has been consistently concealing the fascist nature of the Israeli State. Instead, it has been desperately trying to portray the Palestinians as terrorists. Mr.Tharoor was with the UN for 28 years, and, therefore, he cannot be unaware of the real nature of the Israeli State. Also, while he claims to have been “a close personal friend” of Yasser Arafat, the very name Yasser Arafat cannot be found anywhere on Mr.Tharoor’s website, despite the fact that Mr.Tharoor has been a prolific writer and has taken the trouble to put up all his prominent articles there. The absence of any reference to Yasser Arafat is also an indication of the level of concern he has had for the Palestinian people and their just cause although Mr.Tharoor claims that he has “done more than any other Malayali of my generation for the Palestine cause", as reported in India Today, 01.4.2009.