- The growing affinity—not just between the Indian and Israeli states, but between the Hindutva and Zionist ideologies that underpin the two far-right governments—have alarming real-world consequences.
Just over a week after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel that left 1,400 dead, sparking a brutal retaliation from Israel that has killed over 10,000 Palestinian men, women, and children and displaced more than a million, hundreds of people gathered at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar for a demonstration in solidarity with Palestine and to protest Israel’s 75-year-long occupation.
The authorities’ response was severe—dozens of demonstrators were arrested, bundled into police buses, and driven away. Similar scenes have played out across India in recent weeks, as protesters demanding a ceasefire in Gaza have repeatedly been targeted and harassed by the police — while pro-Israel demonstrations, largely led by Hindu nationalist groups aligned with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have been allowed to take place without issue. Hindu supremacist militias even gathered in front of the Israeli embassy in Delhi, pledging their support for a genocidal war and volunteering to enlist in the Israeli military.
This double standard speaks to a growing affinity—not just between the Indian and Israeli states, whose relationship has considerably deepened under the rule of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but between the Hindutva and Zionist ideologies that underpin the two far-right governments. At the core of this amity is a shared ethos of virulent Islamophobia, rooted in the belief that the bogeyman of ‘Islamic terrorism’ poses an existential threat to the project of maintaining Israel and India as a Jewish and Hindu ethnostate, respectively.
This ethos is best summed up by the words of Hindu nationalist ideologue and extremist priest Yati Narsinghanand, who has previously delivered speeches calling for a genocide of Indian Muslims and who recently released a video in which he expressed his intention to settle in Israel, declaring that Hindus and Jews “have the same enemy: Muhammad and his satanic book.” And with the work permits of thousands of Palestinians in Israel revoked amid the ongoing war, the Israeli Builder’s Association has asked India to send 50,000-100,000 migrant workers to replace them. In other words, India is helping Israel prepare for a world without Palestinians.
This affinity goes beyond ideological parallels or expressions of rhetorical support from political leaders—it has had alarming real-world consequences as well. Since the October 7 Hamas attack and the subsequent Israeli bombardment of Gaza began, social media sites have been flooded with disinformation, much of it riddled with Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian stereotypes, conspiracy theories, and hate speech.
Along with blaming Palestinians for atrocities that never happened, social media has also been inundated with what Washington Post columnist Ishaan Tharoor described as “bloodthirsty, genocidal comments,” including posts and memes poking fun at the suffering of Palestinian children.
Recent reports from international media outlets have revealed a surprising source for a great deal of this hate and disinformation—far-right, Hindu supremacist Internet troll farms based in India, including many that are directly affiliated with the BJP’s infamous ‘IT Cell’ online propaganda factory. These troll farms work overtime to generate massive quantities of fake news and hate content, which is then amplified by international hate networks—including those based in the United States, such as the Hindudvesha.org website run by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHP-A).
What is happening in Gaza is, as Holocaust scholar Raz Segal has put it, “a textbook case of genocide”—and this genocide is being fueled not only by material support from the United States but by the enormous quantities of hateful disinformation coming out of India. Indian Americans cannot afford to stand idly by. We have a dual responsibility to speak out—not just as Americans whose tax dollars are funding the genocidal bombardment of the world’s largest open-air prison, but as people of Indian origin, in whose name this violence is being fueled and facilitated. To remain silent is to be complicit.
The last several years have revealed the extent to which Indian Americans are a growing political force in the United States. Despite making up just 1 percent of the U.S. population, our community receives outsized attention from political parties and candidates vying for our support, and this attention is only going to grow as political polarization in this country deepens and elections become increasingly hard-fought. In other words, our collective voice as Indian Americans holds immense power. Our leaders have the power to stop this violence—and we have the power to make them listen to us. At the time of writing, more than 2,000 Indian Americans and counting have signed a petition calling for both an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and urgent action to curb the spread of hateful disinformation. Any Indian American who is serious about standing up for justice should do the same.
We cannot stay silent any longer. Now is the time for action.
Join the thousands of Indian Americans demanding a ceasefire in Gaza:
Pranay Somayajula is the Director of Research and Advocacy Campaigns for Hindus for Human Rights. He is a writer, researcher, and cultural critic whose work has appeared in The Drift, The Nation, Jacobin, and Electric Literature, among other outlets. He also runs the Substack blog culture shock, where he writes about everything from the climate crisis to South Asian diasporic identity.
Safa Ahmed is the Associate Director of Media & Communications for the Indian American Muslim Council. She is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Progressive Magazine and Al Jazeera.