Hostile Homelands: The new Alliance between India and Israel by Azad Essa

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According to the demographic data, published in worldoMeter India’s population is 1.417 billion at the end of 2022. India is an ethnically diversified and culturally rich country with Muslims as the largest minority of the country. The Muslims professing Islam in majority are in Lakshadweep and Jammu and Kashmir. The percentage of Muslims is sizable in Assam(34.22%), West Bengal(27.01%), Kerela(26.56%), Uttar Pradesh(19.26%), and Bihar(16.87%). According to the current data, approx 21 crores or 15% of the total population are Muslims in India. Contemporary Muslims in India are facing a series of systematic persecution and atrocities from the RSS-backed BJP government. Under Narendra Modi, India has changed dramatically as the world attempts to grapple with its trajectory towards authoritarianism and a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ (Hindu State), Little attention has been paid to the linkages between Modi’s India and the governments from which it has drawn inspiration, as well as military and technical support.

India once called Zionism as racism, but, as Azad Essa argues, the state of Israel has increasingly become a cornerstone of India’s foreign policy. Looking to replicate the ‘ethnic state’ in the image of Israel in policy and practice, the annexation of Kashmir increasingly resembles Israel’s settler-colonial project of the occupied West Bank. The ideological and political linkages between the two states are alarming; their brands of ethnonationalism are deeply intertwined.

Hostile Homelands puts India’s relationship with Israel in its historical context, looking at the origins of Zionism and Hindutva; India’s changing position on Palestine; and the countries’ growing military-industrial relationship from the 1990s. Lucid and persuasive, Essa demonstrates that the India-Israel alliance spells significant consequences for democracy, the rule of law, and justice worldwide.

The book is not just for those who are following the rise of authoritarianism in India but also for those who are interested in understanding how both countries are exporting a militaristic, surveillance state elsewhere.

It follows how and when the two countries became closer, following liberalization in India in the 1980s and since then the bromance between Netanyahu and Modi began in 2014.

It also shows how India became the biggest buyer of Israeli arms, using its relationship to get closer to the US. It tracks the historical kinship between Hindutva and Zionism and the emerging ties between the pro-Israel and pro-India lobbies in the US.

Reviews from renowned human rights activists and authors:

“A valuable study, with rich insights” -Noam Chomsky
“Brilliant and courageous” – Cornel West
“An Intellectual Tour De Force” -Jasbir Puar
“A call for Global solidarity” – Ronnie Kasrils

‘Hostile Homelands’ quest is formidable and timely. Azad Esa lays bare the historically malignant roots of an often overlooked and underestimated kinship between two ideologies-Zionism and Hindutva-hungry for land and hungrier for dominance.
– Mohammad El Kurd, author of RIFQA

For decades, India’s leaders spoke in hushed tones about their relationship with Israel. Azad ESA’s thoroughly researched and crisply-written Hostile Homelands reveals the long history of their alliance and shows how it is built on shared supremacist ideological projects whose devastating and inhumane consequences are borne by Palestinians and Kashmiris living under occupations. This is an essential must-read book.
-Mohammad Junaid, Anthropologist, and Kashmiri writer.-

About the author:
Azad Essa is a South African journalist based between Johannesburg and New York. His work focuses on the intersectionality of race, Islamophobia, and US foreign policy. He is the author of Hostile Homelands: The New Alliance Between India and Israel (Pluto Press)


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