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December 24, 2014 3:53 pm

Speculation Growing Over India’s Potential Pro-Israel Shift at UN

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is considering a major shift in his country's policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Photo: Twitter

Speculation that India may end a half-century long pattern of voting against Israel at UN bodies is reaching a feverish pitch, following reports this week that the Palestinians can no longer automatically count on New Delhi’s support.

In what The Hindu newspaper described as a potential “tectonic shift in the country’s foreign policy,” the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the head of the Hindu nationalist BJP party which triumphed in India’s election last May, is deliberating over whether to take a more even-handed stance towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Modi visited Israel in 2006 and enjoys a warm relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Two sources within the government confirmed to The Hindu that the change, which will be a fundamental departure from India’s support to the cause of a Palestinian state, was under consideration.

“Like other foreign policy issues, the Modi government is looking at India’s voting record at the United Nations on the Palestinian issue,” a government source told The Hindu. The change only needs an administrative nod, the second source said.

“India’s stance at the UN has been an irritant in Indo-Israeli relations, with Tel Aviv frustrated that close bonds had not resulted in any change in the stance on Palestine,” the paper noted.

Leading American columnist Seth Lipsky said in an opinion piece for Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that “If India follows through at the United Nations, it would be a once-unimaginable development, at least for those of us who covered the debates on the Third World during the Cold War.

“Fidel Castro of Cuba was one of the Non-Aligned Movement’s tribunes, and Palestine has been a member of the movement since 1976,” Lipsky wrote. “India, by virtue of its vast size and the liveliness of its multi-party democracy and free press, was by far its most credible leading member. It had outsized prestige in the decolonizing world because of Gandhi and the way it gained independence from Britain. But since the collapse of the Soviet regime, the Non-Aligned Movement has lacked a logical raison d’etre. India’s shift on Palestine could spell its doom.”

Lipsky concluded, “From here in New York, however, the bilateral breakthrough that is taking place between Israel and India appears less important than the big picture. It is a reminder that in a time of American retreat and growing hostility in Europe, there are other options for Israel.”

A UN observer in Geneva was less sanguine about the prospects of a change in a conversation with The Algemeiner, during which he pointed out that there are many countries, among them China, that have close economic and trade ties with Israel, yet vote against the Jewish state at the UN.

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  • Yale

    A shift by India may provide a signal to other Third World countries that “Palestine” should no longer be regarded as a litmus test for their loyalty to the bloc. Others may follow, and that might reorient the UN back toward its original purpose, i.e., being a forum in which states can work out heir differences in a reasoned manner.

  • Joel

    India has growing bilateral trade with Israel in terms of advanced weaponry. It also has mutual interests and concerns in certain High-tech industries including IT and medical science.

    India has a huge Muslim problem, which is only beginning to emerge, but is sure to go hyper when India and Pakistan enter into another round of conflict. On balance, India has no reason to maintain an arms length UN relationship with Israel. Palestine almost certainly will be a radical Muslim state and cannot possibly be of any benefit to India anytime in the foreseeable future.

    • David Schalit

      You need to get off the crack!

      • David Schalit

        That was meant for Yale. ^

  • Jonah Lissner

    This is the way for all Afroasiatic peoples to build a strong alliance and be a unified world force. With Israel, India, Ethiopia, Southeast Asia, Oceania and other nonaligned nations that are neither represented by the West, Rome nor Mecca. Let us rebuild the Benevolent Empire of Solomon, Ashoka, Thailand, and the Aboriginal peoples of Africa and Asia.

    • Sam

      India is not a Afroasiatic country. It has 85-90 percent caucasian, 5 percent negroid and remaining asian. India hi tech sector, military and scientific achievements from its very inception have been recognised with its soft power in America and other western nation. Indian Americans are the highest earners with average income of 880000 dollars so do not compare India with rest of Asia and Africa. Only the congress political party has shackled India growth inspite of which we were able to move forward without government aid. The current regime is not only development oriented but also has a strategic vision which is not to that of a Junior partner but only an equal partner with America. It is likely to become the largest economy by 2050 with 85 trillion dollar PPP. It is the third largest economy by same PPP comparison at 7.9 or 8 trillion dollars and tenth largest by nominal gdp

  • Israel, despite its many, many challenges must forge ahead and continue being a light unto the world while defending itself politically but equally as important, militarily. As is the case of India, more and more nations will recognize their lot would be much more improved siding with the Jewish state than her barbaric enemies.

  • Carlos de Souza

    INDIA should have openly backed Israel a long time back.

    Unfortunately, the task falls to a Hindutva proponent, not very different in character to the fanatical Islamists that Israel dislikes for good reason.

  • Ashok Malhotra

    ….and I had / have always wondered when the change would take place !

  • steven L

    Reason must prevail over blind and genocidal ideology.
    Amazingly as long as India supports the Palestinian cause, India is great. Once India change her stand, India is not great anymore. This confirms the perversion of blind and systematic double standard.

  • Leo Toystory

    As long as India and China buy oil from the Middle East
    one ought not expect much change in this respect.

  • Arthur H

    Make no mistake, if there’s a shift in India’s policy, though nice to see, its anti-Muslim not pro-Netanyahu, whom by the way I bumped into at Le Caprice in London several years ago, between his stints as PM, eating traif, and not wearing his yarmulke. Oiy Veh!

  • In the entire debate now taking place on whether the United Nations Security Council or General Assembly has the right to approve the application of the “Palestinian Authority” to be recognized as a new member state of the UN, almost no mention is made of the legal fact that the UN itself is barred by its own Charter from acting upon or approving such an application. The reference here is, of course, to Article 80 of the UN Charter, once known unofficially as the Jewish People’s clause, which preserves intact all the rights granted to Jews under the Mandate for Palestine, even after the Mandate’s expiry on May 14-15, 1948. Under this provision of international law (the Charter is an international treaty), Jewish rights to Palestine and the Land of Israel were not to be altered in any way unless there had been an intervening trusteeship agreement between the states or parties concerned, which would have converted the Mandate into a trusteeship or trust territory. The only period of time such an agreement could have been concluded under Chapter 12 of the UN Charter was during the three-year period from October 24, 1945, the date the Charter entered into force after appropriate ratifications, until May 14-15, 1948, the date the Mandate expired and the State of Israel was proclaimed. Since no agreement of this type was made during this relevant three-year period, in which Jewish rights to all of Palestine may conceivably have been altered had Palestine been converted into a trust territory, those Jewish rights that had existed under the Mandate remained in full force and effect, to which the UN is still committed by Article 80 to uphold, or is prohibited from altering.
    As a direct result of Article 80, the UN cannot transfer these rights over any part of Palestine, vested as they are in the Jewish People, to any non-Jewish entity, such as the “Palestinian Authority.” Among the most important of these Jewish rights are those contained in Article 6 of the Mandate which recognized the right of Jews to immigrate freely to the Land of Israel and to establish settlements thereon, rights which are fully protected by Article 80 of the UN Charter.
    It should be common knowledge that under the Mandate, all of Palestine was reserved exclusively for the establishment of the Jewish National Home and future independent Jewish State, as was previously decided at the San Remo Peace Conference that took place in April 1920. Or put another way, no part of Palestine was allotted for an Arab National Home or state, since Arab self-determination was being generously granted elsewhere – in Syria, Iraq, Arabia, Egypt and North Africa – which has led to the establishment of the 21 Arab states of today, over a vast land mass from the Persian Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean. There is thus no necessity for a new independent Arab State in the specific area of former Mandated Palestine reserved for Jewish self-determination, most particularly, in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Creating such a state out of Jewish land would be blatantly illegal under Article 80 of the UN Charter and beyond the legal authority of the UN itself.
    In this respect, neither the League of Nations nor its successor, the United Nations, ever had sovereign rights over the land we Jews call Eretz-Israel. As a non-sovereign, the UN has no power whatsoever to allot territory to the “Palestinian Authority” where the allotted territory already belongs to the Jewish People.
    Moreover, there is no article in the UN Charter which gives either the Security Council or the General Assembly or even the Trusteeship Council the power to create a new independent state. If the UN had such power, then logically it would also have the inverse power to “de-create” or dismember an existing state, a power it certainly does not enjoy under the UN Charter. If, theoretically speaking, this power did exist, the UN would be in effect a world legislature that could make or unmake states by its own volition, a power that would put in jeopardy the present world order.
    For the foregoing reasons, the bill introduced in the US Congress by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is definitely the proper course of action to follow. UN illegality needs to be roundly condemned and stopped dead in its tracks by an appropriate punitive measure, exactly as Ros-Lehtinen has proposed. Her bill would be even more worthy if it were to include a direct reference to Article 80 and to the fact that the UN has no legal power to create a state or to allot another state’s territory for that purpose, accomplished through the devious or underhanded means of accepting the applicant’s request for membership in the world body.

    • I observed the election in India when Modi came to power. India has a large uninformed uneducated populace…THe same corporate agenda controlling the media during the election cycle repeated ad naseum muckracking and character attacks…no issues with substance or economic stances were discussed. Just a steady stream of this candidate said this or that ..he or she should be summoned for offensive remarks…compared with us and canadian elections…id say India is still a generation from being considered a funtioning democracy…its really just a corporate police state pursuing a neoliberal agenda which is why Indias moral compass is being buried. As an Indan I took pride in being the country that isolated South Africa for its Apartheid Government. Gandhi lived in South Africa. For me it goes to the heart of creating a Meritocratic world society. look back at Gandhis words…he said of Palestine the Proud Arabs….some of the Zionist counsil wanted their own East India Company in Palestine…and they made fortunes from fleecing India of its wealth and produce.. .India can go along with Social Darwinisnm but its dissapointing…with so many Indian entrepeneurs and thinkers who believe in poverty programs…or a Gandhian ideal to achieve in reducing poverty in INdia and the World…well atleast India is still willingto sell cheaper generics….for now..the Security council doesnt need another neoliberal militarized corrupt police state…the people of the world dont need India anymore.