Bangladeshi newspaper's conspiracy theories against Israel

As massive atrocities are being implemented against the Hindu minority in Bangladesh, a Bangladeshi newspaper is spreading anti-Israel conspiracy theories, thus offering a justification for wanton violence against Bangladesh’s minorities.  

Tags: Bangladesh
Rachel Avraham

OpEds Rachel Avraham
Rachel Avraham

As massive atrocities are being implemented against the Hindu minority in Bangladesh, a Bangladeshi newspaper is spreading anti-Israel and anti-minority conspiracy theories, thus offering a justification for such wanton violence against Bangladesh’s minorities.  

In recent days, the Hindu community in Bangladesh has been suffering from massive atrocities. A mob of 20,000 Islamists burned down and looted 30 Hindu homes in a village in Rangapur’s Thakurbari while the Bangladeshi government stood by and watched.  As Mendi Safadi, who heads the Safadi Center for International Relations and Public Diplomacy, proclaimed, “They are totally without shelter in their own land. The Bangladeshi government is unable to save the peaceful Hindu minority because they are busy crying for the Rohingya Muslims. A sad picture when the UN and the Human Rights Council have as of yet to respond to the crimes of the Sheikh Hasina government.”

This crime against humanity was blamed upon Titu Roy, a Hindu who was arrested for allegedly writing a Facebook post criticizing the Prophet Muhammed. However, sources inside Bangladesh confirmed that the post was actually written by someone who created a fake Facebook account using his name and Roy is innocent. This incident occurred around the same period of time that Bangladesh’s Hindu Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha was forced to resign for opposing Article 16 of the Bangladeshi Constitution due to its anti-democratic nature.  It also happened as Bangladeshi opposition leader Aslam Chowdhury, who in the past was arrested for meeting Israeli diplomat Mendi Safadi, was interrogated. 

Minority political leader Mithun Chowdhury and Hindu rights activists Kartik Krishno Roy were also reportedly arrested, although the Bangladeshi government denies these claims.  4 Chhatra League leaders who are tied to the student body of the ruling Awami League government stand accused of gang raping and murdering a minority girl, who was found dead in a pond.  Meanwhile, Shipan Kumer Basu, the head of the Hindu Struggle Committee, added, “Another school teacher’s family in Bhola district is being attacked by government activists.  The government has taken a move to oppress all of the minorities and opposition people.”

The question remains, what excuse has Bangladesh provided for all of these atrocities?   According to the Diganta Barta 24 news website, who published an anti-Israel and anti-minorities article before the arson attack targeting 30 Hindu homes, “Israel is conspiring to destroy the independence of Bangladesh! They are dreaming to divide this country into a separate state with minorities.  Meanwhile, Mossad agent Mendi Safadi has spread his conspiracy far and wide.  Mendi started to work with extremist Hindus and tribes living in Bangladesh long ago.  Already sitting in India, the Hindu leaders of the country Mithun Chowdhury and many others had a meeting with the Mossad agent Mendi Safadi.  On October 12th, they announced that they will not give up on the freedom of minorities in Bangladesh.”

However, the Digunta Barta 24 news website was even more dismayed by Israeli support for the Kurds: “The worst thing is that Israel is comparing Bangladesh’s issue with the independence of Kurdistan.  Only the Israelis are in favor of the referendum or independence of the Kurds. But why is Israel so interested in the Kurds although Israel has never agreed to accept the Palestinian people’s independence or the claim of freedom of any nation?  Geographical politics is important to the country.  Israel itself is a racially hostile state that survives on military power.  They need the closest trusted friends.  That’s why they are working for the freedom of the Kurds.  Israel aims to keep the oil supply safe in Kurdistan. Israel receives 77 percent of its essential oil from Kurdistan, which is very important for the country.  Israel believes that if Kurdistan is independent, Israel’s army will be able to stand in Kurdistan.  If Israeli troops enter Kurdistan, they will be able to find ways to deal with Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria on the ground.   Analysts believe that Israel is moving slowly according to these plans.  In the same way, Israel has made a policy decision to overthrow the Bangladeshi government, with a Mossad agent running anti-Bangladesh activities in India.” 

All of the claims in this article are a far cry from the truth.  For starters, Israel is not a racially hostile state.  It is the Middle East’s only democracy, who respects women’s rights, minority rights and human rights as a matter of principle. Israel was the first country to recognize Bangladeshi independence from Pakistan and even provided the Bangladeshis with assistance during their war of independence.  It was the Bangladeshis themselves who refused to accept Israeli recognition in the name of solidarity with the Palestinians.  Second of all, the Israeli government has not taken any position in favor of overthrowing the present Bangladeshi government. 

Although Mendi Safadi is Israeli Communication Minister Ayoob Kara’s former Chief of Staff, he presently is working independent of the Israeli government as an international lobbyist, who has his own advocacy organization.   He never was a Mossad agent and he never represented the Israeli government’s position in his work as an international lobbyist.  And lastly, the Hindus that Safadi works with including Mithun Chowdhury merely want a political voice for the minorities in a democratic Bangladesh.  They are not extremists by any stretch of the imagination.  

Regarding the other claims about Israel, they are simply not true.  To the contrary of the claims put forward in this article, Israel said many times that they are willing to recognize a Palestinian state so long as they accept the idea of a Jewish state.  Netanyahu has begged Abu Mazen to sit down and negotiate with him numerous times.  It is the Palestinians who refuse to recognize the right of a Jewish state to exist under any borders.  In fact, Israel is on record recognizing the rights of many nations to obtain independence and not only the Kurds.  South Sudan and the Czech Republic are other examples. 

While it is true that Israel benefits from Kurdistan’s oil and hopes that an independent Kurdistan will be a strategic asset for the Jewish state in confronting Iran, Iraq and Syria (not Turkey for the country has diplomatic relations with Israel and thus is not an enemy state), this is not the main reason why Israelis support an independent Kurdistan.  Israelis support an independent Kurdistan for the Kurds are the largest nation in the Middle East without a country of their own.  Even though they have their own unique language, culture and history, they have been denied a right that has been granted to most other peoples in the world. 

Aside from this fact, an independent Kurdistan will empower human rights, women’s rights, minority rights and tolerance in a region otherwise plagued by bloodshed, war and terror.  Therefore, as the Middle East’s only democracy, it only makes sense that we want another democratic state to be established in our region.  And no, the Bangladesh and Kurdish situations are very much different.  While of course many Israelis will be happy if Bangladeshi democracy is restored, the minorities are granted equal rights and a more friendly Bangladeshi government comes to power, the mere demographics in the country eliminate the possibility of the minorities seceding like the Kurds aim to do.   The Bangladeshi minorities merely want to receive equal rights in a democratic and pluralistic Bangladesh.  Nothing more and nothing less.  And many Israelis will support them in this endeavor despite all of the hostile rhetoric directed at us.  

Rachel Avraham is a senior media research analyst at the Center for Near East Policy Research and a correspondent at the Israel Resource News Agency.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab media.”