Feroze Mithiborwala

Feroze Mithiborwala is an Indian activist who devotes his efforts principally to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Western imperialism in Asia. He is best known[citation needed] for having led a humanitarian convoy that travelled from India to Gaza in the winter of 2010–11.

Mithiborwala is one of the co-founders of the Global March to Jerusalem and heads the Indian branch. He is also the co-founder of the First Asian Convoy to Gaza. Mithiborwala is also the Convener of several organisations: International Affairs Committee of the National Alliance of People’s Movements, the Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan, and Bharat Bachao Andolan (Movement to Save India).[citation needed]

In his Twitter profile, he describes himself as being “Committed to the global struggle against Imperialism & Zionism & thus the freedom of Humanity."[1]

Activist backgroundEdit

Feroze Mithiborwala reports being involved in the Palestinian question since 1987 — even before the First Intifada. He was one of the only Indians from his generation to be involved.[citation needed] He describes himself as being "from the Gandhian, Left, Phule-Ambedakarite (the struggle of the oppressed lower and untouchable castes) and the stream of Liberation Theology."[2]

An active supporter of Palestinian statehood,[3] Mithiborwala has described Gaza as "a Nazi-prison-cum-concentration camp."[4]

He supports the "Resistance axis" led by the governments of Iran, Syria, the Lebanese national Resistance led by the Hezbollah, as well as the Palestinian Resistance, saying they are amongst the few countries in the West Asian region and across the world that resists Zionist Israel.[citation needed] He told members of the Iranian parliament in December 2010 that the people of the world would join together against an Israeli attack on Iran.[5]

Mithiborwala promoted himself as a committed activist for Muslim rights in Mumbai and co-founded an organisation called the Muslim Intellectual Forum.[citation needed] He is the president of Awami Bharat, an organisation which calls for dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims.[citation needed] On Jerusalem Day in Mumbai in 2010 he said that Indians needed to increase their solidarity with the Palestinians. He said that the Palestinian resistance was "the international avant garde" and the "Central geopolitical issue of our times" in the joint struggle against imperialism and Zionism."[6]

While in Beirut during the Second Lebanon War, Mithiborwala wrote a column about what he called Lebanon's "victory".[6]

Gaza convoyEdit

Mithiborwala was a co-organizer of a convoy of 120 people who travelled from India to Gaza in the winter of 2010–11, leaving India on 5 December 2010. Its stated purpose was to deliver humanitarian aid, with Mithiborwala saying: “Since this is the first convoy from Asia to show solidarity with the Palestinian cause, our aim is only to get to Gaza and not confront the Israeli government.” The group included over 50 Indians, and they planned on arriving in Gaza by 28 December.[7]

According to Salim Ghafouri, an Iranian citizen who claims to be the spokesman for the convoy, the participants in the convoy represented 137 organisations from 50 countries, including Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Britain, and Australia. Most, however, were Indians. Ghafouri said that the war with "the Zionists" is not only an “Islamic-Zionist war,” but the showdown between the “truth,” represented by “the freedom-loving people of the world,” and the “lie” of Israel and its supporters.[8]

Mithiborwala said that he and his colleagues had four goals: “Liberation of Palestine, breaking the Gaza Siege, annihilation of the apartheid system of Israel and unity among the Asian nations, with the slogan, "One Asia United Asia".Thus an Asia free of US Imperialism & NATO bases. ”[9]

The amount and significance of the aid delivered by the convoy has been the subject of debate. The Indian Express reported that the medical aid carried by the convoy was worth Rs 2.7 million, or about US$50,000. The convoy also donated two ambulances to Palestinian authorities.[7] The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said that the amount of aid delivered by the convoy was "negligible."[10] The Milli Gazette, a Muslim newspaper, reported that the convoy took "medical equipment, food items, clothes and other aid worth $1 million, weighing 170 tons, for the people of Gaza who continue to suffer unspeakable hardship for nearly five years under the illegal blockade imposed by the Israeli-US regimes."[11]

While in Iran, the convoy was received by members of the Iranian political and social elite. The convoy visited various cities, including Qom, Zahedan, Isfahan, and Qazvin. Mithiborwala praised the Iranian regime, saying that the idea for the convoy was inspired by the May 2010 Gaza flotilla and the attack on the Mavi Marmara, by the active support of Iran, and that the convoy intended to take a stand against "Zionism, which wants to create a hegemony in the world, and especially in Asia."[12]

During the convoy's sojourn in Iran many contributions were received from Iranians.[13] To process these contributions, the convoy opened dozens of headquarters in larger Iranian cities. Mithiborwala, in an address to the Iranian parliament, called the president of the US "an agent of Israel."[8]

In Syria, the convoy met with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshal.[11]

Because Egyptian authorisation was delayed, the convoy arrived in Gaza on 2 January 2011, a few days later than originally planned.[citation needed]

Upon arrival in El Arish, Mithiborwala said that the purpose of the convoy was "to break the siege of the Gaza Strip, to bring about the establishment of an independent Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem, and [to cause] the economic and political boycott of Israel."[14]

In a retrospective interview, Mithiborwala said that "we were not there to 'help' the Palestinians. Ours is a movement of 'solidarity' with the people's resistance for the liberation of Palestine....especially since 2008, we have been trying to organize a ship or a land caravan from India." He said that he planned to march until "Palestine is free. Today we have begun our march to Gaza, but tomorrow we will march to Jerusalem." He believes that when the Palestinians have won the battle for Jerusalem, humanity will be closer to God in a very universal & spiritual sense.[2]

Global March to JerusalemEdit

Mithiborwala heads the Indian branch of Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ). He is also a member of both the co-founder of the GMJ International Executive Committee and its International Central Committee.[citation needed]

The GMJ planned a number of large-scale anti-Israel demonstrations around the Arab world on 30 March 2012, which is Palestine Land Day.[15] The idea was for the participants to gather in various places and then march to Jerusalem, or as far as they could get. Mithiborwala was described as "the key organiser of the Indian leg" of the event.[16] Mithiborwala wrote that the event was not an attempt to delegitimise Israel, saying that "Rather, it is Israel's actions and policies that create its image as a practitioner of ethnic cleansing and an abuser of human rights."[17]

Asked why he and his fellow participants were marching to Jerusalem and not to the Gaza Strip, Mithiborwala said that they were two different questions, citing the Gaza issue as a humanitarian crisis and Jerusalem as a political question as well as a "religious and anti-colonial issue." He went on to say that he considers Iran, Syria, Lebanon as anti-American powers, and South Asian anti-Imperialist parties among their allies.[16]

After returning to Delhi, Mithiborwala said he wanted a unification of the Palestinian movement, and that he wanted Fatah and Hamas to be together. He went on to say that negotiations with Israelis would not solve anything, and that there needs to be a common programme of resistance.[18]

Anti-BrahmanismEdit

Mithiborwala is an anti-caste system activist, and in particular, anti-Brahmin. He has been described as "an ideologue" who has been a leftist and also part of the Sarvodaya Movement and is a founding member and spokesman of the Muslim Intellectual Forum. In his view, noted an Outlook India profile, "Hindu is not the enemy; casteism is."[19]

After an Indian court upheld the demolition of a mosque, Mithiborwala accused "Brahmanic" elite forces of trying to subjugate Muslim communities and called the verdict a mockery. He said it "stands in utter contempt of the Indian constitution" and "giv[es] precedence to belief or aastha over law."[20]

Conspiracy theoriesEdit

Mithiborwala has propounded a number of conspiracy theories.[21] He has claimed that terrorists acts attributed to Muslim groups were in fact "false flag" attacks, "inside jobs" carried out by the Intelligence agencies of the US, Israeli, Indian, Pakistani and/or other governments to discredit Muslims.

Mithiborwala wrote that the Mumbai 26/11 attack was carried out by the CIA and Mossad,[22] its objective being to establish a pro-US/Israeli consensus among Indians, allowing the US/Israeli political elite "to deploy our Military into the war theatre in Afghanistan."[23]

In June 2011 Mithiborwala wrote that David Headley, who was involved with planning the 26/11 attack, was "a CIA-FBI operative whose task was to organize & expedite the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks."[24]

He wrote that the attacks were the result of a CIA/Saudi Arabian/Mossad conspiracy, saying "The strategic period & the timing of the terror attacks are a pointer to the powers behind the perpetrators."[25]

Mithiborwala believes that Osama bin Laden has been dead since the latter half of December 2001. He expressed his belief that the parties saying he was still alive were doing this because "The ghost of Bin Laden serves multiple purposes both at the Global and Indian context", mainly to generate fear for the Hindu community and to be a "false hero" for Muslims, falsely inspiring youth to follow the "flawed path of extremism and terror."[26]

When several small bombs were set off in Pune on 1 August 2012, Mithiborwala and Kishore Jagtap called them a "Chitpawan Brahmanical-Manuwadi reaction to the restoration of the true Samadhi-Burial Shrine of Saibai, the first wife of Shivaji Maharaj," and thus "part of the ongoing caste war that has once again erupted all across Maharashtra."[27]

After the 21 February 2013 terrorist bombing in Hyderabad, Mithiborwala charged the ruling Indian Congress Party with staging it to win conservative Hindu votes. He claimed the bombing would be blamed on fictitious "'Sleeper Cells' of disgruntled Muslim youth, who will begin to be picked up from the lanes of this city," and most of whom "will be police informers & petty criminals who will be entrapped into owning up for this terror attack."[28] Both the Pune and Hyderabad bombings were believed to have been carried out by the Indian Mujahideen.[29]

Other activities and organisationsEdit

Mithiborwala is president of Awami Bharat, an Indian political group that has described itself as being involved in an "international struggle against imperialism, Zionism, and Brahmanism."[30] He is the founder-convenor of the Muslim Intellectual Forum of India and of the South Asian Solidarity Initiative>. He has also been the national vice-president of the Maharashtra-based political party Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP).[31]

Mithiborwala led protests against the India-US nuclear deal in 2008.[32]

Mithiborwala, in his capacity as coordinator of a group called Forum against War and Terrorism, was involved in planning a 2006 event called "Mumbai in White", which he described as an attempt, after the terrorist acts in that city, "to do something to touch the lives of Mumbaikars in a subtle manner."[33]

Mithiborwala was also part of "an international peace delegation" with members from India, the Philippines, Brazil, Norway, France, and Spain that paid a friendly visit to Hizbollah in Lebanon in 2006. It was reported that they "stressed that it would be wrong to call Hizbollah a 'militant' outfit" and should rather be called a 'socio-political resistance movement.'" Mithiborwala was quoted as stating that "Even a child in Lebanon wants to be a part of Hizbollah."[34]

Mithiborwala signed a letter opposing NATO military intervention in Libya.[35]

Mithiborwala was also part of the international group of observers that monitored the national general election in Syria on 3 June 2014. The group that deemed the elections free and fair, where Bashar al Assad was re-elected as President. The Syrian people, he said, "had voted for a free, sovereign & unified Syria and was a vote against foreign intervention and wars".[citation needed]

Detention in MumbaiEdit

Mithiborwala and his friend Kishor Jagtap were both preemptively detained before Secretary of State Clinton's visit to Mumbai in 2009. This action might have been in connection to his demand for an investigation into US Government cover ups in the Headley affair, where even the mainstream media has raised questions regarding the coverup. He described being picked up from his house on a Friday night without a specific reason given and then being brought into the MIDC police station. He spoke of the experience: “An official told us that we had been brought owing to an intelligence input and will be here till the next day. However, on Saturday, they told us that we would be allowed to leave only on Sunday. While Clinton's visit or security has not been mentioned to us as the reason for our detention, we sat there for very long without even knowing why.”.[36] Further when they filed a case against the police in the Bombay High Court, the Judge Bilal Nazki passed comments against the police for their high handedness.[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Bio". Twitter.
  2. ^ a b "Asia to Gaza march will continue until Palestine is free: Mithiborwala". Milli Gazette.
  3. ^ Raghunath, Pamela. "Building support for Palestinians in India." Gulf News. 6 October 2011 (Lexis)
  4. ^ Mithiborwala, Feroze. "Obama's Surrender at AIPAC – God Save America From Israel". Counter Currents.
  5. ^ "Activist Hails Iran's Resistance against Zionist Regime". FARS.
  6. ^ a b "The Ideology Behind the Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan". Crethi Plethi.
  7. ^ a b Ghosh, Dipankar. “Road journey to Gaza starts today.” Indian Express. 1 December 2010 (Lexis)
  8. ^ a b "Salim Ghafouri". Hamas' Palestine-info website.
  9. ^ “Activist Urges Asia's Coherent, United Move in Support of Palestinian People.” FARS News Agency.
  10. ^ "The Asian convoy's activists reached Iran, where they were officially welcomed by Ahmadinejad and others".
  11. ^ a b "Meet the First Ever Indian Activists to Enter Gaza (Palestine)". The Milli Gazette.
  12. ^ Iran's PressTV, 13 December 2010
  13. ^ "Asia aid convoy reaches Iran en route to Gaza, 2nd Freedom Flotilla gears up". IKHWANWEB.
  14. ^ "The Asian Convoy Reaches the Gaza Strip; the Libyan Convoy Sets Out". Crethi Plethi.
  15. ^ "GMJ March 30". Global March to Jerusalem.
  16. ^ a b "'Jerusalem is key to solving the Israel-Palestine issue'". Tehelka. Tehelka.
  17. ^ Kessler, Oren. "Leaders of Global March on Jerusalem take to media. Organizers present Friday's border march as legitimate, nonviolent response to 'occupation'." The Jerusalem Post. 29 March 2012 (Lexis)
  18. ^ "First Asian aid caravan returns successfully to Delhi." Asian News International. 12 January 2011
  19. ^ "A Muslim Aims To Bridge The Communal Divide Through Education". Outlook India. Outlook India.
  20. ^ Mithiborwala, Feroze. "The Ayodhya Verdict: Beyond the Liberal Brahmanic framework.” Kashmir Times. 13 October 2010
  21. ^ "Kevin Barrett Show, No Lies Radio". Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  22. ^ Andolan, Bharat. "Public Meeting: 9/11 Truth". Awami Bharat. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  23. ^ Mithiborwala, Feroze (21 January 2010). "The Coming False-Flag Terror Trap For India". Counter Currents.
  24. ^ "David Colemann Headley Is A CIA-FBI Agent". Counter Currents.
  25. ^ "Moscow Terror: CIA-Saudi-Mossad Operation?". Counter Currents.
  26. ^ "Osama Bin Laden Has Been Dead Since December 2001". Al-Jazeerah.
  27. ^ Mithiborwala, Feroze. "Pune terror 01/08/12 & the ongoing Maratha-Bahujan vs Chitpawan Brahmin caste war across Maharashtra". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  28. ^ Mithiborwala, Feroze. "You Strike and We will Strike back". Muslims for 9/11 Truth. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  29. ^ Tiwary, Deeptiman. "Indian Mujahideen operative had revealed Hyderabad plot to Delhi Police in 2012". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  30. ^ "PUBLIC MEETING: THE LOKPAL BILL – BETTERMENT OF THE NATION & THE EMPOWERMENT OF THE MINORITIES".
  31. ^ "Mithiborwala Profile". Mumbai Votes.
  32. ^ "Dalit, progressive groups plan protest against n-deal." Indo-Asian News Service. 7 July 2008
  33. ^ "Mumbai's colour code." Hindustan Times. 24 July 2006
  34. ^ "PEACE DELEGATION – 'Hizbollah not a militant outfit'." Hindustan Times. 19 August 2006
  35. ^ "Indian Muslims condemn western military campaign against Libya". Milli Gazette.
  36. ^ “Hillary visit: handful of people detained for ‘questioning’.” Indian Express. 18 July 2009(Lexis)

External linksEdit