16 million Communist Indian farmers join boycott Israel movement

Group vows to support Palestinians and ‘resist the corporate takeover of Indian agriculture’ by Israeli companies

Members of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) attend a rally in Rajasthan in September 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Members of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) attend a rally in Rajasthan in September 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)

The peasants and farmers wing of the Communist Party of India joined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel earlier this month.

News of the decision of All India Kisan Sabha, which has 16 million members, was reported on the BDS movement’s website on Monday.

In a statement, the organization said it endorsed BDS efforts in order to support the “rights of the Palestinian people and to resist the corporate takeover of Indian agriculture sector by Israeli companies.”

AIKS also says it will work to “raise awareness among Indian farmers to prevent Israel and its corporations from reaping profits in India that finance military occupation and apartheid in Palestine.”

The South Asia Coordinator with the Palestinian BDS National Committee said that the move sent a message to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the leaders of Israel and the US.

Illustrative image of BDS movement in France. (CC BY-SA, Odemirense, Wikimedia commons)

“By joining the BDS movement, AIKS is saying no to the hateful politics of Prime Minister Modi, Netanyahu and Trump, and joining us to build a more free, just and equal world,” it said in a statement.

Israel and India have historically close ties. In July Modi visited Israel — the first visit by an Indian head of state — in a celebration of the 25-year anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Netanyahu announced Monday he is planning to travel to India in January as a follow-up on Modi’s visit.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi visit the water desalination plant at Olga beach on July 6, 2017. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)

The BDS movement pushes for boycotts of Israeli products and institutions, divestment from companies and institutions “complicit” in the violation of Palestinian rights (i.e. with investments in Israel), and sanctions against Israel, such as pushing for the rejection of its membership in international forums.

Amanda Borschel-Dan contributed to this report.

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