NEW DELHI: An appeal for the total boycott of Israel was made today at the BDS India convention held here as a mark of protest against the apartheid policies and the genocidal campaign of Israel against Palestine. The intellectuals and activists from different parts of country who attended the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) India convention organised by 'Indian people in Solidarity with Palestine' demanded the cancellation of the proposed visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposed visit to Israel.

Senior journalist Sukumar Muralidharan said that even though India has always been a supporter of the Palestinian liberation, there is a shift in this policy in recent years. Last year Indian president visited Israel for the first time even as Israel in a way insulted him by seizing the relief material sent for Palestine. Today Gaza has been turned into a prison of 2 million people.

Journalist Saurabh Kumar Shahi said that there has been tremendous upsurge in the feeling of solidarity with Palestine in the western countries, particularly in Europe, due to which Israel has begun to concentrate more on India and China. The issue has been used for exploiting the anti-muslim feeling prevailing in India.

Author Peggy Mohan said that the difference between Judaism and Zionism is analogous to that between Hinduism and Hindutva and hence the unity between the two ultra right-wing ideologies. The Israeli Zionists exploit the emotions of their youth in the same way as the Hindutva politics provokes people in the name of ultra-nationalism. However the BDS movement has made a dent on this and many Israeli youth are joining it as well.

Activist Anand Singh told that the worldwide BDS movement which is inspired from the boycott of the apartheid policies of South Africa in the last century has been quite successful in putting pressure on Israel. It is to give impetus to this movement in India that this convention is being organised. Today India has become the biggest buyer of Israeli arms and the Israeli government is killing the Palestinian children with Indian tax payer's money.

Feroze Mithiborwala from Palestine Solidarity Committee, Mumbai, while stressing on the need to expedite the movement of the boycott of Israel said that apart from opposing the Hindutva fundamentalists we must also oppose the Islamic fundamentalists.

Senior journalist and former faculty member of the Centre for West Asian Studies Qamar Agha stressed on the need to take this campaign to the small cities and town and the use of cultural forms to make people aware about the atrocious acts of Israel. Prof Ajmal from the Arabic and African studies centre, JNU, while terming the Palestinian question as an international issue said that this issue is not one of muslims but a fight for justice.

Anti-war crusader Mary Scully from USA who champions Women's, Civil Rights and Disability Rights Movement, had sent a solidarity message which was read out during the convention.

In the three resolutions passed during the convention the appeal was made to cancel the proposed visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel and to suspend all the agreement-collaboration with Israel, boycott the Israeli companies and products and carrying out academic and cultural boycott of israel. It was also agreed to take this issue to the common people.

Palestinian student Dina, Jamia's student Nadia, journalist Bodhisattwa maity and Palestinian civilian Nasser Barakat also put forward their views during the convention. Large number of intellectuals, students and activists participated in the convention including senior journalist Ramsharan Joshi, Prof. Ramesh Dixit from Lucknow, Rihai Manch' president Md. Shoaib from Lucknow, poet Katyayani, journalist Varghese Koshy, Bihar's legislature Dr. Shakeel Ahmad, Rakesh Rafeeq from Yuva Samvad, writer Sazeena Rahat, Shubhda Chaudhary, A. Biswas, Dr. Subhash Gautam, Ranjana Bisht, and Kalpana Shastry.

Satyam moderated the convention and Kavita Krishnapallavi presented the opening statement on behalf of the organisers. 'Resonance's Tapish Maindola presented some songs in solidarity with Palestinian struggle and Katyayani recited her poem 'Gaza-2015'.