Even as an Indian living in Europe, with no stake in Israeli-Arab conflict, the anti-Semitism was striking. I have often witnessed the nuanced anti-Semitism of the intellectual elites and the crude anti-Semitism of "the street." But I have never seen such a frenzy of anti-Semitism on the loose as in the wake of the latest round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas -- and in Germany of all places!
These latest displays of ferocity were clearly not a "spontaneous reaction" to the developing situation in Gaza. They were an opportune moment for many to act upon their hitherto-concealed anti-Semitism by dressing it up as a supposedly "genuine concern" for human suffering.
Meanwhile, I have also seen, however, the rising support for Israel among the Indians in diaspora and back home in India.
At the onset of the recent Gaza conflict, there were a few small anti-Israel protests organized by groups affiliated with various Communist Parties in the Indian capital, New Delhi. And in India's Muslim-majority province of Kashmir, protests turned violent and demonstrators held flags and banners of ISIS and Al-Qaeda. As a response, youth-groups rallied to show their support for Israel, a fellow democracy under terrorist siege -- a pain known only too well by Indians, who have lost more than 30,000 of their countrymen to terrorism since 1994.
The size of these pro-Israel demonstrations grew until they finally culminated, on August 16, in a 20,000-strong rally of solidarity with Israel in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata.
As well as including ordinary people from the city, the rally also was attended by prominent leaders of local Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist communities. The rally passed through the heart of Kolkata without any incident -- let alone any counter-demonstration.
Although the newly-elected Hindu Nationalist government maintained a low profile and gave only tacit support to Israel, some prominent members of the ruling party, such as Dr. Subramanian Swamy, came openly to support Israel.
Subramanian Swamy, an economist and prominent member of India's ruling party, delivers a speech in support of Israel, August 3, 2014. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)
Young Indians took to social media in large numbers, and on Twitter the hashtag #IndiaWithIsrael trended throughout the duration of Gaza conflict. Even on the evening of July 13, with all the media hysteria surrounding the soccer World Cup final, #IndiaWithIsrael was still the leading hashtag on Twitter.
The trends on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have only reaffirmed what previous polls have suggested -- that the majority of Indians view Israel favourably.
The campaigns in support of Israel have been driven by students, young professionals, individual activists and small grassroots groups, coordinating on social media. In India, there have been no official media campaigns launched by the Embassy of Israel, or even Jewish organizations, inviting support for Israel.
Unlike the ruling elite who, since its independence, were at the helm of India for more than six decades, ordinary Indians have often shown a remarkable sense of wisdom and civil courage. Just two years ago, when northern India was rocked by the hideous incidents of rapes, ordinary Indians turned out in the thousands to besiege the seat of the government in New Delhi, and refused to leave until the government nabs the culprits and addresses the issue of violence against women. That protest also delivered the final blow to the Congress Party, which had ruled India for more than 50 years, and, last May, had to make way for the Hindu nationalist government under the new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
If the current popular narrative, that "poverty and resentment breed terrorism," were true, Indians would be perfectly placed to make a compelling case for resorting to terror. Instead, they have been among the most frequent victims of terror -- all Islamist, and all imported from, and funded by, Pakistan.
If that is not sufficiently ironic, over 2,000 pampered and privileged young men from Europe, including estimated 300 from Germany, have now shown up in Iraq to fill the ranks of the world's most dreaded terrorist group; the Islamic State [IS].
As Europe, in the wake of the Gaza conflict, sees the return of unconcealed anti-Semitism, the world's largest democracy, India, in its full support for Israel, tells a very different story about the world's manufactured outrage over Gaza conflict that mainstream media in West apparently wish to portray.
A majority of Indians, whose opinions are not tainted by a culture of anti-Semitism, can see that while the Palestinians would certainly greatly benefit from responsible Palestinian leaders who actually worked to improve their lives, the State of Israel not only has the right to defend itself, but has an obligation to protect its citizens from unprovoked terrorist aggression.
Such a rational view, however, is probably too much to expect from the media elites in Europe. They seem unable to see the threat posed to the West by radical Islamist ideology, which drives countless terrorist outfits including IS, Hamas, and al-Qaida. They also seem unable to distinguish their friends from their foes.