Friday, November 06, 2015


Why do some groups’ struggles become fashionable and others do not? The Palestinians—a people with a history stretching back, oh gee, decades—are darlings of the left, Europeans, and their Muslim world sponsors who take draconian measures not to accept them within their borders.  They are the subject of almost continuous UN resolutions and occupy several international agencies, some exclusively, that are funded largely by the nations they demonize.  There are about 11.6 million Palestinians with a culture built almost entirely on enmity and hatred of Jews and the West.

The 10-15 million Baloch, on the other hand, have a history stretching back centuries and a rich culture with even earlier antecedents.  Unlike the Palestinians who have tried to claim a non-existent country, the Baloch actually had their own independent nation, Balochistan, that was swallowed up by British colonialists and their local allies.  They have not been favored with international aid and UN resolutions; and when a UN team simply tried to look into the matter, they were called off after Pakistani objections.  Europeans never refuse to buy Iranian or Pakistani goods that come from Balochistan--a nation with clearly defined historical borders that even its occupiers do not question.

Palestinians also are given a pass for terrorism that is an essential component of their "national" identity; and several of their major representatives make common cause with murderous Islamists.  The Baloch, on the other hand, practice a mild variant of Islam that is neither imperialistic nor murderous.  And even though terrorism is a marginal phenomenon among the Baloch, when a terrorist attack in Iranian-occipied Balochistan killed 18 members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, those same UN Security Council sycophants went out of their way to express sympathy for the victims, saying hypocritically “that no cause can justify the use of terrorist violence"; hypocritically because they look the other way when Palestinian terrorists kill Israelis.

We are involved in new efforts to bring justice to the Baloch and help them regain their independence.  Their struggle is real, and it will not go away; and if the Kurds can now see progress on Iran's western flank, there is no reason why we cannot help the Baloch do the same on its eastern flank.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Remember "The BDS 59" at election time

Those of us who feel passionately about our nation's security and the international fight against Islamists, and who are equally passionate about the State of Israel, have been snubbed time and again by the Obama administration and its fearful acolytes in Congress.  When that happens, people shake their fists and rant about those who are placing our security and that of our ally Israel in jeopardy, but too often we do nothing more.

I've spoken with so many individuals--passionate supporters of Israel--who have come to me with their anger about Barack Obama and his clearly anti-Israel actions.  Yet, when pressed, they admit that they voted for him not once but twice, the second time after his anti-Israel actions were--as they too admitted--on full display.  So with the 2016 US elections not that far away, from time to time, this blog will remind voters who snubbed them and did so expecting that they did not have the heft to administer the appropriate consequences.

Let's begin with "The BDS 59."

Do you remember when Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressed a joint session of Congress, and several members of that body publicly boycotted our friend and ally.  They did so even though were it not for our ally Israel, Saddam Hussein would have ten years of nuclear material for use against our troops in 1991; and even though were it not for our ally Israel, ISIS would have a bomb today.

Some of The BDS 59 tried to hide behind an excuse about protocol, however, there are historical precedents for the Netanyahu speech; and their anti-Israel boycott reflected their tacit or vocal support for the Obama's attempts to distance the US from Israel.  Here are The BDS 59 who do not deserve our votes in 2016 or any time:

Vice President Joe Biden
Sen. Al Franken (Minn.)
Sen. Martin Heinrich (N.M.)
Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.)
Rep. Karen Bass (Calif.)
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.)
Rep. Corrine Brown (Fla.)
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (N.C.)
Rep. Lois Capps (Calif.)
Rep. Andre Carson (Ind.)
Rep. Joaquin Castro (Texas)
Rep. Katherine Clark (Mass.)
Rep. William Lacy Clay (Mo.)
Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.)
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.)
Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.)
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.)
Rep. John Conyers (Mich.)
Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.)
Rep. Danny Davis (Ill.)
Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.)
Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.)
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (Texas)
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.)
Rep. Donna Edwards (Md.)
Rep. Chaka Fattah (Pa.)
Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.)
Rep. Marcia Fudge (Ohio)
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.)
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.)
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.)
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas)
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)
Rep. Rick Larsen (Wash.)
Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.)
Rep. John Lewis (Ga.)
Rep. Dave Loebsack (Iowa)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.)
Rep. Betty McCollum (Minn.)
Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.)
Rep. Jim McGovern (Mass.)
Rep. Jerry McNerney (Calif.)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.)
Rep. Gwen Moore (Wis.)
Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Texas)
Rep. Donald Payne (N.J.)
Rep. Chellie Pingree (Maine)
Rep. David Price (N.C.)
Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.)
Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.)
Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.)
Rep. Mike Thompson (Calif.)
Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.)

They put partisanship over our security, and did so expecting that none of us will remember come election day.  We do remember, and this blog will put out more reminders in the coming weeks and months, including reminders of who voted for the Iran deal that places US and Israeli security in jeopardy.

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Saturday, August 01, 2015

US Congress Resolution to Protect Bangladeshi Minorities

On July 29, 2015, U.S. Congressman Robert Dold and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard introduced a bipartisan resolution calling on the government of Bangladesh to increase human rights protections, strengthen democratic institutions and prevent the growth of extremist groups in the country. The resolution comes as ISIS and other trans-national radical Islamic groups continue to grow their influence in areas like South Asia. This represents an historic shift in U.S. policy toward Bangladesh.  It discards the inaccurate view of the world's eighth largest nation as a democratic ally and opponent of radical Islam; for one that recognizes the reality of its role in the spread of Islamism and ethnic cleansing of non-Muslim minorities.

“Religious persecution is on the rise around the world, with 77% of the world’s population now living in countries with high restrictions on religious freedom,” "As the greatest force for human dignity in the world," said Dold, "the United States has an obligation to send the unequivocal message that we will not tolerate countries that fail to protect the fundamental freedoms of all citizens, especially minorities."  He called on the Bangladeshi government "to protect the rights of minorities, eliminate violent extremist groups and restore the rule of law.”

After noting her concern about attacks on religious minorities, Gabbard added, "All too often perpetrators of crimes against minorities go unpunished. It’s up to the government of Bangladesh to take action to stop those who incite and commit violence and protect the rights of these minorities."

The resolution is now with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, of which Gabbard is a member.  Its Chairman, Congressman Ed Royce, is on the record with his concern about the persecution of minorities, especially Hindus, in Bangladesh.

Since 2007, I have been urging the U.S. government to recognize the "ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh" and take a clear stand against the atrocity itself and against the fairy tale that Bangladesh is a "moderate" nation.  Rather, Bangladesh has become Islamism's petri dish for additional campaigns internationally, as well as a test of our will to oppose its commitment to atrocities.

House Resolution 396 is an important step not only for human rights; it is also an important step in our open-eyed fight against our most implacable enemies.

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Monday, July 06, 2015

US Elections an Opportunity to Save Bangladesh's Hindus

I can remember talking with a US lawmaker and staff about the ethnic cleansing of Bangladesh's Hindus.  At one point, the staff person asked, "If this is such a big problem that we have to do something, why haven't we heard much from American Hindus?"  They had to attend to the needs of many constituencies, and ignoring those needs to focus on something not significant to the actual community involved did not seem right.  Since then, some US Hindus have made some noise, but it has been rather tepid at best.  Two pieces of evidence:
  • On April 30, 2015, the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs held hearings about the deteriorating situation in Bangladesh, but it did not recommend action and only slightly addressed the plight of Hindus and the danger it means for all of us.
  • Prior to its last visit to Bangladesh, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom asked for contacts who would confirm the persecution of Hindus and government complicity there, but it ignored the evidence it received in its report.
With US elections coming in 2016, however, Hindus and other have a chance to do something real about it.  Several presidential hopefuls can make this an issue.  Florida Senator Marco Rubio's staff, for instance, has been working with me and gathering evidence.  Florida Senator Jeb Bush once me with Bangladeshi officials.  And President Barack Obama once derisively called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "the Senator from Punjab" because of Clinton ties with India.  There are tight and not so tight races nationwide for Senator and Member of Congress, many in districts and states with significant Hindu populations.  But the impact will be there only if we press our case.  And it becomes even stronger if Hindus align with other religious groups, as we have been doing with Jews and Hindus in the Chicago area.

I urge everyone who believes we have to seize these opportunities to contact me through this blog, my web site, facebook, or tumblr account (the latter is under the name bdhindus); or email me at

We CAN do something to save millions of innocents--or we can let the moment pass and see them destroyed.

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Thursday, May 07, 2015


In its just released report, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) ignored overwhelming evidence of Bangladeshi government complicity in the ethnic cleansing of Hindus, while rejecting the path of cooperation with India, choosing instead a sterile form of confrontation.

·        USCIRF was established by Title II of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.  Its mandate is to “facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom [and make] policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.”

·        Along with a misguided minority in Washington, it has for years sullied the reputation of current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and observant Hindus with discredited claims of his complicity in anti-minority violence.

·        Its recently-released 2015 annual report continues that effort, using questionable material to claim religious freedom abuses in India, and attributes it to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent election and "Hindu nationalist groups," while calling forced conversion of Hindus "media propaganda." When USCIRF staff brought the allegations to me for my advice, I provided evidence refuting it.

·        Fewer and fewer people and organizations continue this sterile line given Modi’s election as India’s Prime Minister, his actions since that election, the growing importance of India’s relations with other democracies, and India’s Supreme Court having cleared Modi multiple times.

·        USCIRF’s action is consistent with a pattern of anti-Hindu bias.

·        Its report on Pakistan, where Hindus face intense violence and have been reduced to one percent of the population, USCIRF calls violence against Hindus “allegations,” while not similarly qualifying the claims of any other minority group.

·        Its report on Bangladesh calls violence against Hindus “occasional,” despite sending staff on a fact-finding trip in which my associates provided ample and vetted evidence of ongoing ethnic cleansing of Hindus and the Bangladeshi government’s complicity that have reduced Hindus from one in five Bangladeshis to as few as one in 15.

·        In August 2014, I arranged a meeting between an Indian government representative and USCIRF’s Chairperson at which both parties agreed on a path of cooperation to undo decades of mutual animosity and work together toward common understandings.  In the end, USCIRF rejected cooperation and chose the course of confrontation instead with an increasingly important US ally.

·        Hindus are being persecuted out of existence in Bangladesh and Pakistan.  Yet, USCIRF minimizes or ignores that—despite being given ample evidence to the contrary choosing instead to pursue discredited accusations against one of our most sincere allies.  I have direct evidence of all of this and stand by my accusations against USCIRF and the government of Bangladesh.

·        USCIRF’S decision was a disservice to both India and the United States, to religious minorities in South Asia, and to the cause of religious freedom worldwide.  It also called its impartiality into question and with it that of the United States government.

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Thursday, April 02, 2015

Bangladesh Official dismisses crimes with anti-Semitic remark

On March 10, 2015, human rights activist and attorney Rabindra Ghosh met with H. T. Imam, Awami League Advisory Council member and one of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's closest advisers.  He met him to address Bangladesh's ongoing ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh.  It is an issue I addressed with Imam four years earlier in Dhaka.  As he did when I met with him, Imam rejected any suggestion that Hindus face persecution under the Awami League government.  When Ghosh raised my name and my eight year activism on the issue, Imam dismissed the notion that any of it could be correct, instead responding that “Dr. Benkin is working for the interests of the Jews.”

Is he serious?  Does he expect a man of Rabindra Ghosh’s stature—or other world leaders and captains of industry—to have any regard for a government whose Prime Minister gives credence to a man who thinks like that?   The short answer is that he does because Imam and other Bangladeshi officials have used that and other sorts of nonsense to try and cover up their horrendous treatment of Hindus.  You see, it's more important to Bangladeshi leaders that people continue buying their falsehoods about being a "moderate" country.  No amount of blustering and misdirection, however, can hide their crimes.  With each day, their atrocities against Hindus become known to more and more people.  I've also documented them in my book, A Quiet Case of Ethnic Cleansing: the Murder of Bangladesh's Hindus.

But there is more significance to Awami League anti-Semitism.  For while the Bangladeshi government is complicity in anti-Hindu atrocities and guilty of selling its soul to protect its export markets (which are dependent on their false image as moderate); the people of Bangladesh are not.  It takes a lot of care and time for non-Bengalis to understand how to interpret the actions and words of Bengalis, and I have been fortunate enough to spend a lot of quality time in Bengal (both Indian and Bangladeshi) and with Bengalis.  When I travel throughout Bengal to stop the atrocities against Bengali Hindus, I am accompanied almost invariably by Muslims and Hindus.  The reaction I have received from Bangladeshi Muslims to HT Imam's slanderous remark has been one of support and understanding.  They have without exception rejected Imam's comment as an attempt to avoid dealing with the persecution of Bangladesh's Hindus.

As I have written before, this is not a war between Hindus and Muslims but one between decent people and those who have no decency.  Personally, I want Sheikh Hasina to sack HT Imam and stop discrediting herself by associating her name with his.  That, however, will not end the problem.  My greater wish is for Hindus and Muslims to recognize what Bangladesh is and what it can be; and with the help of other nations, together move that country to a new future.

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Saturday, March 07, 2015

Ten Bangladeshi Hindus Charged with Murder, Denied Due Process

It is a cherished myth of the international elites that Bangladesh is a "moderate" country.  But would a moderate country allow the ethnic cleansing of its non-Muslim populations; admit to having anti-minority laws and then do nothing about it even when it had a chance; arrest journalists and authors for blasphemy and threaten their lives; allow human rights activists and their attorneys to be attacked or as in my case bar them from entering the country?  No, it would not; and though we need no more proof, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government keep giving us more.  Right now, ten Hindus sit in a squalid prison, charged with murder as collective punishment and denied due process of law.  Perhaps Bangladesh is a moderate country if you tow the line set by Islamists but not if you dare to have a different thought.

In October of 2013, a man entered a religious temple, began destroying holy objects and abusing the women there.  Several men rushed to their defense, and in the struggle that followed, the man was killed.  Now in a moderate country, that might be the end of it except for some press and an investigation; a clear case of self-defense.  But this is Bangladesh, and the dead man was a Muslim, the temple a Hindu temple.  Almost immediately, the local police rounded up eleven members of the Hindu community seemingly at random with no logical connection to the event, and charged them with murder.  The bitter irony is that this same government fails to act even after years when Hindus are attacked.  Local Advocates in Gopalganj, the district represented by Sheikh Hasina where the arrests occurred, were intimidated not to take the case. So the families traveled to the capital of Dhaka and engaged the services of Advocate and human rights activist Rabindra Ghosh.  When he arrived in Gopalganj and asked to see his clients, he was refused.  When he petitioned the local court for justice, he was beaten in the courtroom in front of the judge who allowed it to continue.  When he petitioned the High Court for a change of venue, he was refused.  And now he, his clients, and their families are being threatened if he does not stop his attempt at further appeals.

Oh, did I say eleven men were arrested and charged but only ten sit in prison today?  That's not  typo.  One of the original defendants died while in custody--and of course the Bangladeshis have not looked into that.

The International Commission of Jurists has called on the Bangladeshi government to take "long overdue" action on Rabindra Ghosh's courtroom beating. It also notes that the rule of law has largely broken down in Bangladesh.  And last month in India, I began working on this with Human Rights Defense International, a group of Indian jurists.  I also am working with several staff in the United States Congress on action and am in regular contact with Rabindra Ghosh, who reports that the situation for his clients grows more alarming by the day.  He remains barred from contacting them.

This travesty of justice demands that all who love the law and, in fact, all good people demand due process and a fair trial for the "Gopalganj Ten."  To do so, email me.  Please help; lives depend on it.

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