India’s Jews protest Hitler-themed restaurant

Hard to say if this is more bizarre or terrifying. Talk about the banality of evil. What about the evil of banality? From Reuters, Aug. 21:

MUMBAI, India – A new restaurant in India’s financial hub, named after Adolf Hitler and promoted with posters showing the German leader and Nazi swastikas, has infuriated the country’s small Jewish community.

Hitler’s Cross, which opened last week, serves up a wide range of continental fare and a big helping of controversy, thanks to a name the owners say they chose to stand out among hundreds of Mumbai eateries.

“We wanted to be different. This is one name that will stay in people’s minds,” owner Punit Shablok told Reuters. “We are not promoting Hitler. But we want to tell people we are different in the way he was different.”

But India’s remaining Jews — most migrated to Israel and the West over the years — say they are outraged by the gimmick.

“This signifies a severe lack of awareness of the agony of millions of Jews caused by one man,” said Jonathan Solomon, chairman of the Indian Jewish Federation, the community’s umbrella organization.

“We are going to stop this deification of Hitler,” he said without elaborating.

The small restaurant, its interior done out in the Nazi colors of red, white and black, also has a lounge for smoking the Indian water pipe or “hookah.”

Posters line the road leading up to it, featuring a red swastika carved in the name of the eatery. One slogan reads: “From Small Bites to Mega Joys.”

A huge portrait of a stern-looking Füehrer greets visitors at the door. The cross in the restaurant’s name refers to the swastika that symbolized the Nazi regime.

“This place is not about wars or crimes, but where people come to relax and enjoy a meal,” said restaurant manager Fatima Kabani, adding that they were planning to turn the eatery’s name into a brand with more branches in Mumbai.

The swastika has its roots in ancient Indian Hindu tradition and remains a sacred symbol for Hindus. Nazi theorists appropriated it to bolster their central hypothesis of the Aryan origins of the German people.

We are glad that India’s Jews are protesting this banal monstrosity, especially given the recent Israel-India military alliance against the perceived common enemy of Islamic extremism. As our correspondent Subuhi Jiwani has documented, there is a real fascist legacy behind contemporary Hindu extremism, with its ideologues explicitly sharing the Hitlerian theories of a glorious shared “Aryan” past of the Germanic and Indo-Aryan peoples. The mainstreaming of Nazi imagery is more ominous than it seems in the climate of contemporary India. And this is certainly perfect evidence that pro-Israel and anti-Semitic are discrete categories.

See our last post on India.

  1. Subuhi Jiwani misled you..
    The only people pro Israel in India are the hindu’s. No not the muslims and definitely not the communist christian community.

    Before you go on fabricating links, you should read the real history of the Swastika being a Hindu symbol for peace and fertility; and the origins of the “Aryan” word, it originally stood for nobility in Sanskrit.

    You make irresponsible comments like these … end up making enemies of the only community that is pro West and anti Jehad in India.

    1. You are misleading yourself
      We never said India’s Muslims are pro-Israel. We made clear the alliance with Israel is one rooted in Hindu nationalism. Please try to pay attention.

    2. hey….
      dont say indian christians dont support jews..and by extension ISRAEL…..we back them 100%….no matter what they do in their backyard……and if u r looking at the politicians ( christian commies)….well…thats just vote bank politics..or should i say..appeasing the indian minority community..(muslims)

  2. Not a complete picture
    You seem to retort that due to Hindu nationalism’s fasicist streak, it is anti-semitic. This just grave injustice to exploring the situations that lead to Hindu nationalism’s rise. As early as in the 1950s, it was the Hindu nationalist political parties in India (Bhartiya Jana Sangh, Hindu Mahasabha) that campaigned for a *recognition* of Israel. India recognised Israel much earlier than many Western nations.

    Please note that in India, historically, there has been no institutionalised anti-semitism against the Jewish people. We even had Baghdadi jews who were leading military figure in India independent army.

    It is true that hindu nationalism was sympathetic to the Nazis. That is only because the Nazis were at war with Britain, the enemies of the Hindu nationalists. The nazis have gone, but the islamists remain today. Hope both the rabbis and brahmins can clap today and make enough noises to control the jihadis! Mazel tov to the India-Israel alliance!

  3. Hindu extremism
    It’s better if you actually do some research before you open your mouth to spew nonsense about Hindus, what you call “Hindu extremism” is the genuine nationalism of India, the so called Hindu fascists were the only ones who supported Israel consistently ever since its formation, if you actually bother to read the relevant literature you would know that in the booklet “Hindutva” written in 1923, Savarkar (one of the fathers of modern Hindu nationalism) quite clearly expresses his support for the formation of a state of Israel. India is the only country where Jews were not persecuted and were allowed to maintain their separate identity, go read the book “Who Are the Jews of India? By Nathan Katz”, here is what he says about Indian Jews:

    Katz notes that the Indian Jews were able to acculturate without any pressure to assimilate. A distinctive feature of Indian civilization is its ready acceptance of differences among its constituent cultural groups. “Such is the experience not only of India’s Jews, but also of local Christians, Zoroastrians, and recently, Tibetan Buddhists. This striking feature of Indian civilization is reflected by each of these immigrant groups.”

    If you ask any Jew who has lived in India, from Cochin to Calcutta , you will find that although the Hindus are called idolaters, they are more accepting of Jews than those so-called new religions that grew out of Judaism.” In Cochin, interviewees tell Katz a similar story: “Anti-Semitism doesn’t exist in our Indian dictionary.”

    Since the creation of the state of Israel, India’s Jewish communities declined dramatically. Kata points out that “when conditions permitted they returned en masse to Israel, which they had always proclaimed to be their true home despite India’s hospitality.” The exodus happened not only for spiritual reasons but also because the Indian Jews sought better economic opportunities. Ironically some of the returning Jews met with more discrimination in Israel than they had known in India.

    The Jews of Cochin still have copper plate inscriptions in their synagogue which show that the Hindu Raja gave them a grant of land and built the synagogue for them right next to his own temple, the same Raja refused to fight on Saturday’s because his Jewish soldiers would not be able to do so.

    The only time Jews were persecuted in India was when the Portuguese fanatics arrived in India and began their slaughter of heathens and the Indian Jews were also persecuted and the biggest anti semites in India today are the Muslims of India and their Communist allies and the secularist parties, the only party that began improving relations with Israel was the so called Hindu extremist BJP. If you do not know about certain things then its better to keep quiet rather than talk nonsense.

    1. You hang yourself…
      …with the statement: “what you call ‘Hindu extremism’ is the genuine nationalism of India.” On one hand you are accepting of Jews, but on the other hand “Hindutva” is the “genuine nationalism of India.” So Jews and Muslims (and Sikhs and Jains and Buddhists) are presumably not a “genuine” part of the nation. Which one is it?

      I wish I had a nickel for everyone who has ever told me that his country is “the only country where Jews were not persecuted.” I’d be a rich man.

      BTW, are these some friends of yours?

      1. You hang yourself Weinberg
        You hang yourself Weinberg by generalizing 1 persons stupidity to 800 million hindus.

        The hindu was only a part owner. The other owner is Siddiqui which is a muslim name. I dont see you calling muslims as fascists based on that.

        Regarding the swastika, it was used by Hindus before Hitler. It is not the fault of Hindus that Nazis used that symbol. Why should we give up a symbol which predates Hitler and which has no connotations of anti-semitism as used by Hindus? If Musssolini used the star of David, then would Israelis be fascists for using the same symbol?

        The owner has since decided to change the name and apologized.

        Do you, Weinberg, have the guts to admit your original blog on Hindus was ignorant and racist? I challenge you!

        1. Not the same symbol
          Look in the picture in the link you provided: it’s clearly a Nazi style-swastika, black and set at an angle at 45 degrees surrounded by red: Note the restaurant is called “Hitler’s cross.” Seems rather unambigous.

          The swastika used in the subcontinent, in contrast, rests flat on one arm: No one is asking that to be “given up.”

        2. I admit nothing of the sort
          It is not a deficit of “guts,” but a surfeit of integrity. This website has been attacked by Zionist hoodlums, Islamic extremists, Chetniks, Ustashe, neo-Stalinists, neo-Nazis, Franco-nostalgists, Turko-supremacists, Kurdish nationalists, Nepalese Maoists, Nepalese monarchists, Hezbollah cheerleaders, Lebanese Christian Falangists, Ethiopian and Eritrean national chauvinists, and a host of other mutually hostile extremoid factions (not to mention the myopic centrists, who are perhaps worst of all). So I welcome verbal abuse from the Hindu nationalists. There’s no vindication like getting it from all sides.

          I have no gripe whatsoever with “800 million Hindus.” My gripe is with the Rashtriya Swayamsecak Sabha, and its latter-day offspring the BJP. You may be incapable of distinguishing the world’s 15 million Jews from the political ideology of Zionism, but I suffer from no such intellectual maladies.

          1. Leftist self-hatred and self-negationism
            I believe that it is YOU who is in the minority here. A vast majority of the Jews support the great Zionist movement, and so does the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and many Hindus (such as myself).


            Why do we do this? Because Zionism has produced the only functioning democracy in the Levant region (Israel) and a modern democracy like Israel is the first step to establishing peace in the region.

            It is easy to support Palestinians when they shamelessly romanticize their methods of strapping bombs to their children and send them to murder innocent Jewish civilians. It is the result of what Steven Weinberg (a supporter of Zionism) calls “gutter multiculturalism”

            Palestinian and other Muslim terrorists will only make things worse for everybody and they must be dealt with aggressively by Zionists.

            There is growing support for Israel in India


            Israel & India have excellent relations. We have done business with each other during the Cold war, when we were “officially” oponents (unofficially, Mossad had trained and funded RAW, India’s intelligence agency, and Israel sold us radar technology during the SI wars).

            Read the full article here:


            RSS is neither fascist, natinalist or racist party. These are baseless attacks cooked up by the self-hating Hindus of the liberal left in India in order to mollycoddle the Muslim vote bank. All the while, muslim terrorists like Lashkar-e-Toiba, together with the anti-Hindu and anti-Semitic liberal left like VT Rajsekhar, broadcast flyers that say the following:

            “Jews and Hindus are two sides of the same coin”


            “Jews and Hindus are enemies of Islam and India and Israel are enemies of Pakistan”


            Here is a concise argument as to why RSS is not fascist, nationalist, racist, casteist or any other slur you can cook up against them:


            Please be informed before you make stupid generalizations based on leftist brainwashing. Know your allies from your enemies.

            1. I love being accused of self-hatred
              It gives me excellent credentials when I stand up to the real Jew-haters. You are still conflating Jews and Zionism completely. I couldn’t care less if I am in a “minority” for repudiating this claptrap. And no matter how many Christian scholars you line up to deny the fascist legacy of the RSS, the facts–from the anti-Muslim pogroms of Gujarat in 2002 to the assassination of Mohandas Gandhi in 1948–speak for themselves.

              Go away, will you?

  4. All’s well that ends well
    Happy Jews to head for Kharghar restaurant
    Times of India
    [ 26 Aug, 2006 0206hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

    MUMBAI: After the brickbats, the bouquets. Jews in the city who were hurt by the naming of an eatery in Navi Mumbai after Hitler, are planning to visit the restaurant for a meal and also to express their gratitude. The owners of Hitler’s Cross have decided to rename the cafe.

    Ariela Massil, a resident of Nerul, is gathering her friends to go and eat at the restaurant next week. “It seems to be a happening place. But for the name, the restaurant would have been a culinary attraction for Kharghar,” said the 21-year-old. It seemed young Jews were particularly keen to patronise the restaurant.

    Said youngster Noel Moses Joseph, “Initially I was angry with the owners. But now it’s clear that they had named the hotel unintentionally. So I plan to chill out there.”

    And owner Puneet Sabhlok couldn’t be happier. “We are very happy for the Jewish community and will welcome them with open arms. We will prove to them that they are our esteemed customers.”

    Since Jews eat only kosher meat, Ariela made it clear that she will only try the vegetarian fare, which, according to Sabhlok, was not a problem with the wide variety of vegetarian food on offer.

    Meanwhile, chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has sought information on how five other establishments in Mumbai have named themselves after Hitler. For instance, there is a gymnasium in Mulund named after the Fuhrer.

  5. And now Hitler Fried Chicken
    In Thailand. With an image of Der Führer with apron and bow-tie in place of Col. Sanders. We wish we were joking. Check out the photo on Time’s Newsfeed. We are informed that KFC may sue, tho for them it is all about copyright infringement, not trivializing Nazism…