Bintel Blog

Gandhi’s Grandson: Israel, Jews ‘Biggest Players’ in ‘Culture of Violence’

By Daniel Treiman

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Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi contributed the following bit of profundity to The Washington Post’s online conversation on religion:

Jewish identity in the past has been locked into the holocaust experience – a German burden that the Jews have not been able to shed. It is a very good example of a community can overplay a historic experience to the point that it begins to repulse friends. The holocaust was the result of the warped mind of an individual who was able to influence his followers into doing something dreadful. But, it seems to me the Jews today not only want the Germans to feel guilty but the whole world must regret what happened to the Jews. The world did feel sorry for the episode but when an individual or a nation refuses to forgive and move on the regret turns into anger.

The Jewish identity in the future appears bleak. Any nation that remains anchored to the past is unable to move ahead and, especially a nation that believes its survival can only be ensured by weapons and bombs. In Tel Aviv in 2004 I had the opportunity to speak to some Members of Parliament and Peace activists all of whom argued that the wall and the military build-up was necessary to protect the nation and the people. In other words, I asked, you believe that you can create a snake pit – with many deadly snakes in it – and expect to live in the pit secure and alive? What do you mean? they countered. Well, with your superior weapons and armaments and your attitude towards your neighbors would it not be right to say that you are creating a snake pit? How can anyone live peacefully in such an atmosphere? Would it not be better to befriend those who hate you? Can you not reach out and share your technological advancement with your neighbors and build a relationship?

Apparently, in the modern world, so determined to live by the bomb, this is an alien concept. You don’t befriend anyone, you dominate them. We have created a culture of violence (Israel and the Jews are the biggest players) and that Culture of Violence is eventually going to destroy humanity.

Jewlicious blogger “themiddle” correctly flags this line as particularly stunning: “We have created a culture of violence (Israel and the Jews are the biggest players) and that Culture of Violence is eventually going to destroy humanity.”

The blog Solomonia notes that Arun’s grandfather wasn’t too intelligent when it came to Jews either.

UPDATE: Arun Gandhi has now posted the following not-so-apologetic apology titled “My Apology for My Poorly Worded Post”:

He writes:

I am writing to correct some regrettable mis-impressions I have given in my comments on my blog this week. While I stand behind my criticisms of the use of violence by recent Israeli governments – and I have criticized the governments of the U.S., India and China in much the same way – I want to correct statements that I made with insufficient care, and that have inflicted unnecessary hurt and caused anger.

I do not believe and should not have implied that the policies of the Israeli government are reflective of the views of all Jewish people. Indeed, many are as concerned as I am by the use of violence for state purposes, by Israel and many other governments.

I do believe that when a people hold on to historic grievances too firmly it can lead to bitterness and the loss of support from those who would be friends. But as I have noted in previous writings, the suffering of the Jewish people, particularly in the Holocaust, was historic in its proportions. While we must strive for a future of peace that rejects violence, it is also important not to forget the past, lest we fail to learn from it. Having learned from it, we can then find the path to peace and rejection of violence through forgiveness.

I wonder what impression readers should have drawn from his assertion that Jews and Israel are “the biggest players” in laying the groundwork for the destruction of humanity?

The ADL is, quite rightly, not impressed.



Comments
Sheela Fri. Jan 11, 2008

Abe, Excellent point. While Mahatma Ghandi's teachings of nonviolent resistance are very admirable (and ironically very effective in our own Civil Rights struggle here in the U.S.) people forget the views he espoused regarding both Blacks and Jews, which are (understandably) swept under the proverbial rug. Strange that his grandson doesn't bother to talk about "nonviolent resistance" to the suicide bombers whose cause he seems to champion. Mind you, I'm an ardent supporter of a two-state solution and I'm extremely critical of the Israeli government's policies towards Plaestinian civilians, but Jews and Israel being the "biggest players" in a "culture of violence?" Gimme a break.

juliana savino Fri. Jan 11, 2008

That was no apology. Even my kids know that "I'm sorry, but. . ." - & believe me Ghandi Lite has a big but here - doens't count. And, what would his advice be to those qassam-heaving thugs in Gaza? Ah, i hear crickets chirping.

Norman Fri. Jan 11, 2008

Gandhi is right. The Israelis are using the Holocaust, and the supposed threat to their existence, to justify the the same crimes the Jews have suffered. The IDF is even deliberately killing innocent children. http://www.amnesty.org/en/report/info/MDE02/005/2002 When you ask the Israeli government why they do this, they say, "We have to do it. Our existence is threatened." Israel's problems today are of its own making. Hillel said, "That which is hateful to you, do not do unto others." There's a reason for that. It was the Jews who started homicide bombings, by bombing Palestinian mayors. It was the Settlers who started killing Palestinians, before the Palestinians started fighting back. When the Israelis stop treating the Palestinians brutally, and stealing their land, and refusing to recognize their government, the Palestinians will reciprocate. The Israelis are saying, "You're just complaining about us because we're Jewish." This is like the old, "You're just doing this to me because I'm black," excuse. Well, I'm Jewish, and I don't fall for that. Even American Jews are complaining about Israeli brutality. It's time to stop using the Holocaust as a general-purpose excuse for Israeli lawbreaking and brutality.

Zionist Sat. Jan 12, 2008

More lies by the crazy Nazi Norman. You're about as Jewish as the Pope. It's obvious you're an idiot but also ignorant about the history of Israel and a horrible anti-semite. The Arabs, Palestinians have never existed, have been murdering Jews ever since they've invaded Israel and occupied the Jewish homeland. Arabs are brutal terrorists who've targeted Jewish women and children. They murdered a pregnant Jewish woman and shot her in the stomach while systematically shooting her four daughters in the head at close-range. The Arabs murdered a little four-girl Jewish girl by bashing her head in until was as flat as a pancake. Arabs teach their children violence and hatred. Instead of wanting to be doctors and lawyers Arab children want to be homocide bombers and murder Jews. That's why little Arab boys played soccer with the head of an IDF soldier who was bown up by Hamas. I will never forget when the Arabs beat two young Jewish men who got lost in Ramallah. They were beated to a bloody pulp while Arab young men had a blood-orgy by eating the Jewish boy's organs. These are acts of brutality and depravity by a group of people who aren't civilized! The IDF has NEVER TARGETED ARAB CHILDREN! That is pure blood libel! The Arab terrorists use children as human shields and the outcome is tragic but is not the IDF's fault. The Arabs are settlers who steal land and murder Jews. You'e just another Jew-hating jerk!

Bert Gedin Mon. Jan 14, 2008

The state of Israel, an occupying power, deserves criticism. That cannot be denied. But Mr. Arun Gandhi, normally a tireless campaigner for justice and human rights, has, this time, overstepped the mark. There is plenty of wickedness in the world, even by'good' nations. To blame all Jews is, in effect, racism, which needs to be understood and dealt with. Many Jews have been alongside Dr Martin Luther King and others, even agreeing with Arun Gandhi - until now, when they are undermined. A great pity! Arun Gandhi, your exalted status demands responsibility. Why have you let us down?

Ben Witt Thu. Jan 10, 2008

Arun Gandhi is a anti-Jewish bigot. He is no different from David Duke. I am surprised that The Washington Post gave him space to spew his hatred.

what? Thu. Jan 10, 2008

I don't exactly get this man. I understand where he is trying to come from - the concept of making peace, opening doors. What I do not understand is how he could ignore the blatant realities of the price all need to pay in order to persevere and survive. Whether he is keen on the delicate issues surrounding Israel and her neighbors, it is remarkable that Gandhi is so blind to the basic need of any nation to arm itself - especially in the face of the snake-pit which so clearly surrounds our beloved home. This Gandhi is quite an amateur.

Abe Thu. Jan 10, 2008

How many people are actually aware of the views that Gandhi held toward blacks? He thought they were little better than animals and this attitude is documented in many letters and writings during his period in South Africa.

Ruth Fri. Jan 11, 2008

Wow. Surely we've all heard this ignorant babbling before, but to see it condensed so neatly is quite astounding. And check out Arun's ludicrous "apology": My Apology for My Poorly Worded Post I am writing to correct some regrettable mis-impressions I have given in my comments on my blog this week. While I stand behind my criticisms of the use of violence by recent Israeli governments — and I have criticized the governments of the U.S., India and China in much the same way — I want to correct statements that I made with insufficient care, and that have inflicted unnecessary hurt and caused anger. I do not believe and should not have implied that the policies of the Israeli government are reflective of the views of all Jewish people. Indeed, many are as concerned as I am by the use of violence for state purposes, by Israel and many other governments. I do believe that when a people hold on to historic grievances too firmly it can lead to bitterness and the loss of support from those who would be friends. But as I have noted in previous writings, the suffering of the Jewish people, particularly in the Holocaust, was historic in its proportions. While we must strive for a future of peace that rejects violence, it is also important not to forget the past, lest we fail to learn from it. Having learned from it, we can then find the path to peace and rejection of violence through forgiveness

rose Fri. Jan 18, 2008

I WOULD LIKE TO ASK MR GANDHI HOW CAN YOU TRUST AND SHARE THINGS WITH EXTREMISTS THAT AFTER DOING THAT THEY WILL WANT TO KILL US AND NOT RECOGNIZE OUR STATE?

Susan Tippit Sat. Feb 2, 2008

All anger comes from pain. I believe all he is saying is let go of the pain and go on to love and trust in God. God is love.

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