Friday, January 11, 2008

An antisemitic column by Ghandi's grandson

As readers of this blog know, I do not label people or writings as antisemitic unless they are blatnatly so. Well Gandhi's grandson has written a column for the Washington Post which is clearly so.

Arun Gandhi is the fifth grandson of “Mahatma” Gandhi and is president and co-founder of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence.

He begins by describing Jews as being
"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."
If his people had lost one out of every three members of its community would he suggest that they "shed" this experience? Then he goes on to posit that
"The holocaust was the result of the warped mind of an individual who was able to influence his followers into doing something dreadful."
An individual? Seems to me that history shows that a whole lot more than one person was involved in making this happen.

He then proclaims that the "Jewish identity in the future appears bleak" because Jews are "anchored to the past" and believe that their "survival can only be ensured by weapons and bombs."

He goes on to describe Israel and its policies as "a snake pit -- with many deadly snakes in it" He asks "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?"

Finally he declares that "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."

This reeks of antisemitism. Jewish identity based on violence? Not a word about suicide bombers? Hamas? Rockets from Gaza? Withdrawal from Gaza?

My question is how did the editors of the Washington Post decide to publish this? Couldn't they have found something more subtle? Didn't they realize that this piece was too heavy handed? I am really disappointed in them.

[In case you have any doubt that past par should be read with a heavy dose of sarcasm.]


Geno1998 said...

I completely agree with your post. I wonder, Did his grandfather express any antisemetic views?

Iv read your books and found them to be excellent. I live in Riverdale in the Bronx. I think you spoke at the Riverdale Jewish center(correct me if Im wrong) and I regret missing it.

Benji Lovitt said...

Why does this remind me of some out-of-touch celebrities who decide to speak out on politics? Just because your grandfather is an icon doesn't make you special.

Speaking of anti-Semites, did you see this?



Well said Professor Lipstadt. Isn't it strange that Gandhi's grandson cannot see what's happening all over India. Maybe he should visit with those insane Jewish farmers who grow fresh lettuce[s] in the Jaffa / Israeli desert.

Ian Thal said...

The saddest irony is that India is one of the few nations where Jewish communities have existed for thousands of years largely free of the oppression so characteristic in other parts of the world.

Sharon said...

The quotes did not sound anti-semitic to me. The snake-pit expression seemed extreme, but as to the basics of what he was saying about Israel - I have heard an Israeli espress great dismay over the policies and actions of his country toward the Palestinians. He said that in Israel there are large numbers who share his views and that there is more open discussion of the issue in Israel than in the US.

To be anti some Israeli policy is not to be anti semitic.
Secondly, I think he had a point worth considering about Jews being stuck in the past over the Nazi's genocide.

Benji Lovitt said...

Sharon, I would say it's not anti-Semitic in the "Jews have big noses/are cheap" vain. But it holds the Jews/Israelis to a different standard than every other country in the world and singles them out. To blame only Israel for its situation is....if it's not anti-Semitism, it still reeks of something.