[Arun Gandhi making the mandatory “Apartheid Wall” visit. Notice the “peace scarf” in full effect…]
Back in January, M.K. “Arun” Gandhi—the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi—was criticized for writing an anti-Semitic screed in the “On Faith” section of the Washington Post’s website. The article, “Jewish Identity Can’t Depend on Violence,” resulted in Gandhi’s resignation as president as the M.K. Gandhi Center for Nonviolence at the University of Rochester. Here are some choice quotes:
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 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…
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.
It’s difficult for a Jewish person (unless you’re a self-loather or the Norman Finkelstein variety) to read these words and not assume they were written by someone completely ignorant of Jewish history, identity, and geopolitical realities faced by the state of Israel.
In the minds of the “peace activists” like Mr. Gandhi, Israelis are expected to turn the other cheek while rockets are launched on a daily basis. Gandhi is aware what the military response of his country of origin, India, would be if attacked by neighboring Pakistan. It would be swift and far from “proportionate,” I guarantee you that.
Plus, Gandhi is clearly out of touch with what’s happening in Israel. The popularity and trust in politicians may be at all-time low but Israel’s economy is a leader in high-technology, communications, and medicine. In terms of social and political rights, especially for women, Israel is unrivaled in the region. Perhaps most importantly, Israel is a place where Jews can live as a majority. For a people who have spent millennia as a persecuted minority this is no small matter.
Now I read that Gandhi is returning to Rochester for a discussion on “How People of Differing Faiths and Across Differing Cultures Can Discuss Issues with Potential for Misunderstanding and Hurt.” How someone can write those sort of hateful and uniformed comments and then be invited to discuss cross-cultural understanding says a lot about the university system in the United States.