Arun Gandhi has spent his life embracing and teaching the path of nonviolence that was followed by his grandfather, Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi. In 1987, Arun Gandhi and his family came to the U.S., where he and his wife (now deceased) would found the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence.
It is perhaps inevitable that anyone addressing nonviolence will eventually be asked to give an opinion on the state of Israel, the "Jewish only" state created on land taken from Palestinians in 1948. Israel was established on Palestinian ancestral lands with the use of extreme violence and apartheid, and it maintains itself on those lands with extreme violence and apartheid. Israel contends that all of its acts, including the taking of Palestine, are justified because of the "Holocaust."
In January, 2008, Arun Gandhi was asked to comment on the future of the Jewish identity on the Washington Post's religious blog, "On Faith." He did so, but his comments dated January 7 wound up being posted online as a rough draft without the intended prior editing. Some of his comments included suggestions that "Jewish identity in the past has been locked into the holocaust experience," and he suggested that they move beyond this. "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." His commentary ended with a warning that Israel and the Jews are the biggest players in a dangerous culture of violence.
The unedited, rough copy of his essay resulted in an unusually large number of reader comments (over 400 posts although some were duplicates), and included among them were several intelligent debates between readers, showing that people are moving beyond the stereotypical mindset presented by the mainstream media that portrays all Palestinians as terrorists, and all Israelis and Jews as perpetual victims simply trying to defend themselves. People are finally asking questions about the reasons for the violence in Israel/Palestine.
By far, however, the majority of comments were from primarily anonymous, outraged, pro-Israel individuals who left brief posts that consisted of little more than insults and name-calling. Gandhi was (predictably) labeled an "anti-Semite," because no one can criticize or even comment on Israel's long history of violent atrocities without being branded with this worn-out epithet. He was also called a "nazi," "hateful," "racist," and his family was insulted as well for having suggested that Jews are engaged in violent activities that are dangerous.
One hopelessly unschooled pro-Israel blogger went so far as to state, "Israel has probably done more in the last 50 years to improve the lot of the average Palestinian family, through advances in medicine and technology, than all the Arab country governments put together." Another commenter revealed what appears to be a tendency toward vulgar arrogance displayed by some of today's Zionist Jews, "Arun, You are just miffed that Jews have guns now and know how to use them. Suck it up, pal, and live with the fact that when/if you come to get us it's going to HURT !! Bwahahahhaa Go sit in the corner with the rest of the bigots unless you have the balls to eat lead."
As Jewish outrage roared throughout the month of January over Gandhi's comments, and as the roaring blew his comments into as much of a scandal as possible, Gandhi apologized for the language used, but he refused to apologize for the actual contents and the warning he had given to the public. His apology was not enough to appease those who were offended at being called violent.
Gandhi was forced to resign from the Institute for Nonviolence that he had founded. He stated, "I resigned because I was told by the President of the University that he was under tremendous pressure that I should go. The alternative was that the Institute will be asked to leave. Under the circumstances I decided that since I was the one who stirred up the controversy that I would leave if the Institute was allowed to remain and work on the campus." On January 25, 2008, Gandhi submitted his resignation to the Institute bearing his family name. (1)
While the above public sensation was taking place as a result of Jewish hubris and outrage over a comment suggesting that Jews were engaged in dangerous violence, the Jewish military forces in Israel continued working. During the first week of January, 2008, in Gaza, Jewish jetfighters had already killed 18 Gaza citizens, and Jews in tanks had killed five members of one family after shelling their home. During that first week of January, Jewish troops invaded Nablus and kidnapped 35 civilians, including five children. (2)
On January 16, 2008, according to BBC News, the Jewish military conducted air strikes on Palestinian homes. These are particularly vicious attacks because the Palestinians have no planes, helicopters or tanks, and no way of defending themselves against Jewish military air strikes or Jewish tank and bulldozer attacks. According to the BBC, "The latest attack takes the number of Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza to more than 20 in the past two days." This number included children. The following day, Jews in war jets fired upon a donkey cart, annihilating a mother and her son. On that same day, Jews executed two Palestinians on the spot without judge or jury. This is a common occurrence. (3) (4)
On January 23, 2008, just 48 hours before Arun Gandhi would painfully submit his resignation for having suggested that Israel and Jews were involved in a dangerous culture of violence, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights submitted a report on human rights violations, stating that the total number of Palestinians killed so far in the month of January alone was approximately 70. (5)
Israel has not yet offered an apology to anyone for all it has done to the Palestinians and the Holy Land, and as a state it has not shown any hint of shame or remorse for its 60-year-old history of unstoppable violence, violence that many Jews apparently remain unaware of at this time due to media cover-ups and propaganda. In order to help make them aware, Jewish hubris should not be permitted as a weapon used to silence people who criticize violence. Violent atrocities carried out by any group, any race, any religion, and any nation demand and deserve public disclosure and comment.
Voices like those of Gandhi should be heard, not silenced. Mr. Gandhi will be a guest on Rense Radio on Wednesday, April 30, 2008, at 7:00 PM, Pacific Time.
Mary Sparrowdancer is the author of a bestselling book, The Love Song. She is an independent journalist. www.sparrowdancer.com
1. Personal correspondence.
2. Weekly report. Palestine.
3. BBC. Death toll 20.
5. Human Rights Violations.