TRANSITION FROM KALI YUGA TO SATHYA YUGA

DISCIPLINE THAT SEEKS TO UNIFY THE SEVERAL EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATIONS OF HUMAN NATURE IN AN EFFORT TO UNDERSTAND INDIVIDUALS AS BOTH CREATURES OF THEIR ENVIRONMENT AND CREATORS OF THEIR OWN VALUES

THE WORLD ALWAYS INVISIBLY AND DANGEROUSLY REVOLVES AROUND PHILOSOPHERS

THE USE OF KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

OLDER IS THE PLEASURE IN THE HERD THAN THE PLEASURE IN THE EGO: AND AS LONG AS THE GOOD CONSCIENCE IS FOR THE HERD, THE BAD CONSCIENCE ONLY SAITH: EGO.

VERILY, THE CRAFTY EGO, THE LOVELESS ONE, THAT SEEKETH ITS ADVANTAGE IN THE ADVANTAGE OF MANY — IT IS NOT THE ORIGIN OF THE HERD, BUT ITS RUIN.

LOVING ONES, WAS IT ALWAYS, AND CREATING ONES, THAT CREATED GOOD AND BAD. FIRE OF LOVE GLOWETH IN THE NAMES OF ALL THE VIRTUES, AND FIRE OF WRATH.

METAMATRIX - BEYOND DECEPTION

Search This Blog

17 January 2013

Why was Gandhi against the Zionists?

Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian nationalist leader, is one of the towering figures of moral authority in the world. He was not in favor of the State of Israel or the Zionists who produced it. Why not?

Gandhi, as a young lawyer, assumed leadership of protest campaigns against apartheid in South Africa and gradually developed his program of nonviolent resistance. His satyagraha (literally, "steadfastness in truth") teaches that you must struggle against injustice, but in a way that does not harm your opponents. Through non-cooperation and civil disobedience India eventually gained independence from the British. Gandhi's ideas and tactics were adopted by others around the world including the American civil rights movement.

In a letter titled "The Jews in Palestine 1938". Gandhi set forth his ideas about the Jews and Arabs in Palestine, then under the British Mandate government. Although he starts off with "My sympathies are all with the Jews", his analysis mostly favors the Arab cause. In the letter he says, among other things:
... my sympathy does not blind me to the requirements of justice. The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me. ... Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?

... if [the Jews in Palestine] must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb.

I am not defending the Arab excesses. I wish they had chosen the way of non-violence in resisting what they rightly regarded as an unwarrantable encroachment upon their country. But according to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.

If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German might... I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment

Gandhi's attitudes toward Zionism were based on his own experiences with the British, a far more civilized opponent than the Jews faced in Germany or ultimately in Palestine/Israel. He also saw the situation in 1938 as British imperialist might being used against the Arabs and in favor of the Jews. Gandhi had first hand experience facing British troops and the British colonialist attitude in Africa and India, but by 1938 his experience was out of date. In the British Mandate for Palestine, British strategic interests in oil, the Suez Canal, and protecting India and their other colonies far outweighed any committment to Zionism. The British had turned decidedly against the Jews with arbitrary limits on immigration, limits on land sales and refusal of the British authorities to "interfere" in the increasing Arab violence against the Jews.

Gandhi either did not know or did not acknowledge the history of the Jews, who never left the land since Biblical times and who came to settle the unproductive, lightly populated land in the 19th century. He writes as if large numbers of Jews were of late pushing aside the long-settled native Arab population, aided by British force, a highly inaccurate and unjust portrayal as is amply documented elsewhere.

And he seems to think that the Jews had the alternative of merely staying where they were, in the countries of Europe. But Zionism arose in the first place as a reaction to the uncomfortable and dangerous position of the Jews in Europe who faced endless centuries of abuse and death under regimes of all stripes in all countries. And the worst was yet to come.

Gandhi asks, why can't the Jews, "make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?". Perhaps it was not totally clear to Gandhi in 1938, but by 1945 nearly every Jew to whom that question could be directed in 1938 was dead, Jews who had been living in Germany, Austria, Poland, and a long list of other countries, a well-known total of about six million. German Jews whose ancestors were living on the Rhine long before the Germanic tribes arrived were dead. Jews in France, Poland, and elsewhere were gleefully handed over to the Nazis even when it was not required by the Germans. So it is not unnatural for many Jews to conclude that maybe those Zionist zealots were right, after all, and the Jews better have their own country where they make the rules.

Gandhi's non-violent methods of protest worked for him in India against the relatively civilized British, but would similar methods have turned the tide of the Holocaust? If anything, Jews now believe that violent resistence, started early on might have made a difference.

Gandhi says, in a quote beloved by supporters of the Palestinian Arabs:
Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs... Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.

Unfortunately for the logic of the conclusion, the first sentence could be truthfully written "Palestine belongs to the Jews in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French." Regardless of Gandhi's opinion, the Jews have a well-documented stronger claim to the land of "Palestine" than the Arabs, based on both ancient heritage and modern history. So why not conclude that it would be wrong to forbid the return of Jews to join their brethern in their ancient homeland? Gandhi could have said, with better factual support:
Surely it would be a crime against humanity to prohibit the Jews so that Palestine can be underutilized by a small number of modern Arab immigrants?

Gandhi's remarks about Zionists entering Palestine "under the shadow of the British gun" come straight from Gandhi's own struggle in the British colonies. But his facts are out of date. By the late 1930's British policy had reversed and was holding Jewish immigration to intolerably small numbers given developments in Europe. It was British insistance on keeping Jewish refugees out of Palestine as they tried to flee the Nazis, and later British internment of DP refugees after the war in British camps as filthy and disgusting as the Nazi concentration camps, that turned a small minority of the Jews toward terrorism. So the point should be that the Arabs could have tried to "amicably settle the issues between the two parties" instead of using "the help of the British bayonet."

Paul Power, Gandhi biographer, says four factors influenced Gandhi's position on Zionism:
He was sensitive about the ideas of Muslim Indians who were anti-Zionists because of their sympathy for Muslim Middle Eastern Arabs opposed to the Jewish National Home

He objected to any Zionist methods inconsistent with his way of non-violence

He found Zionism contrary to his pluralistic nationalism, which excludes the establishment of any State based solely or mainly on one religion

He apparently believed it imprudent to complicate his relations with the British, who held the mandate in Palestine

Martin Buber, the Jewish philosopher, questioned Gandhi on Arab "ownership" of Palestine:
By what means did the Arabs attain to the right of ownership in Palestine? Surely by conquest and, in fact, a conquest followed by settlement. . . . Settlement by force of conquest justifies for you a right of ownership of Palestine; whereas a settlement such as the Jewish one [at the time of writing, by peaceful means] . . . does not justify, in your opinion, any participation in this right of possession. Such logic necessarily justifies possession based on conquest-settlement after a number of generations, and we are reminded that the Jews’ ancestors originally took the land by conquest and settlement too; also that they were forcibly expelled from it.

In other words, by Gandhi's own criteria the Jews have a superior claim to the land, a claim obscured by the Jews' forcible expulsion in the past, an event now held against them. But even if the entire history before 1850 is ignored, Gandhi does not recognize that Palestine is not India and the Zionists are not the British. In the mid-19th century Palestine was a lightly populated, backwater province of the Ottoman Empire with both Arabs and Jews as long-time residents. European Jews came slowly, bought land for development and built a modern state. Arabs at first benefited from the modernization brought by the Zionists, but eventually turned against them and used violence in the name of pan-Arabism and later the newly minted idea of a Palestinian Arab state. Gandhi's analysis does not grapple with this narrative but rather tries to fit Gandhi's life experience in other countries to the facts in Palestine.

After gaining independence, India adopted an ambiguous policy towards Israel; deciding on a half-hearted delayed recognition of the Jewish state but refusing to establish full diplomatic relations. The unfinished agenda of Kashmir, Nehru's dream of leading a non-aligned bloc and the existence of a post-partition traumatised Muslim minority in India caused Delhi to view any positive gesture towards Israel as harmful to its vital interests, despite the failure of the Arabs to reciprocate during India's wars with China (1962) and Pakistan (1965 and 1971), growing public dissension, and the formation of the pro-Israel Janata government. If the price for making the Arabs happy was to refuse establishing full diplomatic relations with Jerusalem and criticise Israel at various international forums, the Indian leadership showed no hesitation to pay it.

With the change in the international balance of power after the 1991 Gulf War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, India gradually began to identify Indian political and economic interests with the West. In this changed atmosphere, India and Israel finally found the opportunity to normalize their relations. Today, there is a strong partnership between the countries on many levels including important technological, trade, and educational developments of significance to both countries.

SOURCE: http://208.84.118.121/pf_faq_palestine_gandhi.php

No comments: