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Jews persecuted, but must not occupy Arab lands: India’s Gandhi wrote in 1938

Gandhi was of the view that the idea of a Jewish homeland was fundamentally antithetical towards their fight for greater rights elsewhere in the world. Read More

Friday October 13, 2023 1:57 PM, Aleem Faizee, ummid.com

Jews persecuted, but must not occupy Arab lands: India’s Gandhi wrote in 1938

[A fireball erupts from an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on Thursday, October 12, 2023 (Image Credit: Mahmud Hams/AFP)]

Mumbai: In the wake of Hamas attacks into the occupied territories under the Israeli control and the Zionist brutal response - virtually razing to ground a number of residential buildings and killing thousands, attempts are on to erase the historical fact that the Israelis are actually the occupiers and responsible for the crisis in the Middle East.

This fact is explained very forcefully by none other than Mahatma Gandhi, the freedom fighter who steered India’s Independence in 1947. Mahatma Gandhi was in fact among the first to realize the danger the British criminal agenda of pledging a homeland to Jews under the Balfour Declaration of 1917 will pose, and how creation of an illegitimate Israeli state in Palestine will risk the peace not only in the region but the entire world. This clearly was on the same lines as the partition of the Indian Subcontinent that to this day is a major cause of conflict in the region.

At the same time, Mahatma Gandhi admitted that the “Jews have been persecuted” - comparing their persecution with that of Dalits at the hands of Upper Caste in India, and expressed his sympathies to them.

“My sympathies are all with the Jews. They have been the untouchables of Christianity. The parallel between their treatment by Christians and the treatment of untouchables by Hindus is very close. Religious sanction has been invoked in both cases for the justification of the inhuman treatment meted out to them”, Mahatma Gandhi wrote in an article titled “The Jews” published in Harijan on November 26, 1938.

He also wrote that Jews deserved justice and that their legitimate rights must be upheld. He however was strongly opposed to “forceful imposition of Jews on Arabs”.

“It is wrong and inhumane to impose the Jews on the Arabs. 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,” Gandhi wrote in Harijan - a weekly magazine founded by him.

Mahatma Gandhi contended that Palestine was already home to Arab Palestinians and the settlement of Jews, which Britain actively enabled, was fundamentally violent.

“A religious act [the act of Jews returning to Palestine] cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb,” he wrote.

Gandhi felt that the Jews can settle in Palestine only 'with the goodwill of Arabs', and for that they had to 'forgo the British bayonet'.

Gandhi was of the view that the idea of a Jewish homeland was fundamentally antithetical towards their fight for greater rights elsewhere in the world.

“If the Jews have no home but Palestine, will they relish the idea of being forced to leave the other parts of the world in which they are settled?” Gandhi wrote, adding that the Jewish claim for a national home afforded “a colourable justification for the German expulsion of the Jews”.

The Zionists however have always tried hard and used all tools in their hands, and are still using them, to hide these facts. But, how the illegitimate creation of Israel in Palestine and its Zionist expansion agenda have turned the life into a hell for the Palestinians in their own homeland and risk the world peace justify Mahatma Gandhi’s concerns raised in his article.

Possibly realising the danger the Zionist regime in Israel poses to the world, Arun Gandhi felt it necessary to reiterate his grandfather’s position on the crisis, going a step further and blaming the “Israel and Jews for being the biggest players in creating a culture of violence.”

"[The Holocaust] is a very good example of how a community can overplay a historic experience to the point that it begins to repulse friends. It seems to me the Jews today not only want the Germans to feel guilty, but the whole world must regret what happened. When an individual or a nation refuses to forgive and move on, the regret turns into anger”, Arun Gandhi wrote in an article “On Faith” published in January 2008 on a Washington Post/Newsweek blog.

Arun Gandhi is a writer and peace activist and was running the MK Gandhi Institute of Peace and Non-Violence at the University of Rochester, New York state. Whatever he wrote was clearly visible to the world. But, since Israel enjoys the backing of the powerful West led by the United States, all hell broke loose against him. He apologised and later resigned from the institute he was heading.

The Zionists regime in Israel, backed by its masters in the United States and the Western world may be blind because of its huge military power and resources. The world however is not devoid of sane and rationale people. Today majority of peace loving people - despite all Israeli efforts to change the history, are standing with the Palestinians because of the crimes it has committed against them.

Also Read | 'Israel must vacate occupied territories': Vajpayee’s 1977 speech resurfaces

True, the killing of civilians and children in the Hamas attack on October 07, 2023 cannot be justified. But that can’t be the reason for the brazen bombardments of residential buildings in Gaza Strip and killing civilians, women and children and a complete siege of the region which is home to 2.3 million people.

This is an open case of “collective punishment” as the UN experts said and is bound to have retaliation. The western world hence must realise that the Palestinians too have the right to defend them and this right is not limited and reserved to Israelis alone, as asserted by Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI) and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and India's Shashi Tharoor.

[The writer, Aleem Faizee, is the Founder Editor of ummid.com. He can be reached at aleem.faizee@gmail.com]


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