Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Family Tradition

PBS is to air tonight the first of the three part series The Jewish Americans. In today's Washington Post, there are responses of panelists. One of the panelists is Arun Ghandi.

Arun Ghandi offers the same advice his grandfather offered when Jews faced an enemy that was bound to annihilate them: go meekly and submit yourselves.

In Tel Aviv in 2004 I had the opportunity to speak to some Members of Parliament and Peace activists all of whom argued that the wall and the military build-up was necessary to protect the nation and the people. In other words, I asked, you believe that you can create a snake pit -- with many deadly snakes in it -- and expect to live in the pit secure and alive? What do you mean? they countered. Well, with your superior weapons and armaments and your attitude towards your neighbors would it not be right to say that you are creating a snake pit? How can anyone live peacefully in such an atmosphere? 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?

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.

Arun Ghandi's words echo that of his grandfather Mahatma Ghandi:

Having rejected both the plea that Palestine should be offered as a place of refuge for the Jews and the idea that the Western democracies should launch a war to overthrow Hitler, Gandhi offered only one avenue for the Jews to resist their persecution while preserving their “self-respect.” Were he a German Jew, Gandhi pronounced, he would challenge the Germans to shoot or imprison him rather than “submit to discriminating treatment.” Such “voluntary” suffering, practiced by all the Jews of Germany, would bring them, he promised, immeasurable “inner strength and joy.” Indeed, “if the Jewish mind could be prepared” for such suffering, even a massacre of all German Jews “could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy,” since “to the God-fearing, death has no terror.”

According to Gandhi, it would (for unexplained reasons) be “easier for the Jews than for the Czechs” (then facing German occupation) to follow his prescription. As inspiration, he offered “an exact parallel” in the campaign for Indian civil rights in South Africa that he had led decades earlier. Through their strength of suffering, he promised, “the German Jews will score a lasting victory over the German Gentiles in the sense that they will have converted [them] to an appreciation of human dignity.” And the same policy ought to be followed by Jews already in Palestine enduring Arab pogroms launched against them: if only they would “discard the help of the British bayonet” for their defense, and instead “offer themselves [to the Arabs] to be shot or thrown into the Dead Sea without raising a little finger,” the Jews would win a favorable “world opinion” regarding their “religious aspiration.”

In a thoughtful personal response dated February 24, 1939, the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber — who had himself emigrated to Israel from Germany a short time earlier and combined his Zionism with earnest efforts to peacefully reconcile Jewish and Arab claims in the Holy Land — chided Gandhi for offering advice to the Jews without any recognition of their real situation. The individual acts of persecution that Indians had suffered in South Africa in the 1890’s hardly compared, Buber noted, to the synagogue burnings and concentration camps instituted by Hitler’s regime. Nor was there any evidence that the many instances in which German Jews peacefully displayed strength of spirit in response to their persecutors had exercised any influence on the latter. While Gandhi exhorted them to bear “testimony” to the world by their conduct, the fate of the Jews in Germany was to experience only an “unobserved martyrdom” without effect.

Both Ghandi's have basically exhorted Jews to submit to those who would slash their throats, be it Germans or Arabs. Israel does have a mighty arsenal and it is justified in having one. I doubt very much if Jews were to “offer themselves [to the Arabs] to be shot or thrown into the Dead Sea without raising a little finger,” the Jews would win a favorable “world opinion” regarding their “religious aspiration.”

Arun Ghandi and Mahatma Ghandi echo the words of terrorists groups. And yet, I see very little criticism from Arun Ghandi on the deadly tactics used by terrorists such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, and so many others. Why no calls from the Ghandis of the world for Arabs to lay down their arms? Why is there the implication that Jews and Israelis should not be allowed to defend themselves? Why do their words imply it is okay to have an open season on Jews? Mahatma Ghandi stated it would be easier for Jews to offer themselves up than it would be for Czechs to do the same. Does that even make sense?

Arun Ghandi is channeling his grandfather when he states Israel armaments are the cause of the violence in the Middle East. No where does he state that the terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens are an impediment. Nor does he say anything about Hezbollahs continued build-up of arms. Nor does he say anything about terrorists groups like Hamas and Fatah using foreign aid to purchase the armaments those groups employ in terrorist attacks.

Arun Ghandi states: 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. He claims Israel and Jews are the biggest players while ignoring the terrorist attacks in India. Why those terror attacks there? Or why the terrorist attacks in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and other places across the world? Does he really mean to say Jews and Israel are the cause? In India, Muslim extremists employ terrorism in an effort to regain Kashmir. Can that really be blamed on Israel and Jews?

To go further, are Jews and Israel to blamed for the ongoing genocide in Darfur committed by Muslim extremists? Israel was not the only country created by the United Nations in the 1940s. Syria, Jordan, and Pakistan are a few. Pakistan is now going through upheavals after Bhutto was assassinated. Pakistan has nuclear weapons as does India. Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. North Korea has nuclear weapons. And yet it is a country of around 7 million that is the instigator of a "Culture of Violence".

To me, the enablers of the "Culture of Violence" are those who hold up signs saying "We are Hezbollah". This is the true detriment to peace: justifying acts of terror. It is those protesters and groups like Peace Now, ISM, and so many others who fail to acknowledge that if Palestinians were to employ the peaceful tactics used by Mahatma Ghandi, there would be a Palestinian state existing side-by-side with the Jewish State of Israel. Why aren't the Ghandis of the world asking the Palestinians to employ peaceful demonstrations? Why aren't the Ghandis of the world asking Palestinians to lay down their arms? Why should Jews be asked to willingly submit to slaughter?


Jack's Shack said...

Some people prefer simple explanations because the complexity of the truth is too much for them.

An Indian said...

You are absolutely correct.

These Gandhis, their stooges Nehrus, and such people have been hypocrites of the highest order. These people claimed that they "won" independence from the British, while completely discounting immense REAL sacrifices made by hundreds of others.

These people want to be "crowned" at the expense of "others' suffering". Owing to the imbecile policies of Gandhis and Nehrus and their stupid followers; Hindus have been paying immense price. These are the people who sabotaged the friendship between India and Israel for a long time.

We are all very happy to see that their bluff is being called now. Once real facts about these parasites are thrown open in broad daylight, their complete ideological, moral, spiritual bankruptsy will become obvious to the world. And then subsequent generations will not be fooled by these cheats.

Advising one people to surrender to horrendously cruel monsters, while condoning the acts of those monsters themselves; and in addition enjoying security, and luxury for themselves afforded at the expense of the same suffering people is only one sample of their hypocritical personality.

Please do recall, like MK Gandhi preached to Jews that they must surrender to Hitler, his stooge Nehru used to sing glories of Stalin while he massacred millions in Russia.

Such dreadful hypocrisy is not only evil (it exemplifies EXTREME VIOLENCE, even though they endeavour to market it as non-violence), but it is also an insult to human suffering.

Anyone who asks Jews to lay down arms without disarming Hamas, and legitimizes Palestinian violent aggerssion while questioning Israel's right of self-defence, is at the very leaast a Satanic- Moron.

And the Gandhis and the Nehrus surely make for the list.

vivek said...

Dear Madam,
You seem to forget that Mahatma Gandhi's advice to the Jews of today- especially in their most productive location in the State of Israel- would be threefold
1)Economic- how to destroy your economy, technology, education, medical system etc. Clearly, the reason Israel is now recognized as a force for peace is because of its enormous success as a knowledge economy with a 20 to 1 income and life-chance differential with the Gaza strip. No one fears that Israel will have to expand to become economically viable. This moderates hostility to it. The fact is proximity to Israel could be the biggest blessing for its neighbours in terms of economic and intellectual progress.
Gandhi would have shown you the quickest way to destroy all that. If he is dead, don't despair there are plenty of holier than thou PhD holders- some no doubt related to you- who will do just as good a job.
2) Defence- again you don't need to channel Gandhi there are plenty of foolish suggestions from liberals on your own door-step
3) Praising Gandhi as you get your throat slit. Here is where you still need the Mahatma. Spirituality has its own place in Life and this is it.