Friday, July 18, 2008

Conscripting Gandhi

In his propaganda piece, Not the Gandhi of South Africa (The Australian - where else? - 11/7/08), Israel apologist Alan Gold (described as an "author" and "delegate to the UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa") takes the sjambok to Nelson Mandela.

"I received an email from a SA friend," he tells us, "who has long been mystified by the international reverence of Mandela." Gold is equally mystified, considering that Mandela "was one of the leaders of the African National Congress, who created an armed wing called the Umkhonto we Sizwe or Spear of the Nation, which was dedicated to bombing civilian, industrial, military and government targets. South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has accused it of torture and executions without due process. And far from being a prisoner of conscience... Mandela was jailed for advocating the violent overthrow of the government." He also, according to Gold, "refused to publicly denounce terrorism as a weapon." In brief, concludes Gold, Mandela is not the Gandhi of South Africa - who "showed the world that non-violent non-co-operation is a far deadlier weapon than bombs and bullets."

Put to one side Gold's failure to place Mandela's 'terrorism' in the context of the greater terrorism of the white supremacist regime. Put to one side the spectacle of an advocate for the state of Israel, a state which has been raining "bombs and bullets" on the indigenous people of Palestine since its inception, which was apartheid South Africa's staunchest friend and ally, and which is, in fact, today's sole remaining apartheid state (See my 14/6/08 post, A Certain Jewish Tree Planting Group), condemning the champion of a people who suffered and died under another rain of "bombs and bullets," many of them from Israeli arsenals. The double standard is standard for Zionist propagandists. It's the chutzpah of conscripting Gandhi, of all people, in the service of his 'cause' that interests me.

What did the Mahatma think of the project to turn Arab Palestine into a Jewish state? The following is taken from G H Jansen's Zionism, Israel & Asian Nationalism, pp 169- 173:-
"... the Zionists tried and failed to gain the friendship of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of modern India... The Zionists did not pursue Gandhi merely because he was an influence in Asia, rather because he had a large following in the West... He was, after all considered a saint by many, and his endorsement of Zionism would have given the movement a certain moral and ethical weight. But no such endorsement, or even an expression of sympathy with Zionist aims, was forthcoming from him. Gandhi totally rejected the idea of Zionism which produced the state of Israel. His opposition remained consistent over a period of nearly 20 years and remained firm despite the skilful and varied application to him of that combination of pressure and persuasion known as lobbying.

"The Mahatma's wholly negative reaction to Zionism may surprise some people who would assume that the man who strove to win equality for India's outcasts would, out of compassion, be moved into a position of sympathy for the Jews, the outcasts of European Gentile society, and consequently of support for the Jewish State. This did not happen for 2 reasons.

"First, Gandhi believed in seeing all sides of a question; it followed that the Mahatma would reject the idea of establishing the Jewish State in Arab Palestine without consideration for the native inhabitants, even though the Jews in Europe were being persecuted.

"Secondly, the Zionists who approached Gandhi did not succeed in linking in the mind of the Mahatma the fate of European Jewry with the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. His assessment of the problem of anti-Semitism and Jewish survival in Europe was based on his own experience with non-violence, first in South Africa, then in India, and on his belief in a multi-religious society...

"In [an] article [in his magazine Harijan on November 26, 1938], Gandhi wrote that his sympathies were all with the Jews, whom he had known intimately in South Africa and some of whom had become life-long companions... But this sympathy should not obscure the requirements of justice. Gandhi thought that the Jews, like other peoples of the earth, should insist upon making their home in their country of birth, instead of demanding a country belonging to other people. '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. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. 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. The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred. The Jews born in France are French in precisely the same sense that Christians born in France are French...'

"Gandhi admitted that the German persecution of the Jews had no parallel in history... But [he] prescribed an alternative to violence against the Nazis: defiant, non-violent resistance on the part of the German Jews. '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, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon. I would refuse to be expelled or submit to discriminating treatment'...

"The Mahatma's post-war attitude was summed up in a conversation he had with Louis Fischer, in which the Mahatma stated that the Jews of Germany had made the mistake of submitting passively to Hitler... the Jews should not have offered themselves to the butcher's knife; 'they should have thrown themselves into the sea' and committed harikiri rather than submit. When Fischer asked if Gandhi meant that the Jews should have committed collective suicide, Gandhi replied: 'That would've been heroism. It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to the evils of Hitler's violence, especially in 1938, before the war. As it is, they succumbed anyway in their millions'.

"Lest it be thought too harsh a judgement it should be noted that when, concurrently with the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the Israeli Government arranged educational displays on 'the holocaust' in Israeli schools, the younger generation of Israelis was neither moved nor impressed but merely enquired, with shame and indignation, why the German Jews had not fought back."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Talking about 'Gandhi'' if only the Muslims could come up with a Muslim version of Gandhi that could solve peacefully their problems with the Jews,Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and between themselves.. but hey that's wishful thinking!