I was surprised to learn that Mahatma Gandhi was anti-Semitic and that his grandson is continuing to promote his twisted philosophy.
In November 1938, Mahatma Gandhi wrote,
The “German persecution of the Jews seems to have no parallel in history”, Gandhi admitted, and if ever there could be a justifiable war, it would be against the Nazis. “But I do not believe in any war.”
So, what does he suggest the Jews do in face of Nazi persecution? “If I were a Jew … I would challenge [the German gentile] to shoot me. … The calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews. … But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy. … The German Jews will score a lasting victory over the German gentiles in that they will have converted that latter to an appreciation of human dignity.”
Restoring the Jews to Palestine was a “crime against humanity”, and the Jews there should follow a similar course in face of Arab aggression, and “offer themselves to be shot or thrown in to the Dead Sea without raising a little finger against them.”
“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.”
Reading this made my head hurt.
Gandhi’s appeal to “accepted canons of right and wrong” makes no sense in the face of the clear historical fact that Judaeo-Christianity, German Nazism, and Arab Islam have entirely different ideas about right and wrong. Was Gandhi really so dim-witted that he didn’t understand that his non-violent protests worked in India ONLY because the British were CHRISTIANS who would not massacre non-violent civilians?
Could he not see that the Nazis specifically rejected Jesus’ teachings about universal human dignity? Nazis believed in brute force and racial superiority, NOT in peace, mercy, forgiveness, and charity toward all. Seeing Jews line up for slaughter would not have shown Nazis that Jews were humans with a right to life. It would have convinced them that Hitler was right about exterminating Jews for the good of humanity.
Gandhi claimed his “canon of right and wrong” put non-violence in the number one position. But note that when he’s talking about Nazis and Jews, he says that anyone using violence to stop Nazis from invading other countries or killing Jews are choosing the greater evil. But then when he’s talking about Arabs and Jews, he excuses Arabs for killing Jews who settle in Israel, because the invasion of another country is the greater evil.
The only really consistent “canon” I see in Gandhi’s belief system is that Jews should die. And his grandson, Arun Gandhi, seems to agree. In 2008, he wrote in the Washington Post:
“Jewish identity in the past has been locked into the Holocaust experience. It is a very good example of how a community can overplay a historic experience to the point that it begins to repulse friends… The world did feel sorry for the episode, but when an individual or a nation refuses to forgive and move on, the regret turns into anger.”
On the political situation in Israel, he added, “The Jewish identity in the future appears bleak… 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.”
Soooooooo … “forgive and move on” applies only to Jews who still mourn the Holocaust 70 years later, but not to Arabs who continue to shed Jewish blood over the founding of the nation of Israel 67 years ago?
For me, Gandhi was no saint by Miriam Shaviv for the Jewish Chronicle Online – February 7, 2008
9 responses to “A few thoughts about Gandhi”
There’s also the fact that Gandhi’s plan to get the British out of India through peaceful resistance was only incidentally effective because the British were a Christian nation. It would have been catastrophic against a morally ambiguous state, like Red China, for example. In fact, it’s impossible to know how many millions of Chinese have been lost attempting to do just that very thing, perhaps inspired by Gandhi. The T-Square slaughter was just the tip of the iceberg.
I personally think his success and lionization were a horrible precedent that has had a disastrous affect on the West, particular the Christian churches. It emboldened all the pacifist elements to the point where all violence – even necessary violence – has been virtually forbidden and condemned. That’s a clear break with almost 2000 years of history where Christians understood that BEING WILLING to die was only part of being a Christian. There is also being willing to fight – actually fight – for justice and to suppress evil. Now, partially thanks to Gandhi, we are only allowed to sacrifice ourselves like lambs to whatever evil manifestation feels like slaughtering us. That is a bad thing.
God made BOTH lambs and lions, and they will both go to heaven, but they will not lie down together until then. Until then, it is a SIN to praise only one and imagine that God made a mistake in making men and women willing to fight for good. It is vanity, pure vanity, to manufacture such ideas when God, Himself, eschews no violence when it is necessary. He brings each and every one of us into the world kicking and screaming and covered with blood, and foolishly, squeamishly, we think him distasteful for doing so. And look how evil has over-run the globe as a result.
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Very well put. As I have said until everyone is sick of hearing me say it, pacifism works only if you get 100% participation; otherwise, it amounts to unilateral disarmament and unconditional surrender.
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Sing it, Bird.
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G.K. Chesterton says something in Orthodoxy about how evil takes a single virtue and blows it all out of proportion. The book was written a long time ago in a different place, so some of his examples and references don’t enlighten me as to his point. But this … the evil that results from elevating pacifism while demonizing just war … this I get. Thanks, Grunt.
Sorry to beat a dead horse. It was your post and your point. Thank YOU! 🙂
RE: GKC, I can think of lots of modern examples of virtue-turned-vice.
1. The Abolition Movement: Temperance is good, therefore we will demand that everyone be perfect teetotalers or we will have them thrown in jail! Take that, boozers!
2. HOAs: It’s so cute when all the houses are well-maintained and orderly. We will vote to require that all our neighbors must paint their houses exactly the same as ours with approved roofing and storm doors and we will crush even the smallest freedom of decision under penalty of fining them into oblivion and home confiscation, and everyone will be happy!
3. Veganism: Loving nature is good, therefore we should eschew all animal products and we will furthermore browbeat all our friends into making this a religious commitment, advertise nationally, have our politicians (Moochelle) force our kids to eat quinoa, and change the world, even though this might actually result in all livestock species becoming extinct and people ruining their health and over-cultivation ruining the planet.
4. Climate Religion: This requires no elaboration, really.
5. Traditionalism/Modernism: I really like how holy this music is. I will not rest until all church services are forced to remove the super-fun rock band liturgies and replace them with this approved music that God likes. Or the opposite is just as bad.
6. Safety-Worshipping: I think you see what I mean here, as well.
7. Excess Modesty/Propriety: This is what got me in such trouble at 4gfc. Some maintain that modesty, purity and propriety in all things is so critical that there is no conceivable situation where any godly person should “cut loose” at all. I tend to disagree, though I respect and revere those qualities.
I already had a similar discussion in the 4gfc blog. Whatever is your opinion of Gandhi, i am not here to opine on that. But i must take exception to this following point: ( i am not directly quoting)
“Was Gandhi that dimwitted that he didn’t know non-violence worked because Britishers were Christians who wouldn’t slaughter innocent people?”
Excuse me, but thats absolutely untrue. Clearly you haven’t read about the Jallianwala bagh or any of other atrocities the Britishers had done on the innocent unarmed freedom fighters. to say they cared about their Christianity more than their own profits is laughable. If the allies cared more about innocents than their war profiting they wouldnt have ignored what the Red Army did. I am a Christian before i am an indian but you can make your point by not distorting truths.
And Grunt, you were part of the discussion in the 4gfc blog and i clearly explained how it wasn’t purely non-violence, indian resistance or Britain ‘s Christianity which earned India its independence. It was more of a financial decision on their part than anything else.
Hi Shal. I appreciated your point then, and I appreciate it now. You are right about the Christian aspect of the British administrators, governors and military being relatively inconsequential. But our point, I think, is that it’s irrelevant. It’s the fact of the Christian nature of the British nation BACK HOME that put the pressure on the government, in addition to the financial pressure.
The same thing worked when Lech Walesa got the communists out of Poland non-violently. In that case, the commies weren’t Christian at all, and neither were the people back home, but they were extremely sensitive and defensive about their appearance to the western world, which WAS Christian. That caused pressure beyond just the financial pressure of the resistance.
It’s our assertion that the moral pressure was essential in both cases, and if that moral pressure had been absent, as it is in China, then the efforts would have been completely ineffective.
You may continue to disagree about that, but I think we are arguing about opinions on causality at this point, and not merely distortion of facts. Nobody is claiming that the British were saints in India. I completely agree that they committed atrocities, despite their Christian roots. I’m not really much of a fan of the British, in general, actually, except when they show some bravery in being our allies against terrorism.
Sorry, Shalini. I really know NOTHING about Gandhi and next to nothing about India or its history. I appreciate your very informed opinions here. It adds a lot to my post.
FTR, I was actually asking the question (dimwitted), not making a statement. I know/knew I didn’t know anything about Gandhi apart from what I read re: his published opinion about Nazis, Jews and Arabs, and his grandson’s recent statements about Jews and Arabs.
Also, I’m Irish-American and those histories I know a bit about, so yeah the Brits weren’t universally saints. Duh. Who is? My point was the national gestalt was Christian. Brits may have behaved badly, but as a nation and as a culture, they espoused Christianity, so appeals to mercy, justice, etc. had a chance of being effective. See also William Wilberforce’s long, but eventually successful efforts to abolish slavery in the UK.
But when you lay down in peaceful resistance before a bully who believes in bloodshed and Might Makes Right, your sacrifice will have no impact on the bully who stomps you into the ground. Obviously, the True God will reward you, but Gandhi wasn’t making that point. So far as I know, he didn’t believe in the Judaeo-Christian God.