Do we really need another ‘Gandhi’?

on 59 Comments

 Calls abound for another Gandhi — particularly when the subject is the Palestinian struggle for human rights and self-determination. Nicholas Kristof is just the latest. The main reason why my business partner and I called our latest venture the Palestinian Gandhi Project is that this is the language used by everyone else. “Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?” they ask when I speak to almost any audience. Or, “if the Palestinians would just follow the lead of Gandhi….” (there would be peace, or Israel would have to give them freedom, is the unfinished end to that sentence).

That’s the reason I recently started the Palestinian Gandhi Project with a “business” partner – to respond with pictures and videos rather than with just words. But, as one friend recently pointed out, none of the individuals we showcase on our website — or even those who are leading the increasingly well-publicized marches in the West Bank — have the stature of Mohandas Gandhi (“Mahatma” means “Great Soul” and is not his real name, contrary to what appears to be popular opinion). That is true; Gandhi commanded a mass following and loyalty – and achieved an impact — that no Palestinian living today is close to emulating. (However, as I pointed out in my last post, some clearly have the potential and Israel is doing its level best to snuff them out.)

However, that is not where I believe the focus should be. Waiting for the next “savior” is an easy excuse that lets too many people off the hook, delaying the pain that all revolutions require from each of us. History has demonstrated repeatedly that personality “cults” are dangerous. The Barak Obama campaign is a very recent, clear case in point. So much adulation was directed his way by progressives and moderates alike — desperate for deliverance from the Bush years — that anyone sounding a note of caution or reservation was virtually shunned. I had just that experience during a book discussion group centered on Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope.” I sensed throughout the pages a lack of backbone, an unwillingness to take a stand and stick to it. But when I tried to express that concern, I was almost railroaded out of the house. That desperate hope for a “prince in shining armor” swept him into office. Many in the progressive movement disengaged, sitting back with a sigh of relief now that a new messiah had been found.

Now look where we are today. Obama has disappointed many, and the progressive movement is only now beginning to regain its former strength, through the “Occupy” movement. Rather, in my opinion, we all must look for, support and celebrate the Gandhian potential within us, and within others. As Clay Sharkey observed in his book, “Here Comes Everybody,” “many jobs that we regard as the province of a single mind actually require a crowd.” That is what the Palestinian Gandhi Project is all about – lifting up the budding leaders and contributors who just need a bit of a megaphone.

But that raises the question of just what we mean by “Gandhian.” Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories,” wrote in his blog recently, “the espousal of nonviolent politics is a necessary but far from sufficient reason for christening a momentous political occasion as a Gandhian moment.” In addition, he writes, in order to be Gandhian, an individual or movement must demonstrate an “unconditional commitment to non-violence of the sort that Gandhi made the signature of his life and theory.” Using these criteria, he says, Nelson Mandela does not qualify, since he never recanted his support for armed resistance to the apartheid regime in South Africa on the part of the African National Congress. And, likewise, I know of few Palestinians – even those who are active practitioners of non-violent protest — who will take violent resistance completely off the table in terms of future options, no matter how much they desire not to use it. Does that make Mandela, or Palestinian leaders such as Mohammed Khatib, any less deserving of the Gandhian mantle? I don’t think so.

Falk goes on to say that another defining characteristic of Gandhi’s legacy is his dedication to “the politics of impossibility” – that is, “dedication to goals that are beyond the limits of the feasible as they are conventionally understood.” This is indeed what defines the individuals we are seeking to highlight in the Palestinian Gandhi Project – Palestinians living under occupation or displacement but who work peacefully to make the impossible achievable, nonetheless.

About Pam Bailey

Pam Bailey is founder of and international secretary for the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor. She is based in Washington, DC, and travels to the Middle East frequently.

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59 Responses

  1. TomAmitaiUSA
    October 13, 2011, 11:12 am

    I don’t know if you’ve seen this article from 2005, but I think it makes a good argument that a “Palestinian Gandhi” would have a much tougher time struggling against the Israelis than the original did against the Brits.

    • David Samel
      October 13, 2011, 11:43 am

      Tom, that is a classic article from HaCohen that is a must-read. It says volumes about the Israeli preference for violent resistance, even fake violent resistance. Thanks for reminding us of it.

  2. matter
    October 13, 2011, 11:20 am

    The real question: where is the Israeli de Klerk?

    Mandela got nowhere until the South African apartheid government realized the game was over. Likewise, the usurping Zionist entity must come to the same realization. Otherwise, the only alternative is total military defeat.

    • Pam Bailey
      October 13, 2011, 1:38 pm

      Yes, exactly….It is so FRUSTRATING that the question about Gandhi, or about why the Palestinians “keep shooting rockets,” is the first thing out of people’s mouths instead of why the Israelis are lacking a visionary leader of their own…

      • Real Jew
        October 13, 2011, 5:50 pm

        The reason why people have a knee jerk reaction to blame Palestinian rockets is because of the bias MSM that only reports Palestinian aggression.

        My parents have an international satellite at their house which receives channels such as Al jazeera and others. As u watch a report/story about Israel/Palestine on CNN, then turn to AJ and watch the same story ,its like night and day. CNN reports about the 2 idf soldiers who died while others report the 18 men women and children who also died in the incident. Most Americans watch CNN

      • Pam Bailey
        October 13, 2011, 9:57 pm

        You know what’s interesting? When I lived in Gaza, I was shocked to discover that many of the Palestinians there hate Al Jazeera. They consider it biased towards Hamas and “Islamist” movements in general. I was puzzled, because I think the coverage is superb. I finally realized that the Arabic Al Jazeera is different from the English version.

  3. Dex
    October 13, 2011, 11:25 am

    There are a lot of misconceptions about Gandhi and his beliefs. While it is true that he advocated non-violence as the highest form of resistance, he also believed that if a person is unable to bring him/herself to stand in front of a gun and take a bullet for the cause, he believed that person should pick up a gun and fighting back.

    How many human beings do any of us know that are willing to just stand there and be shot? Not many. So this “Palestnians need a Gandhi” talk is a load of nonsense aimed at discouraging Palestinians from resisting.

    I should also note that the overwhelming majority of resistance by Pals is and has long been non-violent.

    • Woody Tanaka
      October 13, 2011, 11:51 am

      “So this ‘Palestnians need a Gandhi’ talk is a load of nonsense aimed at discouraging Palestinians from resisting.”

      Yup. It’s a Zionist tactic: “You wait for [insert arbitrary condition (a Gandhi, a “negotiated settlement”, etc.)] while I steal all your lands.”

  4. pabelmont
    October 13, 2011, 11:46 am

    People have an image of a “Gandhi”, and it matters little how close it is to a 50-year old reality. HOWEVER, it matters much that the real Gandhi was opposing British imperialism, and Britain could “go home” and finally did so, whereas Israel has nowhere to go (although in principle it could “go home” to the extent of withdrawing settlers and army from the OPTs). THAT SAID, the dynamic is different. Israel was created to steal land and its people and leaders believe deeply that they have and always had a right to that stealing. and that right is felt to extend to the West Bank and Golan.

    So the problem of the Gandhi encouraging Israel to “go home” is that Israel deeply believes that it IS at home. It is a different problem, and Israel’s settler colonialism is vastly different from Britain’s economic colonialism.

  5. Tzombo
    October 13, 2011, 12:21 pm

    Palestinian Gandhi is probably in an Israeli jail as we speak.

  6. yourstruly
    October 13, 2011, 12:36 pm

    “dedication to goals that are beyond the limits of the feasable”

    or, the folly of only seeking reform

    if, that is, the goal is to engage in the pursuit of a just and peaceful world

    utopia bound?

    why not, being that the reemergence of the popular will. the better to provide purpose and direction to the already existing know-how and resources (world gdp/individual = approximately $8500 dollars*) that it’ll take to realize the heretofore too good to be true

    and all this at a time when life on earth is being threatened

    long live the occupy wall street movement

    long live

    long live those eighteen miraculous days in tahrir square

    long live

    world gdp – as of 2009, world gdp = 58.26 trillion dollars & world population = 6.8 billion (google)

    • yourstruly
      October 13, 2011, 12:52 pm

      and long live palestine

      long live

      • yourstruly
        October 14, 2011, 12:25 am

        and with this 99 percenters worldwide awakening?

        doomsday averted

        long live a just and peaceful world

        long live

  7. Ellen
    October 13, 2011, 12:45 pm

    Maybe another reason there will not be the appearance of a Gahndi or DeKlerk for Israel is that so many Israelis hold citizenship in another country. A net for colonialist, and with the out, there is no reason for change. Meanwhile, the Zionist enterprise can continue for all it is worth to those who benefit.

    “Passports? If the Palestinian people already had one real passport, maybe the Israelis wouldn’t need two. If Israel were to try at long last to be accepted in its region, with all that entails, then maybe the region would open to it by means of a single, blue and white passport. If Israel were also to take the advice of its friends in the world, especially in the countries of Europe, then perhaps we wouldn’t need their passports.

    Israel is strong and established and ostensibly its passport should be sufficient for its citizens. The fact that it is not sufficient for many of them testifies, more than a thousand passports, that something has gone deeply wrong here. …. Anyone who can obtain an additional passport is of course invited to do so, but on the way back from the embassy he should ask whether his country has done everything in its power to ensure he will not need it. The answer to this is a resounding no.”

    • Walid
      October 13, 2011, 1:52 pm

      Gandhi was good in his time for the job at hand and against the thin-skinned Brits but today against the ruthless Israelis, his approach would be futile. He did a lot for India but had he not been shot, he would have had the people continuing to spin their cotton for their personal use instead of developing India into today’s thriving industry. What worked yesterday wouldn’t necessarily work today or tomorrow. Can you have a better Palestinian Gandhi than Abbas and what has he gotten the Palestinians?

      • Pam Bailey
        October 13, 2011, 2:13 pm

        Ohhhh, Walid, I wouldn’t call Abbas a Gandhi! Abbas acts for the most part in his own self-interest. He gets a lot of money from the U.S., etc. and mostly just wants to protect that. He only finally took a stand at the UN because public opinion wouldn’t put up with it anymore (post Palestine Papers)…

      • Walid
        October 13, 2011, 2:56 pm

        Pam, I was being sarcastic. Israelis trampled the guy and he still wanted to negotiate. They built a zillion more settlements and he still wanted to negotiate. Netanyahu and Company could never get a more docile opponent.

      • Pam Bailey
        October 13, 2011, 10:04 pm

        Yes….in other words, a doormat. He is too dependent on international money going into his personal coffers..

    • DBG
      October 13, 2011, 1:54 pm

      Ellen, quit being dishonest, the second passport is used because they are restricted travel to many countries which don’t recognize the “zionist regime”

      • Ellen
        October 13, 2011, 2:06 pm

        DBG, I am not being dishonest. You cast aspersions. And while doing that whip out the ole’ victim “everyone hates us blah blah blah…” card

        Regardless of the reason WHY so many Israeli citizens hold or seek a second passport, the fact is they do.

        And with that enjoy the freedom of possibility with a second passport. And that so many Israeli’s enjoy two citizenships could be one impediment to solving the problems of colonialism and occupation.

        Do so many Israeli’s really wish to travel to Saudi Arabia?

      • Walid
        October 13, 2011, 3:00 pm

        Ellen, the second passport also entitles them to cash in on social benefits from both countries. It has to do with money.

      • Shingo
        October 15, 2011, 5:14 pm

        Ellen, quit being dishonest, the second passport is used because they are restricted travel to many countries which don’t recognize the “zionist regime”

        Which countries do Israelis tend to visit that do not recognize Israel DBG?

        BTW. Using false passports to carry out assassinations doesn’t count.

  8. American
    October 13, 2011, 1:58 pm

    Too late for a Gahndi. The zios now own Obama and the war game is afoot once again. This is a wild and irresponsible statement by Obama. Reminds me of the fake intell and stove piping and Curveball disinfo that went on in the Bush adm leading to the Iraq invasion.

  9. HarryLaw
    October 13, 2011, 2:03 pm

    Norman Finkelstein’s study of Gandhi reveals a man of many contradictions, for instance, he (Gandhi) says when confronted by a bully, if you are being humiliated, then you had better hit back and hit back hard.

    In Gandhi’s philosophy there was no greater failing in a human being than being a coward. Two other examples from Finkelstein’s website:

    Resolving the Israeli Palestine conflict – what we can learn from Gandhi.
    Although “not defending the Arab excesses” during the 1936-39 Arab revolt in Palestine, and although “wishing they had chosen the way of nonviolence in resisting what they rightly regarded as an unwarranted encroachment upon their country”. Gandhi nonetheless maintained that “according to the accepted cannons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds”.

    And however much he deplored violence, Gandhi did deem it much preferable to inaction in the face of injustice. Should one be incapable of non violently resisting an outrage, the only honorable option would be to resist violently, whereas flight would be wholly shameful. For, if there was one thing Gandhi detested more than violence, it was “mute submissiveness” and what was yet worse, such submissiveness masquerading as non violent resistance. He regarded, not violence but pusillanimity and effeminateness as the most contemptable of personal failings etc.

    • livingbridge
      October 15, 2011, 10:06 am

      Your comment is essential to this discussion.

      Gandhi’s recommendation of nonviolence has been completely distorted.

      Gandhi wrote something to the effect that, in a resistance movement, nonviolence is the preferred approach, but to be reconsidered if / when a non-response from the Power structure became an insupportable ‘burden to the soul’.

      I have regular arguments with an acquaintance in Jenin, who espouses Gandhian non-violence to the point where he enables Jewish Israelis to have much too much input in his movement, an admirable project, designed to include / unify diaspora Palestinians in common causes and projects in Palestine proper.

      It’s been quite an experience to be accused of something just short of anti-Zionism … by a Palestinian! Whew!

      While I’m no advocate of violence, I believe that the parts of what I consider to be excessive Palestinian passivity need to be to be reexamined, as one might a broken machine.

      I’ve stepped back, because my suggestions as to what my friend might do are no less pretentious than those of the Jewish Israelis he admits in his inner circle. — Let the Palestinians find their own way, but I hope one day they’ll reconsider the distorted Gandhianism that’s being drilled into them

      • annie
        October 15, 2011, 10:54 am

        I hope one day they’ll reconsider the distorted Gandhianism that’s being drilled into them

        this presumes non violence at this juncture is not a palestinian initiative.

      • livingbridge
        October 15, 2011, 12:16 pm

        this presumes non violence at this juncture is not a palestinian initiative.

        Well, yes. Is it not obvious? Non-violent actions constitute the only tool left to the Palestinians, after 63 years of violation of international law and abuse. They who happen not possess 300+ nuclear warheads and the most sophisticated spy networks and WMDs known to mankind are left with little choice.

        My point was that Gandhi’s appeal for “non violence” conveniently has been distorted by Western pundits, when Gandhi himself stated that there were specific, moral limits to the method, in the event that it became self-imposed oppression; ie, identification with the oppressor.

        Far be it for me to recommend anything to the Palestinians, but I maintain that they should be encouraged to engage in a wholly independent, unique strategy.

      • annie
        October 15, 2011, 12:47 pm

        yes, i understood your point the first time around livingbridge and my comment was not intended to distract from it.

        Non-violent actions constitute the only tool left to the Palestinians, after 63 years of violation of international law and abuse.

        ok, i get that. i’m just not understanding why, if non-violent actions constitute the only tool left to the Palestinians, it requires an outsider to ‘drill that into them’. my question is at this juncture why you do not believe this choice is initiated by palestinians. and no i do not think there is any obvious indication it is not. for example, the assumption that bds (now in it’s 6th year) which is an effective means of non violent resistance has been ‘drilled’ into them is simply false. it is entirely palestinian initiated. in fact i believe all along the most common form of resistance has always been non violent. the initial phases of the 1st intifada was non violent. so what about non violent resistance leads you to believe, or in your phrasing makes it obvious, this is not something participating palestinians have chosen on their own at this juncture?

      • livingbridge
        October 15, 2011, 1:52 pm

        <iok, i get that. i’m just not understanding why, if non-violent actions constitute the only tool left to the Palestinians, it requires an outsider to ‘drill that into them’.

        Oh, come on. Since 1947, if not decades earlier, the native Palestinian population [Jews included] were left with no choice about anything, much less their lives, livelihood and destinies. Like as many encaged animals, they’ve thrashed about, trying to make themselves heard and understood, to no avail.

        Zionist European immigrants smuggled sophisticated arms and, with the backing of the European financial oligarchy, managed to crush not only native Palestinians but the populations of surrounding countries.

        I know your commentary on this website well enough to know that you understand what I’m saying.

        The imposition of the bastardized notion of Gandhian peaceful resistance as applied to a last resort for Palestinians is an insult to the intelligence of any human with a conscience. — I think we can be assured by now that Gandhi himself would have objected.

        That was my point.

  10. Walid
    October 13, 2011, 2:10 pm

    Slightly off-topic but interesting nonetheless since it involves Gandhi and the Jews in an opinion he published in 1938 about the question of the Jews, the Nazis and Palestine and some here may not be aware of it:

    Prophetic words from Mohatma Gandhi in 1938

    “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and in-human 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.”

    Several letters have been received by me asking me to declare my views about the Arab-Jew question in Palestine and the persecution of the Jews in Germany. It is not without hesitation that I venture to offer my views on this very difficult question.

    My sympathies are all with the Jews. I have known them intimately in South Africa. Some of them became life-long companions. Through these friends I came to learn much of their age-long persecution. 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. Apart from the friendships, therefore, there is the more common universal reason for my sympathy for the Jews.

    But 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. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after return to Palestine. 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?

    Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and in-human 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. 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? Or do they want a double home where they can remain at will? This cry for the national home affords a colourable justification for the German expulsion of the Jews.

    But the German persecution of the Jews seems to have no parallel in history. The tyrants of old never went so mad as Hitler seems to have gone. And he is doing it with religious zeal. For he is propounding a new religion of exclusive and militant nationalism in the name of which any inhumanity becomes an act of humanity to be rewarded here and hereafter. The crime of an obviously mad but intrepid youth is being visited upon his whole race with unbelievable ferocity. If there ever could be a justifiable war in the name of and for humanity, a war against Germany, to prevent the wanton persecution of a whole race, would be completely justified. But I do not believe in any war. A discussion of the pros and cons of such a war is therefore outside my horizon or province.

    But if there can be no war against Germany, even for such a crime as is being committed against the Jews, surely there can be no alliance with Germany. How can there be alliance between a nation which claims to stand for justice and democracy and one which is the declared enemy of both? Or is England drifting towards armed dictatorship and all it means?

    Germany is showing to the world how efficiently violence can be worked when it is not hampered by any hypocrisy or weakness masquerading as humanitarianism. It is also showing how hideous, terrible and terrifying it looks in its nakedness. Can the Jews resist this organised and shameless persecution? Is there a way to preserve their self-respect, and not to feel helpless, neglected and forlorn? I submit there is. No person who has faith in a living God need feel helpless or forlorn. Jehovah of the Jews is a God more personal than the God of the Christians, the Mussalmans or the Hindus, though, as a matter of fact in essence, He is common to all and one without a second and beyond description. But as the Jews attribute personality to God and believe that He rules every action of theirs, they ought not to feel helpless. 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 may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this, I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance but would have confidence that in the end the rest are bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now. And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy which no number of resolutions of sympathy passed in the world outside Germany can. Indeed, even if Britain, France and America were to declare hostilities against Germany, they can bring no inner joy, no inner strength. The calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. 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 that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For to the Godfearing, death has no terror. It is a joyful sleep to be followed by a waking that would be all the more refreshing for the long sleep.

    It is hardly necessary for me to point out that it is easier for the Jews than for the Czechs to follow my prescription. And they have in the Indian satyagraha campaign in South Africa an exact parallel. There the Indians occupied precisely the same place that the Jews occupy in Germany. The persecution had also a religious tinge. President Kruger used to say that the white Christians were the chosen of God and Indians were inferior beings created to serve the whites. A fundamental clause in the Transvaal constitution was that there should be no equality between the whites and coloured races including Asiatics. There too the Indians were consigned to ghettos described as locations.

    The other disabilities were almost of the same type as those of the Jews in Germany. The Indians, a mere handful, resorted to satyagraha without any backing from the world outside or the Indian Government. Indeed the British officials tried to dissuade the satya-grahis from their contemplated step. World opinion and the Indian Government came to their aid after eight years of fighting. And that too was by way of diplomatic pressure not of a threat of war.

    But the Jews of Germany can offer satyagraha under infinitely better auspices than the Indians of South Africa. The Jews are a compact, homogeneous community in Germany. They are far more gifted than the Indians of South Africa. And they have organized world opinion behind them. I am convinced that if someone with courage and vision can arise among them to lead them in non-violent action, the winter of their despair can in the twinkling of an eye be turned into the summer of hope. And what has today become a degrading man-hunt can be turned into a calm and determined stand offered by unarmed men and women possessing the strength of suffering given to them by Jehovah. It will be then a truly religious resistance offered against the godless fury of dehumanised man. The German Jews will score a lasting victory over the German gentiles in the sense that they will have converted the latter to an appreciation of human dignity. They will have rendered service to fellow-Germans and proved their title to be the real Germans as against those who are today dragging, however unknowingly, the German name into the mire.

    And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they 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. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart. The same God rules the Arab heart who rules the Jewish heart. They can offer satyagraha in front of the Arabs and offer themselves to be shot or thrown into the Dead Sea without raising a little finger against them. They will find the world opinion in their favour in their religious aspiration. There are hundreds of ways of reasoning with the Arabs, if they will only discard the help of the British bayonet. As it is, they are co-sharers with the British in despoiling a people who have done no wrong to 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.

    Let the Jews who claim to be the chosen race prove their title by choosing the way of non-violence for vindicating their position on earth. Every country is their home including Palestine not by aggression but by loving service. A Jewish friend has sent me a book called The Jewish Contribution to Civilisation by Cecil Roth. It gives a record of what the Jews have done to enrich the world? literature, art, music, drama, science, medicine, agriculture, etc. Given the will, the Jew can refuse to be treated as the outcaste of the West, to be despised or patronised. He can command the attention and respect of the world by being man, the chosen creation of God, instead of being man who is fast sinking to the brute and forsaken by God. They can add to their many contributions the surpassing contribution of non-violent action.

    November 20, 1938

    • Mooser
      October 16, 2011, 12:26 pm

      “It gives a record of what the Jews have done to enrich the world? literature, art, music, drama, science, medicine, agriculture, etc.”

      Typical. Sure, mention all the petty stuff, but don’t breath a word about the bagel.
      Even my local Sufi supermarket sells bagels.

      • Walid
        October 16, 2011, 5:23 pm

        Mooser October 16, 2011 at 12:26 pm

        “It gives a record of what the Jews have done to enrich the world? literature, art, music, drama, science, medicine, agriculture, etc.”

        Typical. Sure, mention all the petty stuff, but don’t breath a word about the bagel.
        Even my local Sufi supermarket sells bagels.”

        Mooser, the bagel was surely European but it wasn’t necessarily Jewish. Anyway your Sufi supermarket probably sells the machine-made rubbery American bagels with the funny fillings like blueberry, raisins or something else alien. The real bagel that tastes as a bagel should is found only in Montreal’s Jewish bakeries. Americans don’t know what they are missing.

      • Shingo
        October 16, 2011, 6:29 pm

        The real bagel that tastes as a bagel should is found only in Montreal’s Jewish bakeries.

        I second that, though there are plenty of machine-made rubbery American bagels pumped out along St Catherine.

        I have many fond memories of the Jewish quarter on Le Plateau.

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 16, 2011, 7:50 pm

        Now, now. Let’s not getting into fights regarding what is a “real bagel” and who has the best bagel. Let’s just all thank Poland for its wonderful gift to the world, and those bakers who’ve brought it to us all.

  11. tod
    October 13, 2011, 2:27 pm

    No, we don’t need no Gandhi, we need another Muhammad.

    As for Gandhi, he wasn’t the hippy people think he was. The Ben Kingsley movie is a great portrait as far as I can tell. The guy chose non-violence because he firmly believed it would work. When asked about it he also said that if he sees non-violence doesn’t work, he would rather turn to violence than just suck it up.
    He also advocated non-violent resistance for the Jews against the Nazis. He also said “why can’t Jews be like other people and just call the country where they live home?”, which would make him a rabid anti-Semite by today’s standards, except even the Zionists understand that you cannot throw shit on Mahatma Gandhi and expect to win.

  12. Linah
    October 13, 2011, 3:06 pm

    Where are all the Palestinian Ghandis? Killed or arrested. See Bassem Abu-Rahmeh, Bassem Tamimi, and Naji Tamimi.

  13. Keith
    October 13, 2011, 6:31 pm

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT- “In the last fifteen years or so, there have been over 150,000 political murders and disappearances…. Don’t talk to me about Gandhi; he wouldn’t have survived a week here.” (Guatemalan rebel,1994)

  14. RoHa
    October 13, 2011, 7:30 pm

    “a book called The Jewish Contribution to Civilisation by Cecil Roth. It gives a record of what the Jews have done to enrich the world? literature, art, music, drama, science, medicine, agriculture, etc.”

    OT, but I always find this sort of thing a bit irritating. A lot of Jews have made great contributions to literature, art, music, drama, science, medicine, agriculture, etc., but what was specifically Jewish about their contributions? Most of the Jews who made such contributions did so as Europeans, operating within the general European tradition. They were Scotsmen and Germans and Hungarians.

    I suppose thinking in this way is another reason why I am an anti-Semite.

    • Walid
      October 14, 2011, 2:42 am

      RoHa, what you’re saying about Jews is exactly what a Jewish friend said to me when I once asked him what was it that made Jews so good at whatever they took up in medicine, arts, law and everything else since speaking for myself, I wouldn’t have anything for my family other than a Jewish lawyer, a Jewish dentist and a Jewish doctor. He said my thinking was bullshit because all these great people appeared to me bigger than life simply because they happened to be Jewish and the spotlight was shone on their Jewishness and if I were to look hard enough around me, I’d see just as many and probably more great people that were not Jewish simply because there is more of the other people and nobody ever points a finger at them like they do with the Jews. He was right, I had made them appear exceptional in my mind because they were Jews and pointing fingers at Jews was the thing to do and realizing it made me stop doing it. But it’s really as you said it, these guys were great thanks to the cultures they were living in and not because they were Jews. But Jews themselves that keep beating their chests about their Nobel Prizes and so on are contributing to having people continue pointing to them in a negative manner. Or as Gandhi said, if they’re that good as they are themselves saying in that book by Cecil Roth, they shouldn’t be paranoid about others wanting to extermnate them.

      • Shmuel
        October 14, 2011, 3:02 am


        As a Jew, I must say that I find the highlighting of “Jewish genius” or other “special” Jewish qualities creepy. I had an Egyptian friend who always used to tell me about his father’s advice: “If you need to buy something, go the Jews. They are the only ones you can trust.” I figured his dad must have been a satisfied customer at a couple of Jewish-owned shops in Cairo back in the day, and maybe had a bad experience with a Muslim or a Christian once. Racist thinking can go both ways. You wouldn’t believe how often I have to assure people that I know plenty of really stupid Jews.

        This same former friend once saw some graffiti near my house that said “No Gays. No Jews” (rhymes in Italian). His reaction was: “What a terrible thing to say about the Jews.”

      • Walid
        October 14, 2011, 3:51 am

        It is very creepy, Shmuel, highlighting or racial profiling started happening to the Arabs because of Bush, Israel (that mastered the art)and to a certain degree by their own actions, of course. In my case the highlighting was out of admiration more than out of spite since I dealt with Jews out of choice. Even so, some construed it as some form of unconscious racism on my part.

      • Mooser
        October 16, 2011, 12:30 pm

        “If you need to buy something, go the Jews. They are the only ones you can trust.”

        Absolutely true! I have never, ever been burned by a Jewish dealer, and the “count” is always spot-on.

    • Woody Tanaka
      October 16, 2011, 2:32 pm

      “OT, but I always find this sort of thing a bit irritating. A lot of Jews have made great contributions to literature, art, music, drama, science, medicine, agriculture, etc., but what was specifically Jewish about their contributions?”

      It is no different than any form of bigotry. The thinking that says “The Jews” have made contributions in literature, art, music, etc., simply because the individuals who made those contributions are Jewish, is the same as saying that “The Jews” cannot be trusted not to betray America simply because some people in the past who had betrayed America were Jewish.

      The thing reminded me of a story that Isaac Asimov told in his autobiography (if I remember correctly, and I am pulling this story up from 20 years of memory, so excuse me if the story is more paraphrase than anything…) when he was confronted with someone going on about how over-represented Jews are in something or other and asked Asimov’s reaction, and he said, “but what about the over-representation of Jews in the pornography trade?” The crowing man asked, “Is that really true?” And Asimov’s answer was something like, “would it shine a bad light on you if it were?”

      Really astute stuff.

  15. justicewillprevail
    October 13, 2011, 7:50 pm

    Where is the Jewish Ghandi? Where is the Zionist Ghandi?
    To even pose the question emphasises the absurdity of the concept. The impossibility of imagining such a thing only underlines how zionism is identified with aggression, war and violence – the concept of a peacemaker in the zionist regime is utterly ridiculous, but a useful rejoinder to the pious hypocrites who use the formula for Palestine.

  16. Taxi
    October 14, 2011, 6:18 am

    Everything taken by force can only be reclaimed by force.

    Gandhi is misunderstood as a flower-power leader. He did make exceptions to his famous peaceful tenets. For example if a bandit pedophile is attempting to kidnap your child, it’s legitimate to act with effective physical aggression. Plenty other examples to this too.

    I’m of the mind of Finklestein’s when it comes to israeli knavery and thievery. Crush their knuckles and take back what’s yours. Cuz they ain’t ever intending on handing your stuff back to you in a million years.

    • DBG
      October 14, 2011, 6:36 am

      Jesus Taxi, war-mongering again. it is so sad, people like you have been telling the Arabs this since the creation of Israel, and they buy it hook, line and sinker. While you are sitting by the ocean in LA, Arabs have died and will most likely die, by the thousands, if they follow your nonsense again.

      Armed struggle hasn’t worked, terrorism hasn’t worked, invasions by multiple Arab countries hasn’t worked. Maybe it is time stop the war-mongering and be a cheerleader for peace and dialogue.

      • mig
        October 14, 2011, 7:24 am

        Also peaceful protests hasnt work either. Any other options available ? Negotiating ? So bibi can do the same as Oslo accords ?

        And what Arab invasions you mean ?

      • Taxi
        October 14, 2011, 8:20 am

        The hizb is proof that armed struggle is effective. The Palestinians ‘negotiating’ peacefully with Apartheid israel proved a red-herring.

        Yes thousands of arabs will die in the next war, but like I told you before, tens of thousands of isrealis will also either die or flee the holy land in the next war. That’s a given.

        You were all for warmongering against iran only a few hours ago on the Iran thread. You’re such a disgusting hypocrite. You feign squeamishness at war when Apartheid israel is involved and dance naked on the streets when iran is in the crosshairs.

        Also, where’s the link that proves as you claimed that I plagiarized your line “Apartheid freakshow israel”? Still waiting….

        Your pants are seriously on fire.

      • Shingo
        October 14, 2011, 9:08 am

        Armed struggle hasn’t worked, terrorism hasn’t worked, invasions by multiple Arab countries hasn’t worked.

        Armed struggle worked for Israel, which is how they got rid of British. They used terrorism to do that as well as expelling 800,000 Palestinians. You can’t blame the Palestinians for wanting to follow a winning stratergy. Remember, Begin introduced terrorism to Palestine.

        BTW. There was no invasions by multiple Arab countries.

        Maybe it is time stop spinning crap that no one believes here DBG. Save it for your friends and Newsmax and Commentary. It’s hard to take someone seriously when they espouse peace and dialogue while lthey lie through their teeth.

      • DBG
        October 15, 2011, 1:09 am

        BTW. There was no invasions by multiple Arab countries.

        are you joking Shingo?

      • DBG
        October 15, 2011, 1:10 am

        Armed struggle worked for Israel, which is how they got rid of British.

        Armed struggle worked for a lot of entities, but not for the Palestinians.

      • Shingo
        October 15, 2011, 5:19 am

        are you joking Shingo?

        I don’t joke – and your lame response suggests you know it.

      • Chaos4700
        October 15, 2011, 7:08 am

        How does one invade a country that doesn’t even legally exist yet and then refuses to exist within the boundaries set by international law? DBG, how can anyone invade Israel when Israel refuses to respect any borders at all, with respect to their expansionism?

      • Talkback
        October 14, 2011, 10:21 am

        If I read lines from Zionists I automatically replace “Arabs” with “Jews” and “Israel” with “Nazi Germany”. It surprises me every time.

      • Cliff
        October 15, 2011, 5:34 am

        DBG, why is someone who believes in ‘interfaith dialogue’ focusing on the comments of some random person on an anti-Zionist blog!?

        Shouldn’t you be out there professing your universal love for all peoples?

        Oh and looks like Israel is announcing a new Jewish neighborhood in occupied E. Jerusalem!

        But you’re clearly more concerned about Taxi!

        Yet another reason why talking with Zionists is worthless and simply a distraction that allows Israel to continue building facts on the ground.

        It’s just like on campus when Zionist groups tried to foster ‘dialogue’ (LOL) with Palestinian solidarity groups. You people do not want dialogue. You want to win the narrative.

        It’s like when Alan Dershowitz tried to shake Chomsky’s hand after their debate at the Kennedy Center. Throughout the debate Dersh is lying constantly and straw-manning Chomsky and just desperate (like you Zionists here). Then at one point in the debate he compliments Chomsky pretentiously and so transparently cynically, by saying ‘a lot turns to you Prof. Chomsky, you have a lot of influence.’

        Ugh, the imagery is just so obvious and every single Zionist here embodies that dishonesty.

  17. Mooser
    October 14, 2011, 11:41 am

    An America author named Terry Southern wrote a wonderful book about the great Mahatma, entitled simply “Gandhi”. I read it when I was in early adolescence and it greatly influenced my life.

  18. Edward Q
    October 14, 2011, 7:23 pm

    If Americans want to lecture the Palestinians about following Ghandi they should first set an example themselves. America is one of the most jingoistic countries in the world.

  19. eileenfleming
    October 16, 2011, 11:23 am

    The Palestinian Gandhi Project is a joint “labor of love” for Co-Founders Pam Bailey and Keren Batiyov, both of whom I am blessed to know as friends in the good fight of CTJP [compassion+truth+justice=peace]

    Please check them and the Palestinian Gandhi Project out and please “be a part of the change you want to see in the world.”-Gandhi

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