Deborah Lipstadt: Accuses Ghandi's grandson of anti-Semitism

Historians in the News

[Ms. Lipstadt is Dorot professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies and director of the Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University.]

As readers of this blog know, I do not label people or writings as antisemitic unless they are blatnatly so. Well Gandhi's grandson has written a column for the Washington Post which is clearly so.

Arun Gandhi is the fifth grandson of “Mahatma” Gandhi and is president and co-founder of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence.

He begins by describing Jews as being
"locked into the holocaust experience-- a German burden that the Jews have not been able to shed. It is a very good example of a community can overplay a historic experience to the point that it begins to repulse friends."
If his people had lost one out of every three members of its community would he suggest that they "shed" this experience? Then he goes on to posit that
"The holocaust was the result of the warped mind of an individual who was able to influence his followers into doing something dreadful."
An individual? Seems to me that history shows that a whole lot more than one person was involved in making this happen.
He then proclaims that the "Jewish identity in the future appears bleak" because Jews are "anchored to the past" and believe that their "survival can only be ensured by weapons and bombs."

He goes on to describe Israel and its policies as "a snake pit -- with many deadly snakes in it" He asks "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?"

Finally he declares that "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."

This reeks of antisemitism. Jewish identity based on violence? Not a word about suicide bombers? Hamas? Rockets from Gaza? Withdrawal from Gaza?

My question is how did the editors of the Washington Post decide to publish this? Couldn't they have found something more subtle? Didn't they realize that this piece was too heavy handed? I am really disappointed in them.

[In case you have any doubt that past par should be read with a heavy dose of sarcasm.]

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More Comments:

Tonja Christine Fleischer - 1/12/2008

I wander what the icon of peace and diversity would say to this? Mahatma Gandhi was an unique individual that wanted all to understand and accept everyone for who they were and not what they represented. Could his fifth grandson not understand the concept of his grandfathers writings.