Saturday, January 26, 2008

Gandi's grandson resigns after anti-Semitic remarks

Arun Gandi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, resigned as board member of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence (which he founded) after, for lack of more eloquent phrasing, inappropriately putting Jews on blast--in ways that are anti-Semitic.

He wrote that Jewish identity is "locked into the holocaust experience," which Jews "overplay . . . to the point that it begins to repulse friends." The Jewish nation -- Israel, he wrote -- is too reliant upon weapons and bombs and should instead befriend its enemies.

"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," he wrote.

What makes his comment anti-Semitic is not his distasteful assessment of the Jewish/Holocaust experience, but rather the undeniably separate standard to which Jews and Israel are held, as opposed to other international and political actors.

Can a person honestly assert that Israel is the most violent nation, to the point of repulsing friends? Sorry, I thought that was America.

Can a person honestly address a "culture of violence" without considering the systemic extermination of a people in Darfur. Yeah...just forget genocide in a country no one gives a shit about, and then blame violence on the Jews.

Although the matter of Israel is dicey and there are many heated perspectives, the statement that only Israel is perpetrating violence is a) factually incorrect, and b) an over-simplification of the situation.

Arun hit it dead-on by marking in his resignation letter that his words were "couched in language that was hurtful and contrary to the principles of nonviolence."

But what he did not admit is his contribution to the stereotype of the diabolical and scheming Jew. Listen fucker, there is not a unified Jewish collective, nor is there one type of Jew, nor is there a singular Jewish experience. To assert such is ignorant and fallacious. Orthodox, modern orthodox, conserva-dox, conservative, reformed, reconstructionist, secular, cultural...the list goes on. Any one who has studied an ounce of Jewish history can easily understand that the Jewish experience has been marked by diversity, opposition, and a creative evolution of what it means to be Jewish, and who is. Not to mention there is still vast disagreement between Jews today on the subject.

Not to mention that there is not one type of Zionist either. Social, political, religious, cultural--schools of Zionist thought are far more diverse than mainstream discourse cares to recognize. Not to mention that not all Jews are Zionists. Not to mention there are PLENTY of Jews who actually disagree with Israel's military strategies.

Next time a person cares to engage Israel's political/military tactics, that discussion should be qualified to just that--Israel's political/military tactics--and NOT infused with this imaginary concept of the Jewish unit. And such a discussion should be considered in balance with other international actors, and not based on double-standards for "Jews."

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