The first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, neither found Gandhi anti-Zionist nor even suffering from doublespeak on Jews and Arabs/Palestinians.
Khinvraj Jangid, Professor, Jindal School of International Affairs (JSIA) and Director, Jindal Centre for Israel Studies (JCIS), O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
The Israel-Hamas war has changed, rapidly, both regional and international dynamics over the last three weeks. Sadly, the use of violence and even terror is not an exception in the long history of this conflict. However, even so, there is something deeply disturbing about the nature of the attack Hamas carried on October 7. The Israeli army in retaliation has caused more than 8,000 deaths in Gaza – such a policy does not help the cause of peace. Many think of this conflict in black-and-white binaries. Which is the “right” side?
Curiously, there is a lot written about Zionism, including how Indian leaders like Gandhi responded to it and how today’s India (the state as well as civil society) is doing so, including in this newspaper.
On October 11, the ‘Explained’ section carried an article that begins writing with a well-known and often-quoted (by those who think Zionism and Israel committed the “original sin”) sentence: “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English, or France to the French.” After the British issued the Balfour Declaration in favour of Zionism in 1917, there were strong sentiments on the question of Palestine among those engaged. Gandhi stated his initial views on the matter in an essay, The Jews, in 1938 for Harijan. He was deeply sympathetic to Jewish sentiments and advised them strongly not to take the support of the British for their cause but rather seek “the goodwill of the Arabs”. The quote “Palestine belongs to the Arabs…” is a misleading presentation of Gandhi’s thoughts on Zionism. The first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, neither found Gandhi anti-Zionist nor even suffering from doublespeak on Jews and Arabs/Palestinians.
Published in: The Indian Express
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