The grandson of Mahatma Gandhi called Israel and Jews the “biggest players” in the world’s “culture of violence.”
Nearly 500 people responded to the blog entry by Arun Gandhi, part of the Washington Post/Newsweek “On Faith” section.
The respondents were divided between those that called Gandhi an anti-Semite and those that added their own criticism of Jews and the Jewish state, as well as examinations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Jewish identity in the past has been locked into the Holocaust experience,” Gandhi stated in his Jan. 7 blog. “It is a very good example of how a community can overplay a historic experience to the point that it begins to repulse friends.”
He added that the Jewish future appears bleak, since it is a nation “that believes its survival can only be ensured by weapons and bombs.”
In an apology posted three days later, Gandhi said that while he stands behind his criticisms of the State of Israel’s use of violence, he should not have implied that all Jews support this.
in a statement released Sunday, the executive director of the American Jewish Committee chided Gandhi.
“To suggest that Jews today are using the Holocaust at the expense of others is reprehensible,” David Harris wrote. “Regrettably, in the Internet age, it is difficult for a writer, especially one with a popular family name, to retract such hurtful, misinformed statements, and, indeed, Mr. Gandhi has fallen short in his subsequent apology.
“Let’s be clear. Israel, since its establishment by the United Nations 60 years ago, has sought to live in peace and security with all her neighbors. Israel was not created as a militaristic state, nor has it sought to dominate another people, as Gandhi argues.”