Monday, January 28, 2008

Gandhi's Grandson Gone

I almost feel sorry for the guy- he's resigned (entirely voluntarily, I'm sure) of the peace center he helped found more than 15 years ago. Guess there's a lesson there- if you're not big on the Jews, might want to avoid talking about them. Or at least have some sounding board people before you write screeds against them in the Washington Post. The sad thing is that some of Gandhi's points- that Jewish identity must go beyond historical persecution, for instance, are legitimate. Of course, they also aren't anything new, and at this point, nothing that anyone in the Jewish community would really contest.

"My intention was to generate a healthy discussion on the proliferation of violence," Gandhi said on Friday, a day after the board of the MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence at the University of Rochester accepted his resignation. "Instead, unintentionally, my words have resulted in pain, anger, confusion and embarrassment. I deeply regret these consequences."

...Gandhi's resignation "was appropriate," because his remarks "did not reflect the core values" of either the university or the institute, University of Rochester president Joel Seligman said in a statement.

The Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman said it was "shameful that a peace institute would be headed up by a bigot. One would hope that the grandson of such an illustrious human being would be more sensitive to Jewish history."

God dammit, Abe, go read a freaking book and stop sucking up to people who only know about Gandhi from that Ben Kingsley movie. Jesus.

More background and news coverage here, including some very interesting snippets of how the media in India is receiving the news. (Spoiler: it's not helping their views of Jews.)

America’s omnipotent Jewish community has forced Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi, to resign from the institute he founded in the US 17 years ago to spread the message of the Father of the Nation.

New Delhi cannot afford to even tangentially annoy the American Jewish community because successive Indian governments have relied on this community for at least 15 years to bring Indo-US relations to its present health. The nuclear deal between India and the US would not have got to its present phase of implementation without the active involvement of the American Jewish community in its favour.

Arun’s offer to resign follows several days of grovelling apologies by him, by the moderators of the online discussion on the Post website and defensive statements by University of Rochester president Joel Seligman for having associated with the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-violence.

Hundreds of messages assailing Arun and The Washington Post were posted on the website, most of them clearly by Jews. The powerful American Jewish Committee’s executive director David A. Harris pre-empted any Indian reaction by hinting in a statement that India was being ungrateful for all that his organisation did for New Delhi.

Wow. And India's going to be one of the new superpowers. That should be fun.

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