What was Gandhi's opinion on Palestine? Owaisi's slogan is again creating a debate

What was Mahatma Gandhi's opinion on Palestine? After Owaisi's 'Jai Palestine' slogan, the discussion is going on again

After Asaduddin Owaisi took oath, the slogan 'Jai Palestine' has created a political uproar. The ruling party in Parliament strongly objected to this, on which the Speaker removed Owaisi's slogan from the record. As the matter heated up, Owaisi said, 'How is it wrong to say Jai Palestine? Read what Mahatma Gandhi had said about Palestine.'

Image Credit: @aimim_national

After Asaduddin Owaisi took oath as MP, there is a lot of political uproar due to the slogan 'Jai Palestine'. Other MPs have objected to this and have also complained about Owaisi to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju. As the matter heated up, Owaisi said, 'Jai Bhim, Jai Telangana, Jai Palestine. How is this wrong? I said what I had to say. Read what Mahatma Gandhi had said about Palestine.

The history of the conflict between Israel and Palestine is almost 100 years old. It began in 1917 when the then British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour expressed Britain's official support for the creation of a Jewish 'national home' in Palestine under the 'Balfour Declaration'. Mahatma Gandhi's opinion on this matter was published in the 'Harijan' newspaper in 1938.

'The Jews' demand for 'their own national home' does not make sense to me'

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, 'All my sympathies are with the Jews. I have known them closely since my days in South Africa. I have old friendships with some of them and through them I have come to know a lot about their centuries-old oppression. But my sympathy for them cannot prevent me from seeing justice. That is why the Jews' demand for 'their own national home' does not suit me.'

Mahatma Gandhi was of the opinion that like the rest of the world, Jews should make their home the country where they were born and where they earn their livelihood. He said, 'Palestine belongs to the Arabs just as England belongs to the British or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to force the Jews upon the Arabs.'

'It would be justifiable to fight a war against Germany'

Mahatma Gandhi further wrote, '...It would be fair that Jews should be treated equally wherever they are born and earning. If the Jews want Palestine, would they like to be forcibly removed from all the places in the world where they are today? Or do they want two homes where they can live wherever they want?'

'The kind of persecution of the Jews in Germany has no parallel in history… If there could ever be a just war in the name of humanity, a war against Germany to prevent the wanton persecution of an entire race would be entirely justifiable. But I do not believe in any war. Therefore, a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of such a war is beyond my scope.'

What would Mahatma Gandhi have done if he were a Jew?

Mahatma Gandhi had written in his article published in Harijan, 'If I were a Jew and had been born in Germany and was earning my livelihood from there, I would have claimed that Germany is my home just as it is the home of a big and powerful German. I would have challenged him to shoot me or imprison me in the basements, I am not ready to be expelled from here or accept any discrimination. I would not have waited for other Jews to come and support me in this resistance, rather I would have moved ahead alone with the belief that in the end everyone will come on my path. If even one Jew or all the Jews had used this remedy suggested by me, then their condition would not have been as pathetic as it is today.'

Bapu believed that the Jews living in Palestine were wrong. They should try to win the hearts of the Arabs. The same God resides in the hearts of the Arabs as resides in the hearts of the Jews. They should do Satyagraha against the Arabs and surrender themselves without raising a finger against them, so that they can either shoot them or throw them into the sea. This will bring world public opinion in their favour.

What did Mahatma Gandhi say about Arabs?

Mahatma Gandhi clarified in his article that he was not defending the atrocities of the Arabs. He wrote, 'I do believe that they are rightly protesting against the unfair interference in their country. But I wanted them to fight it in a non-violent manner. But if we look at the generally accepted interpretation of right and wrong, then the way the Arabs have resisted in the face of massive opposition cannot be criticized.'

'Now let the Jews, who claim to be the chosen race, elevate their position by choosing the path of non-violence. Every country, including Palestine, is their home, not by aggression but by loving service. They have contributed a lot in fields like science, literature, medicine. They can also add the outstanding contribution of non-violent action to their many contributions.'