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ADL Letter to On Faith Blog, Washington Post/Newsweek

Arun Gandhi, President of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence at the University of Rochester and a grandson of India's legendary leader, Mahatma Gandhi, wrote on the Newsweek/Washington Post "On Faith" blog that Israel uses the Holocaust as an excuse to promote violence. 

The post prompted the site's moderators, Jon Meacham of Newsweek and Sally Quinn of The Washington Post, to express regret over Gandhi's post and its repercussions.  "We regret the initial posting, and we apologize for the episode," they wrote.

On January 25, 2008, Gandhi announced his resignation from the institute in response to the public outcry surrounding his initial remarks and subsequent apology, which ADL deemed insufficient.  The League's letter to Gandhi follows.

Anti-Defamation League

Arun Gandhi
On Faith Blog

     January 10, 2008

Mr. Gandhi,

Your apology is appropriate and welcome, as far as you have taken it.  While you may have clarified some of the substance of your original comments, what is sadly lacking in your latest posting is a retraction of the suggestion that Jews "overplay" the Holocaust to manipulate the international community.

You do little to ease concern that you truly believe there is a direct connection between the unspeakable atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis in their maniacal effort to eradicate the Jewish people and the policies of the government of Israel.   Israel's policies are designed to protect the safety and well-being of its citizens against terrorism by sworn enemies of the Jewish people, some of whom are determined to finish the job Hitler started.

Indeed, the apology only seems to reinforce your original conclusion by again suggesting that Holocaust survivors and their families "…hold on to historic grievances too firmly…."  This is an outrageous statement -- suggesting that just 60 years after the Holocaust, survivors and their relatives should "let go" of their anger at losing their entire families, homes, livelihoods, and at having their communities wiped out.  The memory of the six million who perished in the Nazi gas chambers, concentration camps, work camps and death marches should be preserved as a lesson for all time.

Especially offensive was your suggestion that "Israel and the Jews are the biggest players" in promoting a "culture of violence that is eventually going to destroy humanity."  This outrageous libel of an entire people and of a country that wants nothing more than to live in peace and security with its neighbors -- and has said so repeatedly -- is mind-boggling coming from someone so respected in the field of nonviolence education and advocacy.  It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which the Palestinians have fostered exactly the sort of "culture of violence" you denounce so vociferously.

We believe you owe a true apology to the Jewish people for your insensitive and offensive remarks about the Holocaust, and your suggestion that the memory of its victims is being misused to advance a nation's violent behavior.  This is a classic attempt to blame the victim.


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