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Zionist Tempest Spurs Gandhi To Quit His Peace Institute (valid rephrase, yes?)

Arun Gandhi Quits Peace Institute in Flap Over Blog Posting

Washington Post
26JAN2008 Page C07

The grandson of Indian spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi resigned yesterday as president of the board of a conflict resolution institute after writing an online essay on a Washington Post blog calling Jews and Israel "the biggest players" in a global culture of violence.

In his resignation letter to the board of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, founder Arun Gandhi wrote that his Jan. 7 essay "was couched in language that was hurtful and contrary to the principles of nonviolence. My intention was to generate a healthy discussion on the proliferation of violence. Clearly I did not achieve my goal. Instead, unintentionally, my words have resulted in pain, anger, confusion and embarrassment."

The institute is housed at the University of Rochester and has a university-paid director. Gandhi submitted his resignation to the board Thursday and it was accepted yesterday.

Board members could not be reached immediately yesterday, but a brief unsigned statement on the university's Web site said: "The essence of Arun Gandhi's work has been to educate and promote the principles of nonviolence. In that spirit, the Institute plans to work with the University of Rochester and other community groups to use the recent events as an opportunity to deepen mutual understanding through dialogue employing the principles of nonviolence and peace."

Gandhi's comments were part of a discussion about the future of Jewish identity on the religion blog On Faith at He wrote that Jewish identity is "locked into the holocaust experience," which Jews "overplay . . . to the point that it begins to repulse friends." The Jewish nation --> Israel, he wrote -- is too reliant upon weapons and bombs and should instead befriend its enemies.

"Apparently, in the modern world, so determined to live by the bomb, this is an alien concept. You don't befriend anyone, you dominate them. We have created a culture of violence (Israel and the Jews are the biggest players) and that Culture of Violence is eventually going to destroy humanity," he wrote.

The posting drew 438 comments -- an exceptionally high response for an On Faith essay -- and prompted such a backlash that Gandhi later posted an apology. The Web site also apologized.

On Jan. 11, university President Joel Seligman labeled Gandhi's initial comments stereotyping and said they were "fundamentally inconsistent with the core values" of the school. Yesterday, he called the resignation "appropriate."

The institute will remain at the university, which will host a forum later this year "to provide Arun Gandhi, a leader of the Jewish community and other speakers the opportunity to address the issues raised by Mr. Gandhi's statements and related issues. A University can and should promote dialogue in which we can learn from each other even when the most painful or difficult issues will be discussed," Seligman said in his statement yesterday.

Arun Gandhi: Man of Peace & Good Will
Michael Saba,

Arun Gandhi is a noble man. And he is certainly not a bigot. He is a good friend and someone for whom I have the highest respect. This week’s Arab News reported that Gandhi resigned from the peace institute that he co-founded after condemnation of his comments where he said “Israel and the Jews are the biggest players in a culture of violence that ‘is eventually going to destroy humanity’.”

He is not a bigot and it is a real travesty that he had to resign from his position. But watch him. He will turn the anger of his adversaries into positive emotions and actions. That is the Arun Gandhi that I know.

I first met Arun and his wife and co-founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Memphis, Tennessee at Christian Brothers University where his institute was first established in 1991. He was introduced to me by a common friend, Dr. Donald Wagner, the founder of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. Don told me that this remarkable man, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, was a genuine man of peace and nonviolence and a great supporter of human rights worldwide. He told me that even then, Arun was highly criticized by many in the pro-Israeli lobby only because he spoke out for Palestinian human rights. However, he worked closely with the Israeli peace community at the same time and worked equally hard for Israeli human rights causes.

When I met Arun and Sununda, his wife of over 50 years, I was struck by his quiet peaceful nature and an aura of calm that radiated from him. He is a man so at peace with himself. He and Sunanda told me the story of how they came to do their life’s work for peace and nonviolence that led to the founding of the Gandhi Center.

Arun was born in South Africa where his grandfather, the Mahatma, had lived and initially raised his family. His grandfather had returned to India to start his peace and nonviolent movement. At age 10 or 11, Arun told me that he was a very angry young man and on the verge of becoming violent himself. In those days the Indian community of South Africa was caught in the middle of racial conflicts. He was beaten many times by both members of the white ruling community and the black native population as the Indians were often made the scapegoats by both sides of that conflict.

His father finally told him that he must go live with his grandfather in India to learn to control himself, which he then did. He lived with his grandfather and grandmother in India for the next two years. It was there, in his early years, that his grandfather taught him to vent his negative emotions and change them into positive responses. He was never angry again after his time with his grandfather and his grandfather’s movement.

I asked his wife Sunanda, a former nurse in India, who unfortunately passed away last year, if she had ever seen him angry in their over fifty years together. She said no. She told me that many times she saw him get into situations that any other human being would probably vent anger, but that he always took that potential negative energy and turned it into positive emotions and actions.

I asked Sununda, also a very calm and serene person, if she ever got angry. She said that the last time she showed anger was over 50 years prior to our conversation. She said that Arun was courting her in Bombay and they got on a small bus together. There was no room for them to sit together and she had to sit between two men across from Arun. Apparently, these two men had had a bit to drink and got fresh with Sununda. They started to tease her and say inappropriate things to her. She said that she looked to Arun to defend her honor and he sat there and said nothing.

After they left the bus, she angrily told Arun that he should have defended her honor against these two men. She felt that, as her suitor, he had a responsibility to do so. She said that he then asked her if they touched her or physically hurt her and she said no.

He then told her that she also had to learn to vent her potential negative emotions and thoughts into positive ones. That was the last time that Sununda was angry.

I leaned so much from Arun and Sununda in the years that we were together in Memphis. They had come to Memphis specifically because this is where Martin Luther King was assassinated and he was a loyal follower of the Gandhi nonviolent movement. They helped me understand so many things about life and people and, particularly, about being kind and considerate to your fellow man and not getting angry with people, yet turning potential anger into positive emotions.

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