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Gandhi, the Jews & Zionism: Article in Young India

(March 23, 1921)

The most thorny part of the question is, therefore, Palestine. Britain has made promises to the Zionists. The latter have, naturally, a sacred sentiment about the place. The Jews, it is contended, must remain a wandering race unless they have obtained possession of Palestine. I do not propose to examine the soundness or otherwise of the doctrine underlying the proposition. All I contend is that they cannot possess Palestine through a trick or a moral breach. Palestine was not a stake in the War. The British Government could not dare have asked a single Muslim soldier to wrest control of Palestine from fellow-Muslims and give it to the Jews. Palestine, as a place of Jewish worship, is a sentiment to be respected and the Jews would have a just cause of complaint against Mussulman idealists if they were to prevent Jews from offering worship as freely as themselves. By no canon of ethics or war, therefore, can Palestine be given to the Jews as a result of the War. Either Zionists must revise their ideal about Palestine, or, if Judaism permits the arbitrariment of war, engage in a “holy war” with the Muslims of the world with the Christians throwing in their influence on their side. But one may hope that the trend of world opinion will make “holy wars” impossible and religious questions or differences will tend more and more towards a peaceful adjustment based upon the strictest moral considerations. But, whether such a happy time ever comes or not, it is clear as daylight that the Khilafat terms to be just must mean the restitution of Jazirat-ul-Arab to complete Muslim control under the spiritual sovereignty of the Caliph.

Sources: GandhiServe Foundation - Mahatma Gandhi Research and Media Service (reprinted with permission)