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Gandhi, the Jews & Zionism: Interview to The Daily Herald, London

(March 16, 1921)

...Question: What do you think of the proposed revision of the Treaty of Sevres?

Gandhi: I have only hurriedly glanced through the new terms. So far as I can judge, they aim at pacifying Turks and not Indian Mussulmans. The two things have to be recognised as distinct. Khilafat is essentially a religious movement, being idealistic and unconnected with Turkish pacification. It derives its sanction directly from the injunction of the Prophet. Until, therefore, Indian Mussulmans are placated, there can be no peace, and the sine qua non of Mussulman conciliation is that what is termed the Island of Arabia must remain under the exclusive Mussulman control and under the spiritual sovereignty of the Khalifa, whoever he may be for the time being. The prestige of Islam demands rendition of Smyrna and Thrace to Turkey, and evacuation by the Allied Powers of Constantinople, but the existence of Islam demands the total abrogation of mandates taken by Britain and France. No influence, direct or indirect, over the Holy Places of Islam will ever be tolerated by Indian Mussulmans. It follows, therefore, that even Palestine must be under Mussulman control. So far as I am aware, there never has been any difficulty put in the way of Jews and Christians visiting Palestine and performing all their religious rites. No canon, however, of ethics or war can possibly justify the gift by the Allies of Palestine to Jews. It would be a breach of implied faith with Indian Mussulmans in particular and the whole of India in general. Not an Indian soldier would have gone, if Britain on the eve of war had declared even the possibility of any such usurpation, and it is becoming clearer every day that if India is to remain a free partner in a future British Commonwealth, as distinguished from the Empire, the terms of the Khilafat have to be settled more in consultation with the spiritual leaders of Mussulmans than with the political leaders of Turkey.

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