Gandhi’s First Memo to Thomas Friedman

Dear Thomas,

Nelson Mandela once said that I became an integral part of South African history because it is in South Africa that I demonstrated my firmness in pursuit of justice and developed Satyagraha or nonviolent resistance, as a philosophy and a method of struggle.

Thomas, already in 1942 I said this, and today I’m saying this to you: “It is open to a war resister to judge between the combatants and wish success to the one who has justice on his side. By so judging he is more likely to bring peace between the two than by remaining a mere spectator.” If you would have taken this advice from me, you probably wouldn’t be so much supporting Israel’s version of history.

Thomas, it is not my intention to accuse of bad faith the millions of honest people who have believed in these deceitful myths propagated by all the media. The sole purpose of this is to provide you with elements that will enable you to judge the bloody misdeeds engendered by a Zionist mythology. At the end of 1948, Palestine was faced with a land grotesquely transformed from the prewar period: hundreds of thousands of displaced persons and refugees; landscapes razed; and more than three-quarters of the 531 depopulated Palestinian towns and villages were completely destroyed.

Truth is that Palestinians are still homeless and dispossessed, Israel has occupied their lands, destroyed their villages, military occupied and brutally administered the West Bank and Gaza and has never acknowledged what it has done, much less compensated them for it. Under the current administration, more Palestinians are killed, more land has been expropriated, more homes are being demolished, and more human rights are being violated. So the depredations continue apace, even as a risible charade called the peace process has crawled along, most of the time going backwards for Palestinians.

Thomas, one thing I cannot abide is lying. I know a lie when I see one. For me, means and ends are practically identical. People cannot attain right ends by way of falsehoods. Already in 1938 I said: “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and in-human to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine todat cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct.”

Thomas, when I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall – think of it, always.

The author is a Dutch-Palestinian political scientist, human rights activist and is affiliated to the the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (Al-Awda) and

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