I’ve heard a certain criticism countless times over the years, but after seeing it three times in two days on the same site, I decided to do a little research. From that vast repository of respectable opinion, The Atlantic, here are Jeffrey Goldberg, Andrew Sullivan, and Megan McArdle with the idea du jour:
“I don’t know yet exactly what happened at sea when a group of Israeli commandos boarded a ship packed with not-exactly-Gandhi-like anti-Israel protesters.”
“The violence by the activists is pretty abhorrent. These are not followers of Gandhi or MLK Jr.”
“Very clearly, these guys were not the next incarnation of Gandhi; they were on that mission spoiling for a fight.”
Now, unlike these three worthies, I’m just a rube who majored in booze at Football Tech, so I didn’t know much about this Gandhi fella. I wondered, what exactly would Gandhi have the Palestinians and their supporters do? What would earn them a pat on the head from serious, right-thinking Americans?
Luckily, I didn’t have to look very far to find a possible answer:
As an inspiration and a symbol, Gandhi has no peer in the 20th century; as a practical politician, he was a despair to his colleagues in the Indian national movement. His insistence on non-violence grew more extreme as he aged: during the war, he recommended to the British that they should “invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions.â€ And in an interview given after the war, he went so far as to say that â€œthe Jews [in Europe] should have offered themselves to the butcherâ€™s knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.“
The things you learn on the intertubes! Well, there you go, Palestinians (and Turks, and Jewish Americans to the left of Jeffrey Goldberg): kill yourselves. When the last one of you is gone, The Atlantic will hold a special symposium on your righteousness.