Modi-Bibi in Sabarmati: What the Media Won’t Tell You about Gandhi’s Views on Palestine and Israel

The mainstream media scrambled to outdo each other in its coverage of the 8km “roadshow” that culminated with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visiting, along with his wife Sara and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat.

For the handful of those who missed out on classroom history lessons, Sabarmati Ashram is famous for having been one of Mahatma Gandhi’s residencies. It is also from here that Gandhi led the Dandi March in his Salt Satyagrah of 1930.

While the media bombarded us with videos of photos that showed the Israeli Prime Minister and his wife sitting behind the charkha and spinning the wheel, we thought we’d show you what Bapu might have made of all of this.

Here is a compilation of quotes from his letters and interviews which make it pretty clear that he supported the Palestinian cause and was against the formation of Israel and their forceful occupation of Palestinian territory.

'The Jew,' by Gandhi – From Harijan, November 26, 1938

Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.


And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it in the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb

Interview to The Jewish Chronicle, by Gandhi – The Jewish Chronicle, London, October 2, 1931

Zionism in its spiritual sense is a lofty aspiration. By spiritual sense I mean they should want to realise the Jerusalem that is within. Zionism meaning reoccupation of Palestine has no attraction for me. I can understand the longing of a Jew to return to Palestine, and he can do so if he can without the help of bayonets, whether his own or those of Britain. In that event he would go to Palestine peacefully and in perfect friendliness with the Arabs. The real Zionism of which I have given you my meaning is the thing to strive for, long for and die for. Zion lies in one`s heart. It is the abode of God. The real Jerusalem is the spiritual Jerusalem. Thus he can realise this Zionism in any part of the world.

Interview to The Daily Herald, London, by Gandhi

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.