23 January, 2021

Gandhis Of Olive Country

Another path to peace? Palestinians revel in Gandhi and the nonviolent struggle.

Gandhis Of Olive Country
I'm sitting with Robert Hirschfield at the corner ice-cream shop, tall windows facing the street, steaming mint tea in our glass mugs. Outside, a large group of angry young PLO supporters are waving their fists and their kaffiyas, shouting slogans against the Hamas' massacre of 14 Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) members in Gaza. We are in Ramallah, the interim capital of Palestine, two American Jewish writers, and I am thinking we are crazy. Hirschfield, 68, is comfortable. He has been travelling through Palestine for a month now, researching his book on Palestinian non-violence. He likes it here. "There is an aliveness, an open and present friendliness, a warmth," he says. Outside, the shouting gets louder. I, sorry to say, think of Daniel Pearl; Hirschfield of Mahatma Gandhi.

It was the visit of Arun Gandhi—the Mahatma's grandson—to Palestine in 2004 that first caught Hirschfield's interest. "In the United States," Hirschfield says, "Palestinians are seldom portrayed as anything other than terrorists. Sure the terror is real,...


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