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Gandhi and his Jewish Friends by Margaret Chatterjee

By Margaret Chatterjee

Most of Gandhi's affiliates in South Africa have been Jewish. They have been introduced jointly via a typical curiosity in theosophy and have become deeply fascinated with Gandhi's campaigns, taking care of his affairs while he used to be away in London or India. This ebook appears on the organization among the 2 groups.

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Gandhi and his Jewish Friends

So much of Gandhi's affiliates in South Africa have been Jewish. They have been introduced jointly via a standard curiosity in theosophy and have become deeply concerned with Gandhi's campaigns, taking care of his affairs while he was once away in London or India. This ebook appears to be like on the organization among the 2 teams.

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Quoted in Smuts, op. cit. Vol. I, p. 202. Vide also The Peoples and Policies of South Africa, by Leo Marquard, OUP, 1952. This expression also included Chinese labour. Vide Exile and Return, by Martin Gilbert, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1978, p. 55. 3 Gandhi and his Jewish Friends If Gandhi was a sympathetic observer of the affairs of Eastern Euro- pean Jewish immigrants in South Africa, seeing them as a group of people who, like Indians, were being victimised for no fault of their own, there were others, coming from a more privileged background no doubt, who became his closest friends and on whom he depended for his social and political work both in Johannesburg and London.

26 Gandhi and his Jewish Friends The German immigrants came from a more prosperous class and entered the professions of law, architecture and banking, as well as the gold and diamond industries. The condition of central European Jewry needs to be recalled at this point if we are to understand why the middle rung of this class should have had cosmopolitan sympathies, been interested in theosophy and vegetarianism and also, in due course, become Zionists. Of all the Jews on the Continent none were more assimilated than those who were German-speaking.

I may cite the following example. By the end of 1913 there was a good deal of syndicalist-inspired unrest in the Natal coal mines. Eventually mob violence broke out at New Klipfontein and this developed into a general strike. Smuts retaliated by proclaiming martial law on January 14th 1914 against the strikers there as well as in the railways and on the Rand. As a result nine labour leaders were deported, a measure which was deplored by liberal opinion in Great Britain. It was very much a white man's movement and had a pronounced racial flavour, poor white ranged against brown, yellow or black, or rather the imagined threat thereof.

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