ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) Mahatma Gandhi's grandson resigned from the peace institute he co-founded after condemnation of his comments that Israel and the Jews are the biggest players in a culture of violence that "is eventually going to destroy humanity."
Arun Gandhi, the fifth grandson of the revered pacifist, said that his comments, which were posted on an online forum, were meant "to generate a healthy discussion on the proliferation of violence. ... Instead, unintentionally, my words have resulted in pain, anger, confusion and embarrassment. I deeply regret these consequences," Gandhi said.
He apologized "for my poorly worded post," saying he shouldn't have implied that Israeli government policies reflected the views of all Jewish people.
Gandhi co-founded M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence with his wife, Sunanda, at Christian Brothers University in Memphis in 1991 and relocated it to the University of Rochester campus in June, a few months after her death.
Gandhi was on a panel of scholars, writers and clergy who discuss a new topic weekly on The Washington Post's "On Faith" page and his comments, posted Jan. 7, drew a torrent of criticism, much of it unfavorable.
Describing Israel as "a nation that believes its survival can only be ensured by weapons and bombs," Gandhi asked whether it would "not be better to befriend those who hate you?"
"Apparently, in the modern world so determined to live by the bomb, this is an alien concept," he wrote. "You don't befriend anyone, you dominate them. We have created a culture of violence (Israel and the Jews are the biggest players) and that Culture of Violence is eventually going to destroy humanity."
He wrote that Jewish identity "has been locked into the holocaust experience a German burden that the Jews have not been able to shed. It is a very good example of (how) a community can overplay a historic experience to the point that it begins to repulse friends.
"The holocaust was the result of the warped mind of an individual who was able to influence his followers into doing something dreadful. ... The world did feel sorry for the episode but when an individual or a nation refuses to forgive and move on, the regret turns into anger."
The school's president, Joel Seligman, said in a statement that Gandhi's resignation was appropriate and his remarks "did not reflect the core values" of the university or the institute.
The institute offers courses, workshops and seminars on nonviolence and will "continue its mission" at the university, Seligman said. A forum will be held later this year to allow Gandhi to discuss issues he raised with Jewish community leaders and other speakers, he said.
While emphasizing that Jewish suffering, particularly in the Holocaust, "was historic in its proportions" Gandhi said that "it is also important not to forget the past, lest we fail to learn from it," and stood by his criticism of "the use of violence by recent Israeli governments."
"I have criticized the governments of the U.S., India and China in much the same way," he said, adding that "I want to correct statements that I made with insufficient care, and that have inflicted unnecessary hurt and caused anger."
The institute's research library contains multiple photographs, audio and videotapes, and 100 volumes of writings by Gandhi's grandfather, who led India to independence in 1947 and was assassinated by a Hindu hard-liner in January 1948.