Gandhi's major statement on the Palestine and the Jewish question came forth in his widely circulated editorial in the Harijan of 11 November 1938, a time when intense struggle between the Palestinian Arabs and the immigrant Jews had been on the anvil in Palestine. His views came in the context of severe pressure on him, especially from the Zionist quarters, to issue a statement on the problem. Therefore, he started his piece by saying that his sympathies are all with the Jews, who as a people were subjected to inhuman treatment and persecution for a long time.
"But", Gandhi asserted, "My sympathy does not blind me to the requirements of justice. The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and in the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after their return to Palestine. Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?"
He thus questioned the very foundational logic of political Zionism. Gandhi rejected the idea of a Jewish State in the Promised Land by pointing out that the "Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract." The Zionists, after embarking upon a policy of colonization of Palestine and after getting British recognition through the Balfour Declaration of 1917 for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jews," tried to elicit maximum international support. The Jewish leaders were keen to get an approval for Zionism from Gandhi as his international fame as the leader of a non-violent national struggle against imperialism would provide great impetus for the Jewish cause. But his position was one of total disapproval of the Zionist project both for political and religious reasons. He was against the attempts of the British mandatory Government in Palestine toeing the Zionist line of imposing itself on the Palestinians in the name of establishing a Jewish national home. Gandhi's Harijan editorial is an emphatic assertion of the rights of the Arabs in Palestine. The following oft-quoted lines exemplify his position: "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… 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."
Gandhi's response to Zionism and the Palestine question contains different layers of meaning, ranging from an ethical position to political realism. What is interesting is that Gandhi, who firmly believed in the inseparability of religion and politics, had been consistently and vehemently rejecting the cultural and religious nationalism of the Zionists.