Albert Einstein on Partition

In 1938, in a speech entitled “Our Debt to Zionism,” Einstein said:

Just one more personal word on the question of partition.  I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state.  Apart from practical consideration,  my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest.  I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain–especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks,  against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state.  We are no longer the Jews of the Maccabee period.  A return to a nation in the political sense of the word would be equivalent to turning away from the spiritualization of our community which we owe to the genius of our prophets.  If external necessity should after all compel us to assume this burden, let us bear it with tact and patience.”

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3 Comments on “Albert Einstein on Partition”

  1. Abe Bird Says:

    It is nice to see that Einstein was wrong in Something. WWII proved that Jews were indefensible with out their own national state and army. Gentiles no more were trustable, after the axis countries slaughtered them and the Allies prevented their safe refuge to freedom and life. After the WWII Einstein changed his opinion and enthusiastically supported the Jewish national revolt for freedom and independence.

    Basically Einstein was pro-Zionist from the beginning and he helped the Zionist in various ways: .

  2. Hadassah Says:

    He was wrong in thinking there was a way to live peacefully with the Arabs without a state, but he seems to have hit on something when he expresses his concern for the effect that statehood will have on the spirituality of the nation. Of course, that process had already begun before Israeli independence so maybe it was a result of modern life, not political sovereignty.

  3. vconcerned Says:

    It appears Einstein’s fears were justified. In Israel, we now have an undemocratic state imposing itself on others by both the might of its army and the US political, military, and economic support it succeeds in achieving by an enormously powerful propaganda campaign. If Americans only knew! Upon analysis, one must conclude Israel’s very existence requires the destruction of an entire population and a river of bloodflow. The demographics demand it. Jews, not humanity, have become to Israeli supporters the most important entity. The edict to “do good in the world” becomes cynicism. The tribalism at the root of this doctrine is, to say the least, problematic, and directly counter to the posit that all of us are created equal. Thus, the state of Israel has already proven itself a disgrace to all Jews, and in particular, to the Jews of the US, for it could never behave as it does without the strong support of the US Jewish community. As with Germany and other nations that have distinguished themselves by atrocity, the Jewish community has accepted quite a dubious distinction. For what?

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