Tags: albert einstein | israel | opposition

Albert Einstein's Israel Opposition: How Scientist's Stance Defined Early Debate

By    |   Monday, 15 Dec 2014 03:44 PM

Albert Einstein initially opposed the establishment of a Jewish state in Israel, yet the Nobel Prize-winning physicist’s stance on the issue helped define the early debate.

Einstein was recruited to Zionism in 1919, and spoke of his support for development of a Jewish colony to provide “a tiny speck on this earth in which the members of our tribe should not be aliens,” according to the Zionism Israel Information Center.

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Favoring the assertion of Jewish rights, Einstein supported Zionism through such efforts as helping to raise money for the establishment of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, according to the Zionism Israel Information Center.

Yet, the famed theoretical physicist remained opposed to the establishment of a Jewish state with an army.

“I believe that the unique durability of the Jewish community is to a large degree based on our geographical dispersion, and the fact that we consequently do not possess instruments of power that will allow us to commit great stupidities out of national fanaticism. The persecutions will never cause us to perish,” Einstein said in a 1936 letter, according to the Shapell Manuscript Foundation.

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Still, Zionist leaders looked to the scientist for assistance in gaining support for a Jewish state.

In 1947, at the request of Zionist leaders, Einstein wrote a letter to prime minister-designate of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, hoping to persuade the leader to support the establishment of a Jewish state.

“The advent of Hitler underscored with a savage logic all the disastrous implications contained in the abnormal situation in which Jews found themselves,” Einstein wrote, according to The Guardian. “Millions of Jews perished ... because there was no spot on the globe where they could find sanctuary. ... The Jewish survivors demand the right to dwell amid brothers, on the ancient soil of their fathers.”

The next year, Einstein was among 28 prominent Jews who wrote a letter to The New York Times warning of facism in the political party led by Menachem Begin, saying the party "preached an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority."

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Albert Einstein initially opposed the establishment of a Jewish state in Israel, yet the Nobel Prize-winning physicist's stance on the issue helped define the early debate.
albert einstein, israel, opposition
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2014-44-15
Monday, 15 Dec 2014 03:44 PM
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