But slowly Einstein came to the realization that Arabs did not see Zionism as helpful, although he remained optimistic, saying, “One who, like myself, has cherished for many years the conviction that the humanity of the future must be built up on an intimate community of the nations, and that aggressive nationalism must be conquered, can see a future for Palestine only on the basis of peaceful co-operation between the two peoples who are at home in the country. For this reason I should have expected that the great Arab people will show a truer appreciation of the need which the Jews feel to re-build their national home in the ancient seat of Judaism; I should have expected that by common effort ways and means would be found to render possible an extensive Jewish settlement in the country. I am convinced that the devotion of the Jewish people to Palestine will benefit all the inhabitants of the country, not only materially, but also culturally and nationally. I believe that the Arab renaissance in the vast expanse of territory now occupied by the Arabs stands only to gain from Jewish sympathy. I should welcome the creation of an opportunity for absolutely free and frank discussion of these possibilities, for I believe that the two great Semitic peoples, each of which has in its way contributed something of lasing value to the civilisation of the West, may have a great future in common, and that instead of facing each other with barren enmity and mutual distrust, they should support each other’s national and cultural endeavours, and should seek the possibility of sympathetic co-operation. I think that those who are not actively engaged in politics should above all contribute to the creation of this atmosphere of confidence.”
“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 considerations, 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 … ”
He clearly renounced nationalism and the need for a specifically Jewish state, saying, “The difficulties we have been through have also brought some good in their train. They have shown us once more how strong is the bond which unites the Jews of all countries in a common destiny. The crisis has also purified our attitude to the question of Palestine, purged it of the dross of nationalism. It has been clearly proclaimed that we are not seeking to create a political society, but that our aim is, in accordance with the old tradition of Jewry, a cultural one in the widest sense of the world. That being so, it is for us to solve the problem of living side by side with our brother the Arab in an open, generous, and worthy manner.”
For some time Einstein spoke in glowing superlatives: “Zionism is not a movement inspired by chauvinism or by a sacro egoismo. I am convinced that the great majority of the Jews would refuse to support a movement of that kind. Nor does Zionism aspire to divest anyone in Palestine of any rights or possessions he may enjoy. On the contrary, we are convinced that we shall be able to establish a friendly and constructive cooperation with the kindred Arab race which will be a blessing to both sections of the population materially and spiritually. During the whole of the work of Jewish colonization not a single Arab has been dispossessed; every acre of land acquired by the Jews has been bought at a price fixed by buyer and seller. Indeed, every visitor has testified to the enormous improvement in the economic and sanitary standard of the Arab population resulting from the Jewish colonisation. Friendly personal relations between the Jewish settlements and the neighbouring Arab villages have been formed throughout the country. Jewish and Arab workers have associated in the trade unions of the Palestine railways, and the standard of living of the Arabs has been raised. Arab scholars can be found working in the great library of the Hebrew University, while the study of the Arabic language and civilisation forms one of the chief subjects of study at this University. Arab workmen have participated in the evening courses conducted at the Jewish Technical Institute at Haifa. The native population has come to realise in an ever growing measure the benefits, economic, sanitary and intellectual, which the Jewish work of reconstruction has bestowed on the whole country and an its inhabitants. Indeed, one of the most comforting features in the present crisis has been the reports of personal protection afforded by Arabs to their Jewish fellow-citizens against the attacks of the fanaticized mob.”
In the early stages of Zionism, it seems Einstein invested a somewhat naive faith in the ability of Great Britain to make colonization a positive experience for both Jews and Palestinians, saying, “I cannot believe that the greatest colonial Power in the world will fail when it is faced with the task of placing its unique colonizing experience at the service of the reconstruction of the ancient home of the People of the Bible. The task may not be an easy one for the Mandatory Power, but for the success it will attain it is assured of the undying gratitude not only of the Jews but of all that is noblest in mankind.”
I cannot believe that the greatest colonial Power in the world will fail when it is faced with the task of placing its unique colonizing experience at the service of the reconstruction of the ancient home of the People of the Bible. The task may not be an easy one for the Mandatory Power, but for the success it will attain it is assured of the undying gratitude not only of the Jews but of all that is noblest in mankind.”
In 1998, Ariel Sharon said, “There is no Zionism, colonialization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.”
In 1902, the founder of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl, in a letter to “the one man who most represented European colonialism,” Cecil Rhodes, appealed for his support of Zionism specifically “because it is something colonial.” Before Herzl, as early as 1862, Moses Hess had spoken of “the founding of Jewish colonies in the land of their ancestors.” By 1919, a mere two years after the Balfour Declaration, Chaim Weizmann was confidently predicting that Palestine would be “as Jewish as England is English or America is American.” The same year, the King-Crane Commission suggested that Zionism could result in “a practically complete dispossession” of Palestinians. A mere four years later, in 1923, Vladimir Jabotinsky created the doctrine of the “iron wall,” saying, “Our colonization must … proceed in defiance of the will of the native population.” Jabotinsky claimed not to hate Arabs, but only to be “indifferent” to them, and to all non-Jews. But of course he was speaking indifferently of doing great harm to innocent women and children. It’s difficult to imagine two men less alike than Jabotinsky and Einstein, the great humanist, who said of racists: “A nobler individual will guide his actions by reason and insight, not by dull instinct.”
If Einstein had a “blind spot” in regard to Zionism, it may have been over the matter of Jewish colonization. If so, this “blind spot” is certainly understandable, considering the precarious situation of Jews in Europe and Russia. It seems clear from his letters that Einstein knew Jews were colonizing Palestine, since he used the term on multiple occasions. Colonization of an inhabited area of course entails displacement of the indigenous population, in order to make room for the colonizing population. Whenever colonization occurs, the invaders invariably usurp the rights, land and resources of the invadees. If this was not the case, the invaders would be either expelled or assimilated; however, the Zionists had no plans to be either expelled or assimilated. They clearly intended to become the ruling elite in Palestine.
When appraising the achievement, however, let us not lose sight of the cause to be served by this achievement: rescue of our endangered brethren, dispersed in many lands, by uniting them in Israel; creation of a community which conforms as closely as possible to the ethical ideals of our people as they have been formed in the course of a long history. One of these ideals is peace, based on understanding and self-restraint, and not on violence. If we are imbued with this ideal, our joy becomes somewhat mingled with sadness, because our relations with the Arabs are far from this ideal at the present time. It may well be that we would have reached this idea, had we been permitted to work out, undisturbed by others, our relations with our neighbors, for we want peace and we realize that our future development depends on peace.”
“We need to pay greater attention to our relations with the Arabs. By cultivating these carefully we shall be able in future to prevent things from becoming so dangerously strained that people can take advantage of them to provoke acts of hostility. This goal is perfectly within our reach, because our work of construction has been, and must continue to be, carried out in such a manner as to serve the real interests of the Arab population also.”
No irreconcilable differences stand in the way of peace between Jews and Arabs in Palestine. Let us therefore above all be on our guard against blind chauvinism of any kind, and let us not imagine that reason and common sense can be replaced by British bayonets.
“There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people. Despite the great wrong that has been done us [the Holocaust], we must strive for a just and lasting compromise with the Arab people … Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.”
“I have conceived of Judaism as a community of tradition. Both friend and foe, on the other hand, have often asserted that the Jews represent a race; that their characteristic behavior is the result of innate qualities transmitted by heredity from one generation to the next … The Jews, however, are beyond doubt a mixed race, just as are all other groups of our civilization. Sincere anthropologists are agreed on this point; assertions to the contrary all belong to the field of political propaganda and must be rated accordingly.”
Zionism springs from an even deeper motive than Jewish suffering. It is rooted in a Jewish spiritual tradition, whose maintenance and development are for Jews the raison d’être of their continued existence as a community.
Einstein had asked him: ‘What about the Arabs if Palestine were given to the Jews?’ And Weizmann said: ‘What Arabs? They are hardly of any consequence
The attitude we adopt toward the Arab minority will provide the real test of our moral standards as a people.”
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.
I completely disagree with it. Setting aside the fact that the Jews are not a race, but it is very easy to assume that the reference is to Ashkenazi Jews. But in fact, they happen to be the most accomplished group of people, very intelligent, high achievers, they float to the top in every field that they choose to engage in. That is always good. My quarrel with the Ashkenazi Jews has nothing to do with racial or religious attitudes of any kind . I resent them because they have occupied our lands, I resent them because they supply so many excuses for their colonial project.
the strength of our whole movement [Zionism] rests in its moral justification, with which it must stand or fall.” ― Albert Einstein
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Billy W. • 3 days ago
And Jews wonder why a rise of Antisemitism becomes a reality in the nations they reside in? For such a small minority, you all seem to want to pack a huge punch, throwing the holocaust under the bus every chance you get. I suppose, in the jew-world, a chosen ethnic group’s disaster seems to outweigh all other group’s disasters, Enough that their opinions should matter above the people’s they co-inhabit land with. I suppose the suggestion that “jewish leaders” (the over represented numbers in politics) and the “jewish organizations” that already line non-jewish politician’s pockets, won’t add to the theory of how jews pretty much lead the U.S around on a leash? As a Republican Jewish American, I wish my fellow Jews would learn to co-exist, without butting in, or at the very least, represent themselves without sending us all to the ovens.
the strength of our whole movement [Zionism] rests in its moral justification, with which it must stand or fall.” ― Albert Einstein
No human with a conscious desires the tragedy of other humans. But the world should have come together to rescue the Jews of Europe and that burden should not have fallen on the Palestinian Arabs alone. For what reason was only one area chosen as the destination of these Jews. Well, it makes perfect sense that these were not only refugees but also future Zionists citizens with a flag.
We have lost so many Africans, Asians, Arabs, crossing dangerous seas in pursuit of bread in recent times. But these refugees are not set on settling only one place on the planet. They settle wherever they can find refuge. Not the case with the Europeans Jews who also had a major colonial agenda already planned.
“If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel.”
— David Ben-Gurion (Quoted on pp 855-56 in Shabtai Teveth’s Ben-Gurion in a slightly different translation).