In Response to: One Jew’s Journey

The article “One Jew’s Journey” starts with a comment that David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, met with Einstein in Princeton, hoping to convince the venerable scientist to be the president of Israel.  Einstein refused, and the quotes below might give us clues on why he refused.

In a Dec. 4, 1948, letter to The New York Times, Einstein, along with 28 other prominent members of the Jewish community, wrote that the then-current Israeli political party, the Freedom Party, led by Menachem Begin, was “a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.”

“It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin’s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents,” the letter continued.

Referring to the massacre of Arabs by Jews in the village of Deir Yassin, the letter said “the [Jewish] terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely. … The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party.”

Further describing the Freedom Party, the letter stated it includes “an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority” and that it bore the “unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a ‘Leader State’ is the goal.”

The letter ended by saying that America should turn its back on Begin and not support “this latest manifestation of fascism.” 

But there’s much more. Ten years prior to this letter, Einstein declared at New York's Commodore Hotel that a Jewish state with borders and an army to protect those borders ran counter to “the essential nature of Judaism.” Also, in 1946 he told the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on the Palestinian issue, “I cannot understand why it [a Jewish State] is needed. It is connected with narrow-minded and economic obstacles. I believe it is bad.”

In a 1938 speech, Einstein said, “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.”

And in a quote dating back to the late 1920s Einstein declared, “Should we be unable to find a way to honest cooperation and honest pacts with the Arabs, then we have learned absolutely nothing during our two thousand years of suffering and deserve all that will come to us.”

Many of these and other quotes can be found in the book, Einstein on Israel and Zionism: His Provocative Ideas About the Middle East, by Fred Jerome.

Does Rabbi Gil Steinlauf believe it’s antisemitic to single out Israel because it’s the only Jewish state? If so, does he also believe that Einstein was a Jew hater, and would he assign the same description to one who verbalized the same sentiments as did Einstein in the above quotes?   

From current events in Israel, many of us believe the nature of the Jewish government in Israel hasn’t changed much from Einstein’s time. That’s simply because, as a political entity, Zionism is a form of fascism, and no political party of Israel can ever be truly democratic if it furthers Zionist ideals.  

Thomas Tonon *71
Princeton Junction, N.J.