May 18, 2009

Einstein and zionism

I've often heard it said that Einstein was a zionist but at the same time there are some choice quotes from him expressing disquiet about certain manifestations of zionism. See this in the Indypendent. No, not the Independent. The indYpendent. It's a website. Anyway, see this:
Veteran journalist Fred Jerome uses hundreds of pages of Einstein’s own letters, articles and interviews — many published for the first time — to refute this thesis.

It is well known that Einstein, a German Jew, witnessed European anti-Semitism firsthand and spoke out against both prejudice and Nazism. These experiences convinced Einstein to support Zionism and a Jewish homeland. After gaining immense fame for his scientific breakthroughs, he was offered the presidency of Israel in 1952 after the death of the country’s first president, Chaim Weizmann.

In reality, while Einstein was sympathetic to the Zionist cause, he repeatedly warned that a “narrow nationalism” may arise if a Jewish-only state was founded and peaceful co-existence with the Palestinians was not achieved. Instead, Einstein advocated Cultural Zionism — the creation of Jewish cultural and educational centers within a bi-national state with equal rights for both Arabs and Jews.

When Einstein was offered the Israeli presidency, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion stated, “I’ve had to offer him the post because it was impossible not to, but if he accepts we are in for trouble.” In a letter written in the same year, Einstein compared the Zionists’ project with that of the Pilgrims, noting, “how tyrannical, intolerant and aggressive [they] became after a short while.” And in Einstein’s last media interview, which ran in the New York Post a month before his death, he stated “We had great hopes for Israel at first. We thought it might be better than other nations, but it is no better.”

Jerome has authored two previous books about Einstein; The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret War Against the World’s Most Famous Scientist and Einstein on Race and Racism, co-authored with Rodger Taylor. These books are essential to understanding Einstein, a self-described “revolutionary,” who publicly stated that he would use his fame and celebrity status to bring attention to the causes important to him. For example, Einstein on Race and Racism details for the first time Einstein’s 20-year friendship with Paul Robeson. While the first two books were aimed at filling a large gap in the knowledge about Einstein’s radical beliefs and political activism, Einstein on Zionism and Israel seeks to debunk the myth that Einstein was a supporter of Israel.

In the process, Jerome reveals much about the nature of mainstream propaganda. Einstein’s opposition to Israel was widely known and reported on during his life. In fact, the myth of Einstein’s support of Israel was born the day after Einstein’s death in his obituary in The New York Times, which shamelessly wrote that he “championed” the establishment of the Jewish state. This contradicted decades of reporting from the “Paper of Record.” Jerome provides some examples, including a 1930 article headlined “Einstein attacks British Zion Policy,” a 1938 article stating Einstein was “Against Palestine State” and a 1946 article stating Einstein “Bars Jewish State.”

So zionists started lying about Einstein as soon as he died? I'm shocked, shocked I am!


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