Einstein on Zionism

November 4, 2005

In his review of Einstein on Race and Racism by Fred Jerome and Rodger Taylor, Andrew Robinson refers to Albert Einstein's support for the Zionist movement (Books, October 28).

This claim needs to be qualified. Einstein's relationship to Zionism was ambivalent. He supported a number of Zionist initiatives, including the foundation in 1923 of the Hebrew University in Palestine, but he never joined a Zionist political organisation.

In December 1948, Einstein co-signed a letter to the New York Times condemning in the strongest terms Zionist attacks on Palestinian villages.

In Out of My Later Years (1950), Einstein writes: "I should much rather see a reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together than the creation of a Jewish state."

Alfred Lilienthal who spoke with Einstein in 1952 reports: "Einstein then told me that he had never been a Zionist and had never favoured the creation of the State of Israel."

David Turner Middlesex University

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