Albert Einstein Disagrees with Louis Brandeis; Argues that Palestine is Not the Key to Jewish Survival

January 25, 1936

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Albert Einstein Disagrees with Louis Brandeis; Argues that Palestine is Not the Key to Jewish Survival
Typed Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 798

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      Background

      The crux of the issue was simple, and twenty-seven hundred years old: could anti-Semitism be eradicated so long as Jews lived among gentiles? Louis D. Brandeis, the first Jewish Justice on the Supreme Court, said no; the creation of a Jewish state, he thought, was the Pilgrims inspiration and impulse all over again. Here, however, Einstein says no to Brandeis, no to nationalism, and yes to the “durability of the Jewish community” which, he believes, 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, he concludes, will never cause the Jews to perish.


      Typed Letter Signed (“A. Einstein”), in German, 1 page, quarto, on his personal letterhead, 112 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey, January 25, 1936. To Mrs. Leibowitz.

       
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      A. EINSTEIN, 
      112, MERCER STREET,
      PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY, U.S.A.

      [Translated from German]

      25 January 1936

       
      Dear Mrs. Leibowitz:
       
      It is indeed good that we Jews have a home in Palestine. There are also Jews who are quite smart, for instance Justice Brandeis, who see a Jewish future only in a unification of the Jews within a cohesive stretch of land. I, for my part, do not think so. 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.
       
      Cordially
       
      Your
       
      A. EINSTEIN.