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Einstein's Promised Land

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  • Sukla Sen
    http://kindlemag.in/srorys_details.php?id=NTM1&&displayid=MQ== Einstein s Promised LandBy Saswat Pattanayak2012-11-30 With the “God Letter” recently
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2012

      Einstein's Promised LandBy Saswat Pattanayak2012-11-30

      With the �God Letter� recently auctioned for over $3 million, the world has
      started taking a renewed interest in Albert Einstein�s core philosophies.
      In the most conservative estimate, he has been described as the father of
      modern physics; and by most liberal counts, the most intelligent human
      being in history. But despite tremendous biographical sketches, Einstein
      has remained largely unknown as an activist, or terribly misunderstood as a
      statesman. Many dimensions of his life have been deliberately suppressed,
      some grossly exaggerated, and quite a few entirely concocted. This is quite
      natural considering the ruling class elites have a stake in appropriation
      of his legacies � the United States which granted him residency needed to
      use him for its Cold War propaganda, while Israel and the Jewish Diaspora
      needed to tout him � the most famous Jew in history - as their torchbearer.
      The spiritual thinkers have cited him as irreverently religious, while the
      progressives have owned him up for his idealistic socialism.

      But this auctioned letter, handwritten by Einstein shortly before his
      death, almost disturbed many such long-held conventional conclusions,
      shattered many a comfortable myth and certainly exposed to the world how
      little we knew about this man. If Einstein could compose such an
      unsweetened critique of God and religion as the letter suggests, what else
      about him do we not know? Who have been suppressing the lesser-known
      dimensions about someone we define the word genius by? Why has there been a
      need to distort the truths about the good scientist to begin with?

      The answers lie in the argumentative clarity and the sheer brilliance that
      epitomized Einstein all his life � the naked truths our convoluted and
      opportunistic world has never been prepared to brace itself for. After all,
      it has always been more convenient to hero-worship a critical thinker than
      delve into his/her necessary prescriptions.

      Although Einstein remained among the most well-known in history, he stated
      toward the end of his life, how little value that held for him, �Though
      everybody knows me, there are very few people who really know me.� Whether
      there is a historical necessity to *really* know Einstein is an important
      question, increasing in relevance, as more and more of the world is getting
      engaged in religious warfare, vocally supporting Israeli terrorism, and has
      been actively embracing tenets of capitalism. Irrespective of our intents,
      Albert Einstein, the celebrated global citizen who most informedly analyzed
      international relations, more than anyone else, still possesses the
      rigorously tenable solutions to each of these crises.

      To seek the answers, let�s begin with the three million dollar letter, and
      then proceed to locate his roots and evolution. In the �God Letter� (1954),
      Einstein wrote, �The word God is, for me, nothing more than the expression
      and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but
      still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No
      interpretation, no matter, how subtle, can (for me) change this. These
      subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature
      and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish
      religion, like all other religions, is an incarnation of the most childish
      superstitions. And the Jewish people, to whom I gladly belong, and with
      whose mentality I have a deep affinity, have no different quality for me
      than all other people� I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them.�

      Such outright rejection of God, Judaism and Israel in this letter have
      raised many eyebrows, especially in a world that has been systematically
      tutored so far to treat Einstein as per the �decent� norms of our day.
      Despite the worldwide attention to the content of this letter, the truth
      is, it is far from sensational, and the opinions therein are not
      exceptionally subversive, by Einstein�s standards. It is important to
      shatter the myths about Einstein�s feel-good pacifist humanism in favour of
      his true radicalized communist activism, so that Einstein�s worthwhile
      contributions are made commonplace and they inspire revolutionaries world
      over as originally intended, instead of merely enticing secret bidders on
      auction websites.

      Einstein�s Zionism: For a Cultural Centre, not a Political State

      Einstein never disowned his association with Zionism, although it is
      important to note his definition of Zionism largely varied from the ones
      commonly held during his own time, and now. He could easily have succumbed
      to a reactionary (nationalist) variant of Zionism, considering he was
      constantly victimized as a Jew, regardless of his celebrity. But he
      consciously did not choose that path. In 1920, a group of German
      scientists, led by Nobel Prize winner Philipp Lenard, denounced the theory
      of relativity as a �Jewish perversion�. Lenard would go on to serve as
      Hitler�s chief scientist, and the man to fund this campaign to discredit
      Einstein�s contributions would be later unraveled as the American
      industrialist Henry Ford, a Nazi collaborator. Remaining unprovoked
      however, Einstein declared the same year: �I do not believe in anything
      that might be described as �Jewish faith�. But I am a Jew and am glad to
      belong to the Jewish people, though I do not regard it in any way as *chosen

      Cognizant of the anti-semitism impacting Einstein�s career and legacies,
      Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann in 1921 asked Kurt Blumenfeld, a top Zionist
      recruiter to �stir up Einstein�. Blumenfeld sent back Weizmann a warning -
      �Einstein, as you know, is no Zionist, and I ask you not to try to make him
      a Zionist or to try to attach him to our organization...Einstein, who leans
      to socialism, feels very involved with the cause of Jewish labour and
      Jewish workers... I heard... that you expect Einstein to give speeches.
      Please be quite careful with that. Einstein... often says things out of
      na�vet� which are unwelcome by us.�

      Einstein required no stirring up, as he had already chosen the side of the
      oppressed and without any hesitation accepted Weizmann�s invitation to
      travel to England and America, but duly noted, �In several places, a
      high-tensioned Jewish nationalism shows itself that threatens to degenerate
      into intolerance and bigotry; but hopefully this is only an infantile
      disorder.� Besides, Blumenfeld was clearly wrong, for Einstein was no
      naive. He knew from his experiences that �anti-Semitism is frequently a
      question of political calculation�. During his stay in Switzerland, he was
      not aware of his Jewishness and he wrote, �There was nothing in my life
      that would have stirred my Jewish sensibility and

      stimulated it. This changed as soon as I took up residence in Berlin. There
      I saw the plight of many young Jews, especially of East European Jews. They
      are made the scapegoats for the malaise in present-day German economic
      life... Meetings, conferences, newspapers press for their quick removal or
      internment.� When the German government contemplated measures against East
      European Jews, Einstein protested and exposed the �inhumanity and
      irrationality of these measures� in the *Berliner Tageblatt*.

      Einstein distinguished early on between the West European Jews and the
      prevailing anti-Semitism targeting East European Jews. His support for
      Soviet Union was strengthened based on how Stalin�s policies welcomed East
      European Jews into Soviet Union. And at the same time, between the First
      World War and the Second, Einstein witnessed how racist Germany was
      treating the East European Jewish refugees, and the barbarity of it all
      would awaken his sense of belonging with the oppressed race of the time.
      Although he could afford to, Einstein refused to remain indifferent, and he
      refused to separate his profession from his politics. Together with a few
      colleagues � both Jews and non-Jews, he held university courses especially
      to benefit the East European Jews in the summer of 1921 and he declared
      that �such experiences have awakened my Jewish-national feelings. I am not
      a Jew in the sense that I call for the preservation of the Jewish or any
      other nationality as an end in itself... I consider raising Jewish
      self-esteem essential, also in the interest of a natural coexistence with
      non-Jews. This was my major motive for joining the Zionist movement... But
      my Zionism does not preclude cosmopolitan views.� His envisioning of a
      �free Jewish community in Palestine� was not so much a demand for a
      militarist sovereign country as it was about East European Jews not to be
      treated as wretched refugees in the racist European powers. Jewish Diaspora
      would never have aimed for a separate land if the Jews were treated
      humanely in the various European countries they lived in, Einstein cited
      early on.

      But wary he would always remain of the Zionists at the same time. One of
      them was Isaac Don Levine who tried early on to persuade Einstein against
      the Bolsheviks by making false claims about how Jews were being colonized
      by Stalin�s Russia. On April 9, 1926, Einstein rubbished such claims by
      Levine and wrote to him that he was supporting Russia and that the �efforts
      being made to colonize Jews in Russia must not be opposed because they aim
      at assisting thousands of Jews whom Palestine cannot immediately absorb.�
      Einstein had duly acknowledged how Stalin was the only international leader
      to have been supportive of the Jewish cause, so much so that Soviet Union
      was the first country to develop an autonomous territory for the Jewish
      people, a concept that Einstein had dreamt to see realised in Palestine,
      upon British promise. But reactionary Zionism was intolerant towards the
      communists and was refusing to credit the Soviet Union for their
      initiatives. As history would prove it later, and Einstein would attest,
      the British ended up deceiving the Jews, while Soviet Union continued to
      save millions of them.

      In the March 1926 letter to Blumenfeld, Einstein wrote, �I appreciate the
      educational achievements of Zionism. However, as an enterprise, I don�t
      know it well enough to support it with good conscience.� Even as Einstein�s
      conscience would continue to haunt him, he was still optimistic about the
      forthcoming �Jewish centre� of morality and intellectualism. He never got
      the �impression that the Arab problem might threaten the development of the
      Palestine project.� He said, �I believe rather that, among the working
      classes especially, Jew and Arab on the whole get on excellently together.�

      Next year, in 1928, contrary to political wisdom, the British proposed a
      parliament for Palestine in a rushed manner that mandated equal
      representations from Jewish and Arab (and some British appointees) � a move
      that would result in the first major �riots� claiming hundreds of lives on
      each side. By the Jewish migrations in 1930, the British census report
      would declare almost 17 percent of the population in the Arab land to be
      Jews. Mass agitations among the Arabs would be �tackled� by the British in
      1936 when for the first time, the colonizers would station more troops in
      Palestine than in the entire Indian subcontinent. In 1937, the proposed
      mandate would be declared a failure because common grounds between the
      Arabs and Jews would not be allegedly found and the British conveniently
      would then �partition� Palestine, much to the chagrin of the Arabs (and,

      Before the proposed �Partition� could materialize, Zionist Weizmann
      demanded that all Arabs be deported to Jordan, an idea that was opposed by
      Einstein and resulted in further differences between the two of them.
      Describing Jewish nationalism as guided by militarism and conservatism,
      Einstein even compared it with Prussia in a letter to Weizmann: �Without
      honest cooperation with the Arabs there is no peace and no security. This
      is for the long range politics and not for the present times. In the last
      analysis, even if we were not practically defenseless, it would not be
      worthy of us to want to maintain a nationalism *a la Prussienne*.�

      It was not any political power that Einstein wanted to see instituted in
      the Arab land. Refusing to be deluded by the Zionist propaganda, he was
      increasingly becoming concerned about the safety of the Arab people in
      Palestine. In a letter to Bernard Lecache in May 1930, Einstein wrote,
      �With regard to the question of Palestine, my most eager wish would be
      that, by policies preserving the legitimate interests of the Arabs, the
      Jews might succeed in proving that the Jewish people has managed to learn
      something from its own past, long ordeal.�

      Although immigration of Jewish people to the Arab land was becoming legally
      inevitable, Einstein proposed there should be a limit to that. In a letter
      to Edward Freed, he wrote in 1932, �I am not a nationalist and I do not
      wish any discrimination of the Arabs in Palestine. The Jewish immigration
      to Palestine in the framework of �suitable limits� can�t do harm to
      anyone.� The �limits� were opposed by many Zionists of the time,
      principally by the anticommunist and Jewish nationalist Ze'ev Jabotinsky.
      Einstein attacked them as Fascists and in a letter to the Zionist Beinish
      Epstein, he accused them of �borrowing from the Fascists... methods that I
      abhor deeply, and use them to serve the interests of those who, relying on
      their ownership of the means of production, disfranchise and exploit the
      nonowners.� (1935)

      These sentiments are more relevant today as the Gaza wars continue to
      oppress the Arabs in the name of defending the state of Israel. Back then,
      Einstein had warned the Jewish people not to fall into the trap of
      nationalism, and the following excerpt of his commentary sums it up: �The
      essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with
      borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power� I am afraid of the inner
      damage Judaism will sustain � especially from the development of a narrow
      nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to
      fight strongly, even without a Jewish state. A return to a nation in the
      political sense of the word would be equivalent to turning away from the
      spiritualization of our community...�

      However, Einstein�s plan was not laying the foundation for the future;
      British colonialism�s declarations were. As the Second World War unfolded,
      between 1939 and 1944, the British allowed for a limited number (75,000) of
      Jews to be settled in Palestine. In the meantime, Nazi Germany�s onslaughts
      made possible somewhat of a unity among the Arabs and Jews - Palestinian
      Communist Party (which supported the Soviet Union) as well as Jewish
      Communists and left-leaning Zionists Hashomer Hatzair worked towards
      forging alliances between antifascists from each side. At the same time, to
      counter the influence of the communists, the rightwing Zionists also grew
      in leaps and bounds (some of them assassinated Lord Moyne, British Minister
      of State in 1944). Next year, they demanded immediate admission of 100,000
      Jewish refugees to Eretz Israel, Einstein sharply attacked these Jewish
      militants and said �I regard them as a disaster. I�m not willing to see
      anybody associated with those misled and criminal people�, in an interview
      with I.Z. David.

      Anti-Israel: �The war is won, but the peace is not.� (Einstein, 1945)

      While he rejoiced the defeat of Hitler and Nazism, Einstein continued to
      oppose the idea of a Jewish state. In January 1946, testifying before the
      Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine (AACIP), Einstein argued
      against the idea of Israel. He wrote to Rabbi Wise, �I�m firmly convinced
      that a rigid demand for a �Jewish State� will have only undesirable results
      for us.� American radical journalist I. F. Stone, himself a fellow
      �cultural Zionist� declared his support for Einstein saying that �to have
      the greatest Jewish figure of the period oppose a Jewish state as unfair to
      the Arabs is a very noble thing.�

      Einstein attacked the British as the root cause of the instabilities in the
      lives of Arabs and Jews. �Difficulties between the Jews and Arabs are
      artificially created, and are created by the English,� he thundered.
      Einstein noted that Palestine could still rule with one government, but
      without British intervention, because in his impression, �Palestine is a
      kind of small model of India. There is an attempt, with the help of a few
      officials, to dominate the people of Palestine and it seems to me that the
      English rule it.� Attacking the British colonial rule as one that exploits
      the native while collaborating with landowners, Einstein laid bare a
      vicious critique of Western interests in the proposed partitions.�

      In 1952, when Weizmann died and to fill that vacuum a great name was sought
      to become President of Israel, Ben Gurion unashamedly approached Einstein.
      Not only did Einstein refuse to accept that position, he also stated it
      would be �a difficult situation that would create a conflict with my
      conscience.� Although Gurion�s offer is a well-known historical episode,
      Einstein�s response is rarely mentioned because that would then brand the
      most honored Jewish person as the biggest anti-Semite in the political
      terms employed today.

      Likewise, a day after Einstein�s death, the New York Times, on April 19,
      1955 deliberately misconstrued history in its characteristic style by
      printing, �Israel, whose establishment as a state, Einstein had
      championed...� As Einstein�s chronicler Fred Jerome noted, it was �a
      description of Einstein the media had never used while he was alive.�
      However, the conspiracies to cleanse Einstein of his �dirty past� had
      started long ago with FBI employing anti-Stalinist agents to discredit him,
      while suppressing such facts from the public knowledge. Thanks to Jerome�s
      investigations (�The Einstein File�), it is now revealed that Louis
      Gibarti, who was expelled from the Communist Party by Stalin, soon became
      an informant for the FBI (interviewed by Democratic Party Senator Pat
      McCarran). McCarran, submitted the reports of allegations against
      Einstein�s international communist contacts, and his Republican counterpart
      Senator McCarthy ended up denouncing Einstein as an �enemy of America�.

      Einstein�s deeply rooted friendship with Paul Robeson and his unconditional
      support for W.E.B. DuBois were also deliberately kept under wraps for
      decades - despite them possibly being the biggest influences in Einstein�s
      radical saga. Just as the facts - that he was the fiercest critic of
      British colonialism, a profoundly radical voice against American
      imperialism, a strong advocate for Stalin�s Russia, a steadfast supporter
      of the black communists, and a studied commentator against the reactionary
      Zionism upon which Israel has been founded - have been carefully concealed.
      For if the real Einstein were to inspire the world today, that would not
      just disturb the comfortable imperialists, more importantly, it would
      awaken and radicalize all the oppressed people of the world to stand up
      against injustice, as Einstein, not the marketable genius - but the
      collective conscience for a progressive world, once did.

      Peace Is Doable

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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