Albert Einstein Quotations Opposing a Jewish State in 1938, 1946 & 1952 and Labeling Future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin a Fascist in 1948.

After the death of the first president of Israel in 1952, the Israeli government offered the post of second president to Einstein. He declined the offer.

A recent book about Einstein's opposition to a Jewish state is reviewed here.

A detailed discussion of Einstein's views on Zionism is here (also here.)

John Spritzler

October 7, 2006



Albert Einstein, on April 17, 1938, in a speech at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, 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. Apart from practical consideration, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest. 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." [1]

In January, 1946, in a reply to the question of whether refugee settlement in Palestine demanded a Jewish state, Einstein told the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry,

"The State idea is not according to my heart. I cannot understand why it is needed. It is connected with narrow-minded and economic obstacles. I believe it is bad. I have always been against it." [2]


Letter to the New York Times, December 4, 1948, from Albert Einstein and other prominent Jews, denouncing Menachem Begin, a future prime minister of Israel who is highly regarded by the current ruling Likud Party, as a fascist. After the death of the first president of Israel in 1952, the Israeli government offered the post of president to Einstein. He declined the offer.

[Note: the bolding is not in the original]

New Palestine Party
Visit of Menachem Begin and Aims of Political Movement Discussed


Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the ""Freedom Party"" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.

The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. 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.

Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions, public manifestations in Begin’’s behalf, and the creation in Palestine of the impression that a large segment of America supports Fascist elements in Israel, the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement.

The public avowals of Begin’’s party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.

Attack on Arab Village

A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9 (THE NEW YORK TIMES), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants —— 240 men, women, and children —— and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin.

The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party.

Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority. Like other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes, and have themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions. In their stead they have proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model.

During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community. Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute.

The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the constructive achievements in Palestine. They have reclaimed no land, built no settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity. Their much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute, and devoted mainly to bringing in Fascist compatriots.

Discrepancies Seen

The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is 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.

In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative that the truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country. It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has refused to campaign against Begin’’s efforts, or even to expose to its own constituents the dangers to Israel from support to Begin.

The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.


Isidore Abramowitz, Hannah Arendt, Abraham Brick, Rabbi Jessurun Cardozo, Albert Einstein, Herman Eisen, M.D., Hayim Fineman, M. Gallen, M.D., H.H. Harris, Zelig S. Harris, Sidney Hook, Fred Karush, Bruria Kaufman, Irma L. Lindheim, Nachman Maisel, Symour Melman, Myer D. Mendelson, M.D., Harry M. Orlinsky, Samuel Pitlick, Fritz Rohrlich, Louis P. Rocker, Ruth Sager, Itzhak Sankowsky, I.J. Schoenberg, Samuel Shuman, M. Znger, Irma Wolpe, Stefan Wolpe

New York, Dec. 2, 1948


Alfred M. Lilienthal, in What Price Israel? , recounts that on April 1, 1952, in a message to the Children of Palestine, Inc., Einstein "spoke of the necessity to curb 'a kind of nationalism' which has arisen in Israel 'if only to permit a friendly and fruitful co-existence with the Arabs.'" Lilienthal also relates a personal conversation with Einstein: "Dr Einstein told me that, strangely enough, he had never been a Zionist and had never favored the creation of the State of Israel. Also, he told me of a significant conversation with [Chaim] Weizmann [leader of the World Zionist Organization.] Einstein had asked him: 'What about the Arabs if Palestine were given to the Jews?' And Weizman said: 'What Arabs? They are hardly of any consequence.'" [3]


1. Albert Einstein, in Ideas and Opinions, Crown Publishers, New York, 1954, p. 190

2. Alfred M. Lilienthal, What Price Israel?, 50th Anniversary edition, 2003, pg. 130

3. Lilienthal, pg. 131


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