Zionism and violence in Albert Einstein's political outlook

Ofer Ashkenazi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article examines Albert Einstein's reaction to the violent clashes between Jews and Arabs in Palestine in 1929. During the 1920s, Einstein had become a prominent advocate of two seemingly incompatible causes, pacifism and Zionism. A close reading of his writings following the 1929 riots shows that he perceived both Zionism and pacifism as practical methods to counter the lure of modern nationalism and the political structure it entails, the unlimited sovereignty of the state. What he perceived as a nationalist turn within the Zionist camp prompted him to contemplate alternative strategies for the restriction of state power. In this respect, the formation of a peaceful Arab-Jewish symbiosis was a test case for his views. The bilateral rejection of his solution for the conflict was the first in a series of developments that caused him to shift his support from abolishment to regulation of violence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-355
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Jewish Studies
Volume63
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Einstein, Albert -- 1879-1955
  • Berit shalom (Organization : Israel)
  • Zionism -- History
  • Zionism -- Philosophy
  • Arab-Israeli conflict -- 1917-1948, British Mandate period

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