Buber, Einstein Not from 'Anti-Zionist School'

Cape Times (South Africa), September 18, 2006 | Go to article overview

Buber, Einstein Not from 'Anti-Zionist School'


Ronnie Kasrils offers a passable survey of the academic debate taking place around alternative resolution models for Israel/Palestine ("Israel's fluttering peace options", September 13). However, his depiction of Martin Buber and Albert Einstein as coming from the "anti-Zionist school" is misleading.

Buber joined the Zionist movement in 1898 and for a few months worked as the editor of Die Welt, Zionism's official publication.

He soon broke with Herzl and aligned himself with Zionism's more cultural and spiritual, rather than political, movement. In 1939 he moved to Jerusalem where he held the chair of social philosophy at the Hebrew University until 1951.

Buber identified himself as a Zionist. Indeed learning Buber was for a long time bread and butter in respectable Zionist youth movements. But Buber did not believe in a Jewish state, as was established in 1948.

He actively promoted the bi-national option "in which Arabs and Jews share in government." For most of his life this was a respectable minority viewpoint articulated within Zionism, as a form of Zionism.

Although Kasrils looks favourably upon such a view, he presents it as anti-Zionist. …

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