cancels israeli exhibition after Israel labels Einstein zionist
5 August, 2002
Plans for an Israeli exhibition in China of letters, photographs
and essays by Albert Einstein have been cancelled. According to
news reports in Israel, at a recent meeting to review details of
the Einstein exhibition, officials at China's Culture Ministry objected
to a paragraph that described Einstein as a supporter of the Israeli
state as inaccurate.
In support of the Chinese position, in 1938 Albert Einstein had
said "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.". He had also refused the presidency
of Israel, a largely symbolic position, when offered it in a move
to bolster the legitimacy of the newly formed zionist state by Ben-Gurion,
the first Prime Minister of Israel.
The exhibition, which was set to open in September, was to last
four months and travel to five cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.
It would have marked the biggest cultural exchange program between
Israel and China in years.
China's president, Jiang Zemin, visited Israel in 2000 and suggested
at the time that an exhibition about Einstein be organised for China.
Relations then were the closest they had been in years. Since then,
relations have suffered with the intensification of Israeli violence
against the Palestinians.
"This is another sign that things are not good between the
two sides," said a Chinese expert on Beijing's relations with
the Middle East who spoke on condition of anonymity. "I think
our government just didn't want this exhibition right now and used
this as an excuse.".
The cultural boycott of Israel is gaining strength, and this cancellation
is a sign of Israel's further isolation in the world.
Below is a "copy" in its entirety of a very important
letter to the New York Times from Jewish intellectuals including
Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, and Sidney Hook that appeared on
December 4, 1948. Of particular interest is the reference to the
Deir Yassin massacre which occured earlier that year. While it is
quoted from in brief on several web sites, it appears nowhere in
its entirety, and it deserves to be disseminated as it originally
Letters to The Times New York Times December 4, 1948
New Palestine Party Visit of Menachem Begin and Aims of Political
|TO THE EDITORS OF THE NEW YORK TIMES:
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
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. Begins 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 Begins 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
The public avowals of Begins 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
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 inhabitants240 men,
women, and childrenand 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.
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 Begins
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
RABBI JESSURUN CARDOZO,
HERMAN EISEN, M.D.,
M. GALLEN, M.D.,
ZELIG S. HARRIS,
IRMA L. LINDHEIM,
MYER D. MENDELSON, M.D.,
HARRY M. OSLINSKY,
LOUIS P. ROCKER,
RUTH SAGIS, ITZHAK
New York, Dec. 2, 1948
Laura Nader gave a copy of the microfilmed NYT to Anne Lipow in
April. (Nader has been using it in her class at UC). The copy was
illegible in parts and the first column was cut off; Laura's original
was the same. Anne and UC Anthropology Librarian Suzanne Calpestri
then tried to retrieve an electronic version of the letter. It appears
nowhere in its entirety on the Internet, and is not in any NYT electronic
archive accessible to UC Librarians (i.e., it doesn't exist). Suzanne
made another copy from a different microfilm; it solved the mystery
of the missing first column but this copy was also "dirty"
in other areas. Neither copy was scannable using OCR,so I typed
it in by hand exactly the way it appeared in the original, and have
proofed it carefully. However, the spelling of some of the signatories
was unclear in the microfilmed originals, so there may be a few
errors in this rendition. It would be nice if someone were to annotate
the list of signatories, so that those less-familiar names could
be placed in context. At any rate, this clearly belongs IN FULL
TEXT on the web for distribution to as many people as possible.
Please circulate this among anyone you think may be interested;
I think it especially belongs in the hands of those friends and
family members who are still reluctant to criticize the Israeli
Jenny Lipow Berkeley, CA <email@example.com> 22 May