I recall having a conversation this past weekend (for the life of me I can’t remember with whom) about the whole Israel/Palestine mess, and I recall my conversation partner noting that it is difficult for anyone to publicly criticize Israel or its policies and actions without someone accusing them of being “anti-Semitic” (meaning anti-Jewish, of course: the other phrase isn’t exactly accurate). I was surfing today and ran across something at one of my new web hangouts, A Tiny Revolution; this item reminded me of the point that I just referred to. It is a quote from a man who is widely acknowledged to be one of the smartest Jews who ever lived:

“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. We are no longer the Jews of the Maccabee period. A return to a nation in the political sense of the word would be equivalent to turning away from the spiritualization of our community which we owe to the genius of our prophets.”

— Albert Einstein, From a speech in New York City, April 17, 1938

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