What was Einstein’s view on anti-Semitism and Zionism?

Anti-Semitism or the hatred towards Jews was prominent in Nazi Germany. Being a Jewish physicist, Einstein was an easy target. People demeaned his relativity theories as radical Jewish ideas, calling it “Jewish physics”. Jews were calling for a nation of their own at this time in Europe. Their campaign for a Jewish homeland was called Zionism. The name was derived from Zion, the mount on which the temple in Jerusalem once stood.

Einstein had personally experienced anti-Semitism while in Germany and had also seen the horrors of the Holocaust. As a result, he became closely associated with the Jewish community. He extended his full support to the Zionist movement. Commenting on the discrimination faced by Jews around the world, he said “there are no German Jews, there are no Russian Jews, there are no American Jews…There are in fact only Jews.”

Those who opposed Einstein argued that he was not a real Jew since he did not practice his religion. Even though he did not follow Jewish religious practices, he felt deeply connected to his fellow Jews. As Einstein put it, if a snail sheds its shell, it’s still a snail. He had lost only the external trappings of religion. At his core, he remained a Jew.

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